David Cornfield

David Cornfield
In recognition of an exemplary career and bettering the world through philanthropy.

David Cornfield obtained his degree in engineering from Waterloo in 1985 and went on to a very successful career at Microsoft and later was an early investor in Amazon.com.

After retiring from Microsoft, David and his wife Linda turned their attention to philanthropy and environmentalism, choosing to support projects that will have great social and environmental impact.

In 2012, David and Linda viewed the nearly completed documentary Chasing Ice at the Seattle International Film Festival. The film was winning awards but didn’t have any distribution at the time. The Cornfields decided to finance the distribution and as executive producers, contributed their marketing, business and web design expertise to help ensure the film – which captures global warming’s resulting glacier loss in stunning visual imagery – would be seen by as many people as possible.

Chasing Ice has now screened in 172 countries around the world and has been shown at the White House, the U.S. Congress and the United Nations. The film has also won and been nominated for over 30 awards, including an Academy Award nomination for best original song and in 2014, it received the News and Documentary Emmy Award for Outstanding Nature Programming.

David and Linda have traveled extensively to learn about the world and use photography to spark curiosity and foster greater understanding. They are also strong supporters of the engineering program at Ashesi University, a young and innovative university in Ghana. They believe Ashesi provides an opportunity to enable a generation of local, empowered, ethical, creative, entrepreneurial, systems-thinking, problem-solving leaders to address the complex challenges in Africa.

Photo: Ryan Walker Photography