UCS Announces Incoming President Johanna Chao Kreilick

Advocate for Social Change and Justice

Published Apr 6, 2021

Cambridge, Mass. (April 6, 2021)—The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) announced today that Johanna Chao Kreilick, an executive officer at the Open Society Foundations, will be its next president. Founded in 1969 at MIT, UCS has grown to be a $46 million science-based advocacy organization that combines technical analysis and advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe and sustainable future.

“For three decades, Johanna Chao Kreilick has been a passionate driver of social change,” said Dr. Anne Kapuscinski, UCS board chair and the director of the Coastal Science and Policy Program and a professor of environmental studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. “We were particularly impressed with her track record of integrating racial justice into the work and culture of complex organizations, her understanding of the role of science in effective decision making, and her ability to work with teams of researchers and advocates to advance policies that make a meaningful difference in people’s lives.”

Most recently, Kreilick managed the Open Society Foundations’ strategy unit responsible for planning, research and assessment for the Foundations’ 50 global programs, national foundations and advocacy offices. While at Open Society, she founded the $43 million Climate Action Initiative. The U.S. component includes support for nonpartisan public mobilization and policy advocacy at city, state, regional and federal levels, as well as shareholder advocacy and litigation aimed at corporate polluters.

Prior to joining Open Society in 2013, she created and led a justice and human rights program at the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Harvard University. She previously launched and led an economic justice grant-making program at the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, supporting informal workers’ movements globally, and organized within the Asian and Pacific Islander immigrant community to advance rights-respecting economic and health policy.

“Climate justice, democracy, security and science are deeply intertwined and urgent matters of both domestic and foreign policy,” said Kreilick. “I look forward to building on the strengths of the Union of Concerned Scientists in rigorous analysis and leading science advocacy as we steer into the headwinds of an escalating climate crisis, a racial justice reckoning and a polarized political landscape illuminated by a growing public appreciation for the vital role of facts in the health of democracy.”

Kreilick was selected after an exhaustive nationwide recruitment effort conducted by Boardwalk Consulting that reached out to more than 500 candidates. She will join the organization officially on May 10, 2021.