“I established Luminar’s HQ in Orlando after seeing its incredible yet underrated potential, specialized talent, community, and opportunity to become a premier global technology center,” said Austin Russell. “I’m glad to be playing a role in realizing that vision – with Luminar for the local economy, and now with Central Florida Foundation in helping the local community and beyond.”
Russell has previously experienced firsthand how an initial philanthropic grant for innovative thinking can result in long-term systemic change as a recipient of the Thiel Fellowship. His early passion for physics has developed into laser LiDAR technology and software that is changing the future of transportation safety across the globe. The efforts of this partnership will collaboratively focus on high-impact efforts for local and system-level improvements here in Florida, as well as bolder bets on a broader scale that Russell sees as underinvested opportunities.
“The Foundation serves as a launchpad for high-impact philanthropy that connects innovation to capital and capital to innovation with having already made more than $80 million in high-impact charitable investments focused on making sustainable change,” said Mark Brewer, President/CEO of Central Florida Foundation. “This contribution will have an incredible positive impact on our community, and we’re honored to work with a passionate and visionary individual like Austin to build a transformative and inspiring partnership.”
Since 1994, Central Florida Foundation has invested in philanthropic efforts thanks to generous fund holders committed to improving the region. The Foundation continually challenges the status-quo when it comes to addressing complex social issues like attainable housing, early childhood education, poverty and beyond. With a special focus on systems-level solutions and community-wide collaboration, the Foundation has a proven track record of addressing the region’s challenges and creating measurable, sustainable change.
In its commitment to excellence and accountability, the Central Florida Foundation is accredited by the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations, a supporting organization of the Council on Foundations.