Gifford and Libby Pinchot
Bainbridge Graduate Institute
Purpose Prize Fellow 2010
The Pinchots designed a new MBA program to train future business leaders to focus on environmental sustainability and innovative solutions to climate change.
The 9/11 attacks spurred Elizabeth and Gifford Pinchot to rethink how they could give back to the world. Long interested in environmental causes, they committed themselves to doing something for the health of the planet.
The Pinchots had spent decades running a successful consulting firm training executives at Fortune 500 businesses in innovation and saw a need to develop a new generation of business leaders interested in innovative environmental and social sustainability practices.
The Pinchots thought: “If business doesn’t get involved in solving climate change, pollution and poverty, change is not going to happen.”
In 2002, they created the Bainbridge Graduate Institute on Bainbridge Island, Wash., the first graduate school to offer an MBA in sustainable business. The Pinchots were hands on: They designed the initial curriculum, raised money, recruited students, handled marketing and more. In seven months, they launched the MBA program, starting with 15 students.
The institute has since grown to more than 200 students. Success stories include Erin Gately, who made Hewlett-Packard Company inkjet printers recyclable and power efficient.
2016 Update: The school formerly known as Bainbridge Graduate Institute is now Pinchot University.