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April 15th, 2009
Big day yesterday in the Skoll universe. Jeff announced the creation of a new entity, the Skoll Urgent Threats Fund, which will focus on attacking urgent threats. He’s hired Larry Brilliant to lead the new organization, as well as serve as a senior adviser to help him leverage both his philanthropic and business activities to drive more impact around these threats. The new Fund’s focus will be on fighting climate change, water scarcity, pandemics, nuclear proliferation and Middle East conflict. Jeff believes that, if we don’t get out in front of these issues in a serious way in the next five to ten years, they could become exponentially worse, and truly threaten the quality - and even viability - of life on the planet.
This is another tool in a fairly unique toolset Jeff has created around social change. He’s got two philanthropic organizations now - the Skoll Foundation (which will continue to support social entrepreneurship) and the new Skoll Urgent Threats Fund - as well as two commercial entities, Participant Media, his film and media company that creates content designed to engage people on social issues, and Capricorn Investment Group, which takes a principled approach to investing. It’s an innovative approach that recognizes you need to work at multiple levels to drive change.
We at the Skoll Foundation expect to work closely with Larry. He knows us well, having been on the Skoll board since 2007, a role he’ll continue. Sally Osberg, the Foundation’s CEO, will also serve on the board of the new organization. Larry will be able to tap the Foundation’s programmatic expertise and resources as he builds his new structure.
It’s great to have someone of Larry’s stature becoming an even more integral part of the Skoll family.