Making an impact means doing things that have a positive effect on the lives of those around us. It requires that we take the lead, knowing that our selfless actions are bigger than ourselves. Find out how these influencers are making their mark and a difference in people’s lives.
Wendy Schmidt is president of The Schmidt Family Foundation, where she works to advance the development of renewable energy and the wiser use of natural resources. The foundation houses a grant-making operation in the 11th Hour Project, which supports more than 150 nonprofit organizations around the world in program areas like renewable energy, ecological agriculture, human rights, and a maritime connection through the 11th Hour Racing program. 11th Hour Racing promotes sustainability in the sailing and maritime industries, and serves as the Exclusive Sustainability Partner for Land Rover BAR, the British team competing for the upcoming 35th American’s Cup in Bermuda. 11th Hour Racing also recently signed on as a title sponsor for the American team in the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race.
In 2009, Schmidt and her husband, Eric, created the Schmidt Ocean Institute (SOI), and in 2012 launched the research vessel, Falkor, as a mobile platform to advance ocean exploration, discovery, and knowledge, and catalyze the sharing of information about the oceans. Since 2012, Falkor has hosted more than 400 scientists from 29 countries.
To further her commitment to ocean issues, in 2010 Schmidt partnered with XPRIZE following the Deepwater Horizon disaster to sponsor the Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup XCHALLENGE, a $1.4 million competition designed to identify e cient and innovative solutions to clean up surface oil spills from ocean platforms, tankers, and other sources. The 18-month-long competition resulted in a solution that yielded a fourfold improvement over existing cleanup capabilities.
In 2012, Schmidt once again partnered with XPRIZE to design the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE, a $2 million purse awarded in July 2015, where competitors responded to the global need for accurate and available sensors to more broadly measure the signs of ocean acidification, one of the harbingers of climate change.
Schmidt was a founding board member of Climate Central, based in Princeton, NJ, which connects scientists and journalists to provide accurate, non-advocacy news and analysis about our changing climate and its impact on our cities, coastlines, agriculture, fresh water, and oceans.
The Schmidt Family Foundation also operates ReMain Nantucket, dedicated to enhancing the economic, environmental, and social life in the downtown of America’s oldest continuous community.
Judy Banks | Stephy’s Place
Judy Banks is a stress-management and mindful lifestyle coach and Chopra Center Certified Instructor. With 25 years of experience in this eld, Banks launched her business, Balance Your Life, where she offers a unique approach to understanding how diet and lifestyle affects our energy, focus, weight, and—ultimately—our lifespan. With a focus on the mind-body connection and stress-management, Banks offers a logical and sustainable approach to creating a more balanced, healthy, and meaningful life. Her workshops and seminars in both private and corporate settings bene t a range of non-pro t organizations. Currently, her charity work supports Stephy’s Place, a life support center for grief and loss that is located in Red Bank, N.J. Stephy’s Place is a free safe haven for anyone who has suffered loss—a place to share faith, hope, and love with others who are continuing their own journey through the grief process.
Mengqing Fan | Fashion 4 Development
In 2014, Mengqing Fan founded Shixi Technology with a social mission: To tackle the issue of unemployment for recent college graduates in China. With one-third of the world’s college students residing in China, employment among recent graduates has been a major concern for the nation. With a unique online platform, Fan is focusing on the one thing that has been missing from the Chinese education system—internships. With the use of big data technology, Fan created China’s first web-based platform providing information about internships, jobs, and volunteer opportunities. Shixi Technology provides an efficient and reliable platform with internship information and solutions, while encouraging employers to o er internship opportunities to help themselves and qualified student candidates, thereby reducing costs associated with training and recruiting new hires. In 2016, the sixth annual official “First Ladies Luncheon,” hosted by Fashion 4 Development, honored Fan with the Empowerment Innovation Award. Fan’s platform has helped 10 million students and internships.
Dave Bomgaars | Family and Children’s Services
Since 2006, Dave Bomgaars has served as the president of Family and Children’s Services (FACS), an independent non-pro t behavioral health and social services agency based in Elizabeth, N.J. Bomgaars is proud to play a role in making Elizabeth and Union County a better place for families and children to live and grow. FACS also serves Union County and the surrounding areas, with an emphasis on the most vulnerable, at-risk, disadvantaged, and under- served populations. Through its annual golf event and Red Carpet Fashion Show, FACS has successfully raised funds and promoted its activities within the community.