Announcing the Thistledown Foundation

Both Tobi and I have made our careers based on long-term thinking, an appreciation for the power of communities, and an ability to see how technology can be helpful in the world — and then quietly trying to make it happen. Last year, we gathered a small team to figure out how and where we can make the biggest impact for generations to come. Our starting place was how to take better care of our planet. We passionately believe that finding novel approaches to decarbonization is critical to addressing climate change. So, we decided to make that the primary pillar of the Thistledown Foundation, which we have seeded with an initial $150 million endowment. Over recent months, we’ve been connecting with great thinkers and making initial investments in promising climate-tech solutions.

This remains the Foundation’s stated long-term goal; however, in light of the global pandemic, we knew we needed to help with Canada’s response to the virus. We are fortunate that all levels of government have taken the threat seriously, but we also need all hands on deck. Thistledown is responding to the urgent need for all citizens to step up in any way they can by pivoting its team and resources to focus on the following:

  • Accelerate academic research projects. There are a lot of promising research projects underway. Some of them are being kept alive by committed individuals who are running out of funds. To address this, we have contributed $5 million to to help them get grant money where it’s needed within days.
  • Improve domestic supply chain for PPE. We have been actively working on identifying ways to remove bottlenecks or put additional supply online for life saving medical gear. We’ll have more to announce as these projects come on line.

We look forward to sharing the many climate-tech initiatives that we are excited about supporting in the future but, for now, we have a common threat that we must join together to defeat for the well-being of our global community.

Thanks, and stay safe,

Fiona McKean and Tobi Lütke