Karen Peabody O’Brien


Karen Peabody O’Brien joins Sangam Arts’ Board of Directors, bringing with her extensive experience in institutional change and grant-making from the environmental, health, and community-building arenas.

She founded and directed the nonprofit Advancing Green Chemistry (AGC), which worked to build creative connections between chemists and biologists seeking to create safer materials. AGC produced a revolutionary new chemical design regime: the Testing Protocol for Endocrine Disruption (TiPED).

Prior to AGC, Karen worked to shift institutional perceptions on inherently safer chemicals from “cost’ to “opportunity”: first at the Darden Business School at the University of Virginia; second, at the American Chemistry Society’s Green Chemistry Institute.

In addition to serving on several foundation boards and associations, Karen worked as at the W. Alton Jones Foundation as Program Officer for ‘New Ventures,’ the foundation’s effort to identify and act on emerging issues and support rising social entrepreneurs. Karen has joined several NGO boards, including Heart to Heart International Children’s Medical Alliance, Hakone Gardens, and Sangam Arts.

Karen holds a BA from UC Berkeley in Development Studies, an MA from the University of Virginia in Government and Foreign Affairs, and a PhD in Political Science. She is a mother, wife, potter, gardener, beekeeper, and hiker. She loves exploring trails in the hills around Saratoga and learning about California native plants and wildlife.