Dr. Larry Brilliant Joins Jeff Skoll to Combat Global Challenges
PALO ALTO, Calif., April 14, 2009 — Jeff Skoll, founder and chairman of the Skoll Foundation and Participant Media, announced today that he has hired Dr. Larry Brilliant as president of a new organization Skoll is launching to address urgent threats confronting humanity and the planet. Brilliant will focus the new organization, the Skoll Urgent Threats Fund, on identifying and supporting innovative high-impact initiatives to combat climate change, water scarcity, pandemics, nuclear proliferation and Middle East conflict. Brilliant will also serve as senior adviser to Skoll to ensure alignment of work on these urgent threats across Skoll’s business and philanthropic activities.
Brilliant is renowned for his key role with the World Health Organization in eradicating smallpox from Asia. He was the founding executive director of Google.org, where he led the development of the innovative group’s strategy and, most recently, served as vice president of Google and chief philanthropy evangelist. His extensive knowledge and networks across a range of social and environmental issues will help him develop the strategy and partnerships to get the Skoll Urgent Threats Fund up and running quickly. Brilliant is familiar with Skoll’s vision for social and environmental change, having served on the Skoll Foundation board since 2007.
“Over the last few years, it has become increasingly apparent that humanity’s failure to address critical issues like climate change and nuclear proliferation aren’t just making these challenges more difficult; they’re putting life on the planet at risk,” said Skoll. “This new organization is designed to make serious headway on these issues by identifying and supporting the most innovative initiatives and solutions out there. I can’t think of anyone better prepared to shape and lead this effort than Larry Brilliant.”
“This is an extraordinary opportunity for me to bring my life’s work and experience to join with so many others who feel the urgency of the times to work on the most critical challenges facing us as global citizens,” said Brilliant. “Jeff Skoll is a tremendously innovative proponent of social change, creating a unique, powerful and diverse set of both philanthropic and business tools to promote change. I look forward to working closely with him, the Skoll Foundation and his business ventures to make sure we’re as effective as we can be in changing course for our children’s future. I am also tremendously grateful to Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Sheryl Sandberg who were my first board of directors at Google.org for giving me the opportunity to work for Google.org and to learn so much from working at Google, one of the most remarkable companies in the world.”