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.
It’s often been said (by me, anyway) that empathy could do more good in the world than war and peace put together. That’s especially true in the world of fundraising, where you’re trying to get people to give you money, and you’re giving them nothing in return but a warm feeling. After all, it’s how people feel, not what they think, that determines their behavior. So how do donors feel? It’s a simple question, but the answers can be very complicated and contradictory. We’re talking about human nature, after all. It might not be easy to know what donors care about, but