Senior Research Scholar

Carol Larson is a Senior Research Scholar at SCL, and is the former president and CEO of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, a position she held from 2004 to 2019.

Ms. Larson served as the Packard Foundation’s director of programs from 1995 through 1999 and was appointed a vice president of the organization in 2000. In the role of director of programs, she worked directly with the president to manage the Foundation’s entire grantmaking portfolio. Her duties included supervising senior program directors and working with them to implement current programmatic guidelines and plans for the future in the program areas of Conservation and Science; Population and Reproductive Health; and Children, Families, and Communities.

Ms. Larson joined the Foundation in 1989 as director of Research and Grants, Law and Public Policy, at the Foundation’s Center for the Future of Children. In that role, she worked on child health and welfare issues, and edited and wrote for the Future of Children journal issues on drug- exposed infants, school-linked services, home visiting, sexual abuse of children, and juvenile courts.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Ms. Larson was a partner in the Los Angeles law firm of O’Donnell and Gordon, specializing in civil litigation. During this time, she served on several national and state commissions, as well as nonprofit boards, focused on issues concerning children and disabled persons. In 1998, she served as a special assistant and speechwriter for the president of the American Bar Association. In 1994 and 1996, she lectured at Stanford Law School, teaching two semester-long courses on child abuse and neglect. In 1980 and 1981, Ms. Larson served as the coordinator of advocacy for the Exceptional Children’s Foundation in Los Angeles.

Ms. Larson received her undergraduate degree from Stanford University and her law degree from Yale Law School. Upon graduation, she served as a law clerk to the Honorable Warren J. Ferguson, United States District Court, Central District of California.

Ms. Larson previously served on the Board of the Council on Foundations and is the immediate past chair of the Board. She also serves on the board of the American Leadership Forum — Silicon Valley. Previously, she was a board member of Northern California Grantmakers and Grantmakers for Children, Youth and Families.