Donald Gips

Official photo of U.S. Ambassador to South Africa, Donald Gips (link)

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Donald Gips is president and CEO of the Skoll Foundation, a leading environmentalist funding organization founded by former eBay president Jeffrey Skoll. Gips’s career spans the Clinton and Obama administrations, anti-poverty efforts domestically and internationally, and four years as the U.S. Ambassador to South Africa.

Gips was one of the founders and architects of the organization which became AmeriCorps.

Early Life and Career

Donald Gips attended Harvard for his undergraduate degree and Yale for his Master’s degree. He has received awards from both institutions, such as the Ames Award for public service at Harvard. 1 He and his wife Elizabeth have three children. 2

Gips’ career started in Sri Lanka, where on a fellowship he helped install water wells. He then went into politics on a senatorial re-election campaign and as a policy advisor for then-New York City Mayor Ed Koch (D) before working as an executive manager for McKinsey and Company. 3

Gips went on to be part of the team which drafted the report What You Can Do For Your Country, a report of the Commission on National and Community Service. 4 After the report became the blueprint for AmeriCorps under President Bill Clinton, Gips assisted Congress with setting up AmeriCorps. He then worked for the Federal Communications Commission for four years, directing strategy and becoming the agency’s international bureau chief. 5

Political Activities

Gips was named Vice President Al Gore’s chief domestic policy advisor in 1997, holding the position for a year and focusing on internet policies related to schools. He quickly moved into corporate leadership roles, holding increasingly senior positions until becoming vice president of corporate strategy at the communications technology firm Level 3 Communications. 6

A meeting with then-Illinois State Senator Barack Obama (D-Chicago) in 2004 propelled Gips into senior political positions. He fundraised for Obama’s U.S. Senate campaign, assisted with Obama’s office staffing in Washington, and helped Obama strategize for his Presidential transition team. He also “bundled” more than $500,000 in contributions for the then-presidential candidate before becoming director of personnel for the Obama White House in 2009. 7

Later that year, President Obama appointed Gips U.S. Ambassador to South Africa, a post he held until 2013. 8 During that time, Gips criticized the South African government’s heavy-handedness against media criticism. 9

After the Obama Administration

Gips’ first position after leaving the Obama administration was as senior counselor for Albright Stonebridge Group, where he led African operations. He became partner in 2016. 10 Albright is a worldwide business consulting firm chaired by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. 11

The Skoll Foundation

Gips was announced as the CEO of the Skoll Foundation in 2019 to help the Foundation increase its left-leaning support for social change groups domestically and internationally. 12 The Foundation is fomerely a leading funder of climate alarmism at influential groups like New Venture Fund, Mother Jones, and Gore’s Climate Reality Project. 13 Gips formally took the position as third-ever CEO of the Foundation at the Foundation-hosted Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship in April 2019. 14

The Foundation ended its most active climate spending in 2017 after the Skoll Global Threats Fund became an independent organization. From January 2018 to February 2020, the Foundation’s website reported 11 grant recipients which focus on issues like U.S. incarceration, food scarcity in Africa, and anti-poverty initiatives. Many of these groups have left-leaning descriptions. 15


  1. LinkedIn, Don Gips profile. Accessed February 06, 2020.
  2. Skoll Foundation, “Don Gips,” Accessed February 06, 2020.
  3. AllGov, “Ambassador to South Africa: Who is Donald Gips?,” July 28, 2009. Accessed February 06, 2020.
  4. Van Bemmelen, Peter Maarten, “What you can do for your country,” Report of the Commission on National and Community Service, January 1993. Accessed February 06, 2020.
  5. AllGov, “Ambassador to South Africa: Who is Donald Gips?,” July 28, 2009. Accessed February 06, 2020.
  6. AllGov, “Ambassador to South Africa: Who is Donald Gips?,” July 28, 2009. Accessed February 06, 2020.
  7. AllGov, “Ambassador to South Africa: Who is Donald Gips?,” July 28, 2009. Accessed February 06, 2020.
  8. The Washington Diplomat, “His Excellency Donald Gips,” Accessed February 06, 2020.
  9. Baldauf, Scott, “South Africa’s media tribunal: US ambassador weighs in on press freedom,” August 19, 2010. Accessed February 06, 2020.
  10. Albright Stonebridge Group, “Press Release: ASG announces new partner and senior advisors,” April 21, 2016. Accessed February 06, 2020.
  11. Albright Stonebridge Group, “Madeleine K. Albright,” Accessed February 06, 2020.
  12. Skoll Foundation, “The Skoll Foundation Announces New CEDO Donald H. Gips,” February 12, 2019. Accessed February 06, 2020.
  13. Influence Watch, “Skoll Foundation,” Accessed February 06, 2020.

  14. Prest, M.J., “Packard Foundation CEO plans to step down (transitions),” The Chronicle of Philanthropy, March 05, 2019. Accessed February 06, 2020.
  15. The Skoll Foundation, “Skoll Awardees,” Accessed February 06, 2020.

Connected Organizations

  1. Albright Stonebridge Group (For-profit)
    Former Principal
  2. Clinton Administration (Government Agency)
    Former Chief Domestic Policy Advisor to the Vice President
  3. Federal Communications Commission (Government Agency)
    Former International Bureau Chief
  4. Obama Administration (Government Agency)
    Former U.S. Ambassador to South Africa (2009-2013)
  5. Skoll Foundation (Non-profit)
    Chief Executive Officer
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