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Announcing a new partnership to create the global Rise program for young leaders

The Rhodes Trust is delighted to announce a new partnership program, which will continue to broaden the Trust’s impact and its ability to develop exceptional leaders across different life stages and areas of focus. Today we are launching Rise - an initiative of Schmidt Futures and the Rhodes Trust.

This new partnership builds on the Trust's successful existing relationship with Schmidt Futures who are also partners for the Schmidt Science Fellows. The Rise program aims to find the young leaders of tomorrow and substantially amplify their potential to make the world better. It is aimed at public-spirited students between the ages of 15 and 17, based anywhere in the world, who show intellect, resilience, integrity and compassion – values which are also at the core of the Rhodes Trust’s vision.

This is the first time the Rhodes Trust is embarking on a program developed for teenagers, an exciting new journey that embraces the aim of our 125th Anniversary Strategic Plan to broaden the Rhodes Trust as a platform for leadership development.  Rise is an opportunity to identify talent early, nurturing it through secondary and tertiary education and beyond – it holds a great promise to change lives and expand opportunities. We are proud to be Rise’s partner, offering our world-leading experience with global selection and drawing on our global network.

Rise is the anchor program under a commitment also announced today by Eric and Wendy Schmidt—founders of Schmidt Futures—to dedicate $1 billion across their philanthropic initiatives to find and elevate talent across disciplines to serve others and help address the most pressing global issues. “All around the world there are brilliant and visionary people who could do so much more to help their communities and the world if they had the support and opportunity,” said Eric Schmidt. “All too often, those individuals are isolated at a very young age and don’t have access to the resources that can help them develop their ideas. Rise will find and connect these exceptional young people—and give them individualized support they need—so they can work together to serve others.” 

Rise, an initiative of Schmidt Futures and the Rhodes Trust, will build a lifelong community of students, teachers, and institutions across sectors who aim to serve others. The program, which will seek young people between the ages of 15 and 17 from around the world, will be designed to encourage a lifetime of service and learning by providing support that could include scholarships, career services, and funding opportunities to help these leaders serve others for decades to come.

The first annual competition for Rise in 2020 will begin to build a global community of students, teachers, and others—including a larger group of finalists worldwide and ultimately at least 100 extraordinary young people each year who show the potential to have a unique impact on their communities with more connection and support. Those young people who advance through the final stages of the competition will be invited to attend a residential fellowship before their final year of secondary school that will support them as they consider how to serve others, how to become leaders, and how to transition to higher education and careers. Other opportunities will include the potential to apply for scholarship funding for education, mentorship and other assistance tailored to their specific needs and interests, and a variety of career services as part of the Rise network.

To encourage service, Rise will invite its community members to make service commitments together and develop a platform to match network members with common interests. In addition, Rise plans to support non-profits or other social enterprises that Rise network members drive together to serve others. Finalists and others in the Rise network will have the opportunity to compete for as-needed funding to launch or scale their ventures; funds are intended to be designated for these purposes in a total pooled amount of at least $5 million per year of the program.

“Through our philanthropic work over the past 13 years, we know that investing in people and giving them the tools and support they need to develop and implement their ideas can lead to exceptional solutions to global problems—from protecting our planet’s fragile ecosystem to ensuring every individual has access to fresh air, clean water and healthy food,” said Wendy Schmidt. “By identifying emerging talent in all disciplines, we can support them and their ideas as they work on solutions we can’t even imagine today.”

“We share Eric and Wendy Schmidt’s commitment to developing tomorrow’s young leaders and believe that Rise is an incredible opportunity to identify talent early and nurture these public-spirited young people who have the potential to do extraordinary things. We have seen firsthand the power of creating a lifelong network of exceptional talent and the importance of being part of a vibrant community of moral engagement and mutual support,” said Elizabeth Kiss, Warden and CEO of the Rhodes Trust.

The vision behind Rise—to develop talent for public good—is also at the heart of both the Rhodes Trust and Schmidt Futures missions. Their partnership follows the 2017 launch of the Schmidt Science Fellows program—a post-doctoral program developed to give the world’s best aspiring scientific minds a broader perspective, the ability to engage in an interdisciplinary way and the opportunity to make a lasting impact on society.

“We are excited to work with Schmidt Futures to develop a global program for young people who show intellect, resilience, and integrity, which have always been key values for the Rhodes Trust. We look forward to witnessing how these teenagers will develop into tomorrow’s leaders across all disciplines in every country,” added Sir John Bell GBE, Chair of the Rhodes Trustees and Regius Professor of Medicine at the University of Oxford.

“If one person alone can change the world, just imagine the power of what a network of exceptional people could do to help others,” said Eric Braverman, CEO of Schmidt Futures. “The work ahead for Schmidt Futures with partners like the Rhodes Trust is clear: build the network everywhere we can, bet on the network’s collective potential, strengthen its connections, and help the best ideas to scale.”

In the coming months, Schmidt Futures and the Rhodes Trust will announce more details about the Rise program and its partners, as well as opportunities for teachers, students, service organizations, and others from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to become involved in the Rise network. For more information, visit schmidtfutures.com/rise.