Shaping Innovation for Decades

December 18, 2022
Rosemarie Havranek & Lee Swanger

Over 60 years ago, John Hertz recognized that philanthropy had the power to shape innovation in our country by investing in our nation’s top technical and scientific minds early in their careers.

His generosity catalyzed the creation of the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation, and his aspirations — both prescient and relevant today — fostered a community of extraordinary and principled scientific leaders, uniquely capable of addressing the world’s most pressing challenges. The Hertz Foundation’s role in supporting these highly educated science and technology leaders has never been more important than it is today.

We are reminded daily of the incomparable role science plays in addressing complex problems — from improving human health to protecting our climate and ensuring our nation’s economic vitality and security. Whether it is the ongoing fight against COVID-19 or threats from international conflicts, Hertz Fellows are meeting this moment with bold innovation and solutions, while strengthening our nation’s well-being and leadership in the world.

This past year, we welcomed 13 new and remarkable doctoral students who demonstrate extraordinary potential to become foremost leaders in their fields and tackle the most significant challenges facing the nation and the world. Defending the nation’s digital infrastructure against cyberthreats, developing more effective and efficient electronics via artificial intelligence, and creating biomedical devices to aid rehabilitation and cancer diagnostics are just some of the issues our new fellows are tackling. The 13 new students join 65 currently funded fellows, along with a distinctive community of over 1,240 Hertz Fellows who are the leaders, shapers, and disruptors of the nation’s science, engineering and mathematics fields today.

“The generosity of our community has helped build and expand our national pipeline of bold and innovative leaders while creating a powerful, solution-oriented network of our nation’s top scientific minds.”
– Rosemarie Havranek & Lee Swanger

Over the summer, the Hertz community had the opportunity to join together at the Hertz Foundation’s Summer Workshop and lend their creativity and insights to pressing issues including cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and climate change. After three years of virtual programs, being together in Boston underscored the value of bringing Hertz Fellows together to explore ideas and inspire solutions that strengthen our nation and help build a better future for all.

The generosity of our community has helped build and expand our national pipeline of bold and innovative leaders, while creating a powerful, solution-oriented network of our nation’s top scientific minds. This past year, we experienced our most successful fundraising year to date, raising over $9.5 million to support this critical work. An extraordinary gift of $5 million from an anonymous donor is a significant part of this success and will allow the foundation to create more fellowships in perpetuity, while significantly expanding this pipeline of scientific leadership.

John Hertz’s leadership during a tumultuous time in the world instilled philanthropy as a community value. He recognized that our future relies on the investments of, and partnership with, other generous donors. Today, we continue this investment through the intellectual freedom intrinsic to the distinctive Hertz Fellowships. We are grateful for your generous support and look forward to your continued partnership in this important work.

1970 Hertz Fellow
Principal Engineer and Director, Exponent Inc.
2022 Philanthropy Report

We could not achieve our mission without the inspiring support of our donors. Read our 2022 Philanthropy Report for more stories illustrating the extraordinary generosity within the Hertz Community.

Learn more