In April, Jonathan was featured in the prominent magazine Weatherwise, providing readers with insight into the power, beauty, and excitement of weather. Jonathan was highlighted due to this unique sector of philanthropy focused on severe storm research. When asked how he found such a niche, Jonathan responded, “It’s about having that passion—that fire about a topic and a very genuine, deeply rooted interest to push or promote a specific field that you feel very partial to.” Jonathan knew from an early age that severe storm research and alternative forms of energy were of interest to him, focusing on meteorology in his collegiate studies. However, after completing some coursework at Purdue, Jonathan decided to take a much more hands-on approach to learning. “I just wanted to get out there and chase storms and learn as I went, as I always have.”
Jonathan pursued his passions by becoming a storm spotter in the early 2000s and taking breath-taking photos of these storms, particularly of lightning. Jonathan soon realized that while this was one of his favorite hobbies, it could also be the focus of his foundation, the Jonathan Merage Foundation. “…having the foundation with a certain budget each year has provided the perfect opportunity for me to become involved in collaborative research and contribute to the field, whether it be with other likeminded individuals, or collaboration with universities and academia from around the world…”
The Jonathan Merage Foundation has strong partnerships both near and far, spanning from Denver to Hawaii. Jonathan has worked with Denver Botanic Gardens, University of Colorado Boulder, and Colorado State University. While spending time in Hawaii, Jonathan also formed lasting relationships with the University of Hawaii and Hawaii Nature Center. While the nature of these projects is wide-spread, all of them revolve around Jonathan’s core passions – research into severe storms and lightning, and finding ways to incorporate reusable energy sources.
“In the end I’d like to say that I contributed some to helping to improve the state of scientific research in universities through the nonprofit work with advanced technologies and through them being able to use, or implement that data to help communities that are at risk from severe storms and tornadoes.”
To learn more about Weatherwise magazine or to purchase the full article written about Jonathan’s philanthropy, visit Weatherwise.