Antioxidant therapy can protect against ischemic injury, but the inability to selectively target the kidney would require extremely high doses to achieve effective local concentrations of drug. Here, we developed a directed therapeutic that specifically targets an antioxidant to renal proximal tubule cells via the folate receptor. Because a local increase in superoxide contributes to renal ischemic injury, we created the folate-antioxidant conjugate 4-hydroxy-Tempo (tempol)-folate to target folate receptors, which are highly expressed in the proximal tubule. Dihydroethidium high-performance liquid chromatography demonstrated that conjugated tempol retained its efficacy to scavenge superoxide in proximal tubule cells. In a mouse model of renal ischemia-reperfusion injury, tempol-folate reduced renal superoxide levels more effectively than tempol alone. Furthermore, electron spin resonance revealed the successful targeting of the tempol-folate conjugate to the kidney and other tissues expressing folate receptors. Administration of tempol-folate protected the renal function of mice after ischemia-reperfusion injury and inhibited infiltration of macrophages. In conclusion, kidney-specific targeting of an antioxidant has therapeutic potential to prevent renal ischemic injury. Conjugation of other pharmaceuticals to folate may also facilitate the development of treatments for other kidney diseases.