John Rutherford Seydel III






Environmental Activist

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John Rutherford Seydel III is the oldest grandson of media mogul Ted Turner, the founder of CNN. He holds positions with a variety of non-profit organizations founded or run by his family and works as the director of sustainability for the city of Atlanta. 1


John Rutherford Seydel III has worked in a variety of political and environmentalist activism positions. From September 2011 to October 2012, he worked in the public relations office of then-Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-CO), after which he completed a four-month mentorship at Merrill Lynch in Atlanta. In 2013, he worked for six months at the United Nations as a renewable energy specialist. 2

In 2017, Seydel was appointed to the board of directors of the Oxygen Project. The project was founded by his father, John Rutherford Sydel II, and is focused on marine phytoplankton. Seydel II started the project after hearing marine biologist Jacques Cousteau state that “within 200 years, the world will be wiped out.” Sydel II adopted what he called an “environmentally friendly” living style in which he started driving an electric car, adopted a plant-based diet, and wallpapered his home with “wallpaper stitched from old newspapers.” 3 4

That same year, Seydel was also appointed to the board of the Captain Planet Foundation, another environmentalist youth organization that is focused on education and activism training. The organization was founded by Sydel’s grandfather, Ted Turner, and is chaired by his mother, Laura Turner Seydel. 5 6 7

Since 2011, Seydel has held the position of associate director at the Turner Foundation, and became a full director in July 2018. The foundation was founded by his grandfather, Ted Turner. The organization is focused on environmental issues and as part of that works to decrease population growth rates. 8 9

In December 2016, at the age of 24, Sydel III became the director of sustainability for the city of Atlanta, where his family is based and has many political and business connections. In this role, Sydel works to promote environmental and conservation initiatives in the city, including waste and emissions reductions. 10 11

In its 2022 report on the most powerful heirs in philanthropy, Inside Philanthropy named John and his sister Vasser as “successors” who were worth watching closely as the Turner Foundation increases its giving to fulfill Ted Turner’s Giving Pledge to donate most of his fortune to charitable causes. 12

Political Views

John Rutherford Seydel III can be characterized as having left-of-center political views. His entire career has been involved with environmental organizations and initiatives or working in Democratic administrations. 13

Seydel III was the founder of the short-lived and now defunct online media organization Revolution Nation Network. The organization’s website is no longer functioning, and it has not posted to its Facebook account since August 2019. The content on the Facebook page, which as of March 2022 had 1,761 followers, largely presents left-of-center talking points. 14 An announcement from Ted Turner Enterprises regarding the initiative stated that the goal was to increase millennial involvement in politics, specifically the legislative process, by promoting it in “an entertaining and engaging and sexy way.” 15

Seydel contributed small sums to ActBlue, the left-of-center political action committee, in 2019 and 2020. 16


  1. “John R. Seydel.” Accessed March 28, 2022.
  2. “John R. Seydel.” Accessed March 28, 2022.
  3. “About Us: The Oxygen Project.” Oxygen Project. Accessed March 28, 2022.
  4. “John R. Seydel.” Accessed March 28, 2022.
  5. “John R. Seydel.” Accessed March 28, 2022.
  6. “John R. Seydel — Captain Planet Foundation.” Captain Planet Foundation. February 12, 2019,
  7. “Laura Turner Seydel — Captain Planet Foundation.” Captain Planet Foundation. February 12, 2019,
  8. “Turner Foundation – Turner Enterprises.” Accessed March 28, 2022.
  9. “John R. Seydel.” Accessed March 28, 2022.
  10. John R. Seydel.” Accessed March 28, 2022.
  11. Elizabeth Daigneau. “This Millennial Is Helping a Major City Go Green.” Governing. September 26, 2017. Accessed March 28, 2022.
  12.  David Callahan. “The Most Powerful Heirs in Philanthropy.” Inside Philanthropy. January 19, 2022.
  13. “John R. Seydel.” Accessed March 28, 2022.
  14. [1] “Revolution Nation | Facebook.” Facebook. Accessed March 28, 2022,
  15. “The Spirit of Giving – Turner Enterprises.” November 3, 2016. Accessed March 28, 2022.
  16. “Individual Contributions: John Rutherford Seydel Ill.” Accessed March 28, 2022.
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