Skoll Global Threats Fund Announces First Investments and Newest Executive

Jan 21, 2010, 13:21 ET from Skoll Foundation

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Skoll Global Threats Fund today announced its first investments and newest executive team member.

The Skoll Global Threats Fund was created in 2009 by Jeff Skoll to support innovative ideas and individuals combating those global challenges which, if unchecked, could bring the world to its knees. Today's grants work towards the elimination of all nuclear weapons (Ploughshares Fund) and the promotion of a peaceful, two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (J Street).

"The challenges we face are huge and complex and we need to leverage better the many disparate efforts underway to tackle them," said Skoll, who also founded Participant Media and the Skoll Foundation and served as eBay's first president. "We must create powerful networks of like-minded partners, build public consciousness and drive policy choices that work.  The mission of the Skoll Global Threats Fund is to confront global threats imperiling humanity by seeking solutions, strengthening alliances, and spurring the actions needed to safeguard the future."

Dr. Larry Brilliant, president of the Skoll Global Threats Fund, said:  "In addition to announcing our first grants, I am pleased to welcome Eric Nonacs as our Vice President, Alliances and Partnerships.  It is fitting that our first executive hire should have the role of building networks of donors, experts, and activists to fight these global threats -- as no single organization alone can do enough to prevent or mitigate these catastrophic risks.  We must all be in this together, and Eric's ability to forge focused, results-oriented partnerships, as he demonstrated at the William J. Clinton Foundation and other organizations, will be a critical asset for our new organization."

Brilliant, who was formerly Google VP and Executive Director of, said the organization plans to work on five issue areas: climate change, pandemics, water scarcity, nuclear weapons proliferation, and conflict in the Middle East.  The initial 3 to 5 year budget for grants, advocacy and administration is $100 million. "But more important than money is the unique 'toolkit' of media, financial and philanthropic assets that Jeff Skoll has put together to work on global threats," Brilliant said.  "We've made a small change to our name, from 'Urgent Threats' to 'Global Threats,' because we want to highlight the worldwide catastrophes that they could cause."

The Skoll Global Threats Fund's first grants are designed to raise awareness and strengthen alliances in two of these global threat areas:

  • Ploughshares Fund: $1 million to engage policy officials and expand public support to stop nuclear proliferation and promote reduction of global nuclear arsenals.

  • J Street: $200,000 in growth capital to this pro-peace organization founded to promote meaningful American leadership to end the Arab-Israeli and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts peacefully and diplomatically.  J Street is redefining what it means to be pro-Israel to include recognition of the urgency of establishing a Palestinian state.

Jeff Skoll biography. Larry Brilliant biography. Eric Nonacs biography.

The Skoll Global Threats Fund, based in San Francisco, California, does not consider unsolicited grant requests. Additional information is available at

SOURCE Skoll Foundation