Stanford gets $1 billion for John Doerr climate change school

NEW YORK (AP) — Stanford University will launch a new school focused on climate change thanks to a $1.1 billion gift from billionaire venture capitalist John Doerr and his wife, Ann, the university announced tuesday.

The gift, one of the largest donations to an American institute of higher learning, will open the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability this fall. The school combines several existing Stanford departments and institutes and will hire dozens of new faculty members over a decade, as well as creating an accelerator to provide grants for new projects.

“We have designed a school for the future that combines knowledge generation and impact, building on the strong foundation established by Stanford’s history of scholarship,” said Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne, in a press release.

Stanford has embarked on a years-long process to define a vision for a new school focused on climate change. The Doerrs connected with Stanford after hearing about the new school, university spokeswoman Mara Vandlik said in an email.

“This is the breakthrough decade, and we must act with full speed and scale,” John and Ann Doerr said in a statement.

One of Silicon Valley’s most prominent investors, John Doerr is chairman of venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, where he has worked since 1980, successfully advocating for early stage investments in technology companies such as Google, Amazon and Slack. He is the author of a book published last year “Speed ​​& Scale: An Action Plan for Solving Our Climate Crisis Now”, which outlines technology and policy priorities for achieving a livable future. Ann Doerr is chair of the board of online education provider Khan Academy, as well as an advisory trustee and former board member of the Environmental Defense Fund.

Isabelle Leighton, acting executive director of the Donors of Color Network, welcomed the donation, saying it’s exciting to see significant new donations related to climate change, but urged donors and universities to include communities currently impacted by climate change. climate change in the search for solutions. Her network has asked major foundations that give to climate change causes to pledge 30% of their donations to organizations led by people of color.

“While investing in research and analysis is really great, you need to make sure you have the big picture of what we need to do to actually effect change and change,” Leighton said. . “The people most directly affected by the consequences of climate change need to be a very strong voice, if not the leading voice, on what the solution needs to look like.”

She cited as an example the renewable energy projects supported by a network of frontline communities, the Climate Justice Alliance.

In addition to the Doerrs’ donation, Stanford received $590 million from other donors. Part of the funds will go towards the construction of two new buildings, the university said.

The new school would accept gifts from fossil fuel companies or other industries, Vandlik said.

“Stanford is committed to conducting research that will accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy around the world,” she said. “The transition is going to require partnering with industries to implement new technologies on the massive scale required.”


The Associated Press’s coverage of philanthropy and nonprofits is supported by the AP’s collaboration with The Conversation US, with funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. The AP is solely responsible for this content. For all of AP’s philanthropy coverage, visit

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