EBay founder Jeff Skoll has donated $100 million to start a new foundation, the Skoll Urgent Threats Fund, to address some of the world’s most pressing concerns like climate change, water shortages, pandemics and the Middle East conflict. The Foundation will be led by Larry Brilliant, who until February headed Google’s philanthropic enterprise, google.org.
‘In the last five years or so,’ Jeff Skoll told the New York Times recently, ‘certain issues have emerged very clearly that, if we don’t get ahead of them soon, all of the other things we’re trying to do, whether improving the lives of women or preservation of species or girls’ education, won’t really matter.’ Skoll said he would like to attract other financial resources to the Urgent Threats Fund and made it clear that his initial pledge was ‘ just a start … I’ll be putting in more money over time.’
The Skoll Foundation, which he also funds, has partnered with google.org to put $11 million into the Global Viral Forecasting Initiative, a non-profit group that has identified 40 new viruses in Africa by studying blood collected by hunters from the animals they kill and studying the blood of the hunters themselves.
New York Times, 16 April 2009