Skoll Foundation Taps Veteran of Obama, Clinton Administrations As Next CEO

A veteran of the Clinton and Obama administrations who helped create what eventually became the AmeriCorps program will become the next chief executive at the Skoll Foundation.

The Board of Directors of the Palo Alto, Calif.-based foundation today announced the appointment of Donald H. Gips. The transition from interim president and Chief Operating Officer Richard Fahey to Gips will become effective April 9, when Gips will attend the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship, taking place April 9-12 at the University of Oxford.

Gips will succeed Sally Osberg, who announced in April 2017 that she would step down as CEO, remaining as president until a successor was appointed.

“Don Gips is an exceptional leader who will bring global insight, proven relationship-building capacity, diverse professional experiences, and impeccable character to the Skoll Foundation,” Founder and Chairman Jeff Skoll said in a press release announcing the appointment.

The Skoll Foundation advances its mission of social entrepreneurship through two separate entities. The Skoll Foundation, a private foundation, was launched in 2002. A supporting organization associated with the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the Skoll Fund was created in 1999.

Most recently, Gips was at the Albright Stonebridge Group (ASG) in Washington, D.C., leading the firm’s Africa Practice. At ASG, he consults with companies, entrepreneurs, and foundations investing across Africa and other emerging markets in efforts ranging from renewable energy and digital technologies to gender parity and food security.

Gips helped design and create a $650-million start-up government corporation to promote community service, which eventually became the AmeriCorps program. He served in the Clinton administration as chief domestic policy advisor to Vice President Al Gore and chief of the International Bureau at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). In the Obama White House, he was director of presidential personnel, directing the effort to vet and select more than 3,000 political appointments from a pool of more than 400,000 applicants.

Gips then served as U.S. Ambassador to South Africa, managing more than 1,000 staff and a budget of more than $600 million across multiple government agencies.

Gips received an M.B.A. from the Yale School of Management where he was honored as a Donaldson Fellow. He received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University, graduating Magna Cum Laude with honors. As part of a Rockefeller Fellowship, Gips developed a clean water project with Sarvodaya, a leading social enterprise, and managed a refugee camp in Sri Lanka.

To date, the Skoll Foundation has invested approximately $512 million worldwide, including the Skoll Award to 128 social entrepreneurs and 106 organizations on five continents. The foundation reported total assets of $619 million at the end of 2017, the most recent tax form available, and distributing contributions, gifts and grants of more than $26 million.

The announcement did not include details on compensation for the new CEO. According to the 2017 Form 990-PF, Osberg, the previous CEO, earned total compensation of $595,254, including $337,050 of deferred compensation from prior years that was earned and vested in 2017.

Jeff Skoll was the first president of eBay and is the founder and chairman of Participant Media, and the Capricorn Investment Group. He created the Skoll Foundation in 1999.