About the Job
The Lemelson Foundation
The Lemelson Foundation uses the power of invention to improve lives.
The Lemelson Foundation is a private family foundation based in Portland, Oregon, with a unique focus on improving lives through invention. Established by prolific US inventor Jerome Lemelson and his wife Dorothy in the early 1990s, and guided today by the Lemelson family, The Lemelson Foundation has investment assets of around $370 million and an annual budget of approximately $18 million. All told, the Foundation has provided over $210 million in grants and other investments to hundreds of organizations around the world.
We believe that invention is essential for creating the future we all want, and we need the people and systems to make that possible. We work to strengthen the invention ecosystem and empower inventors to solve the biggest local, regional, and global challenges and opportunities of our time, whether it’s ensuring equal access to a healthy life, providing clean water and sanitation, developing clean energy alternatives and cost-effective medical devices, rethinking how the world grows, shares and consumes its food, or building a strong and stable economy. We work to create a pathway for invention by inspiring and educating the next generation of inventors, and cultivating the entrepreneurial environments needed to support invention-based businesses. The ultimate goal of our programs is to build a more resilient economy in the US and address the needs of the poor in developing countries.
We approach our work using a three-part framework we call impact inventing:
Inventions should have positive social impact;
Inventions should be environmentally responsible—from the materials and processes used through final products that go to market; and
Business models should become financially self-sustaining.
The Lemelson Foundation has created an internal culture of collaboration, continuous learning, and innovation. An entrepreneurial environment with huge flexibility and opportunities for impact has allowed the small team of 11 to create an outsized presence for the Foundation. Commitment to diversity is one of The Lemelson Foundation’s core values as we work to foster an inclusive work environment. We cannot do our work without collaboration among people with diverse skill sets and backgrounds.
In the spirit of inquiry, learning and collaboration, all Foundation team members have the opportunity to periodically accompany Program Officers on site visits and engage directly with grantees and partners for ongoing exposure to the work of the Foundation.