Silicon Valley venture capitalist gifts $1.1bn to Stanford for new climate school

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Ann and John Doerr provided $1.1 billion to create the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability  (Edward Caldwell)
Ann and John Doerr provided $1.1 billion to create the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability (Edward Caldwell)

Silicon Valley billionaire John Doerr has announced a gift of $1.1billion to Stanford University in California to fund a new climate school.

The venture capitalist, who is worth an estimated $11.3 billion from his investments in companies like Google and Amazon, made the donation with his wife Ann, The New York Times first reported on Wednesday.

According to The Times, it is the largest gift to a university to create a new school - and second only to billionaire and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg’s donation of $1.8bn to Johns Hopkins University.

“Stanford is making a bold, actionable, and enduring commitment to tackle humanity’s greatest challenge, and we have deep conviction in its ambition and abilities,” said John and Ann Doerr, in a statement released by Stanford.

“We believe the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability will be a model for the interdisciplinary collaboration required to solve this existential challenge – and set a new standard for scholarship in the 21st century.”

Mr Doerr, 70, is chair of Kleiner Perkins venture capital fund in Menlo Park, California which has invested in an array of wildly successful companies including Uber, Twitter, Snapchat, Spotify, Square, Nest, Aol, Netscape and Peloton.

He graduated from Rice University in Houston, Texas with degrees in electrical engineering before getting his MBA from Harvard Business School.

The school will be launched this coming fall and called Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability. It is the university’s first new school in 70 years and will have academic departments that advance understanding; interdisciplinary institutes that innovate across fields; and an accelerator focused on developing near-term policy and technology solutions.

The combined gifts to creating the school totaled $1.69bn with fellow philanthropists and Stanford alum joining the Doerrs.

“These gifts will help Stanford bring its full effort to bear on solving the most complex problems in climate and sustainability, and on training the next generation of students who are eager and driven to address these challenges,” said Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne.

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