Established in 1993 by Jerome Lemelson, one of America’s most prolific inventors, the Lemelson Foundation sparks, sustains and celebrates innovation and the inventive spirit. It supports projects in the U.S. and developing countries that nurture innovators and unleash invention to advance economic, social and environmentally sustainable development. To date the Foundation has donated or committed more than $150 million in support of its mission.
The Foundation's programs stem from a three-pronged strategy:
- Recognition - The Foundation works to recognize and celebrate successful inventors, and develops programs that reward inventive minds. It also supports policy and educational initiatives that foster cultural appreciation of innovative creativity.
- Mentoring - Because a wise advisor and a supportive environment can make all the difference in an inventor’s journey, the Foundation supports high-caliber mentoring and education for young inventors. This mentoring support helps innovative people overcome the many obstacles that may block the path leading from potentially significant innovations to products that change people’s lives.
- Dissemination - The Foundation believes in the value of spreading sustainable technologies that can create economic opportunity and improve lives in societies that can benefit most from such advances. It also researches and disseminates information that highlights the role of invention in society.
The Foundation supports several grantees whose programs inspire and develop inventiveness in young people and foster appreciation for the critical role of invention and innovation in American economic, social, and cultural development.
Understanding that invention and innovation play a critical role in improving living standards around the globe, in 2002 the Foundation launched Invention for Sustainable Development, a program to address the challenges facing the nearly 3 billion people trapped in poverty in less-industrialized countries.