Donor Profile: Mo and John Pritzker


Key Points

  • Foundation Council member Mo Pritzker is a serial entrepreneur and futurist, and her husband, John, is founding partner and director of Geolo Capital.
  • The couple shares why they support the Foundation and how they see focused ultrasound changing medicine.
Mo and John Pritzker.

Mo Pritzker is a serial entrepreneur and futurist focused on new ways of thinking. In 1998, she co-founded Ammo Marketing, a pioneer in influencer marketing that served a roster of Fortune 500 clients, including Levi’s, Nike, and Pepsi UK. In 2013, Pritzker moved her focus to endeavors that help people and the planet. She founded the first vegan Quick Service Restaurant (QSR), Seed + Salt, co-founded a regenerative food company with Five Suns Food, and co-founded 1SAVES20 to reduce water usage during personal hygiene. For the last six years, Pritzker has been involved in the field of neuroplasticity. She is the co-founder of re-origin, an online neuroplasticity program and coaching community that helps people recover from chronic mental and physical health conditions.  

John Pritzker is founding partner and director of Geolo Capital, where he oversees all sectors of the San Francisco-based private equity and investment firm. John began his career at Hyatt Hotels Corporation in 1972, and in 1984, became managing director and divisional vice president of Hyatt Hotels and Resorts. He was a founding board member of Ticketmaster, Inc. and Chemdex/Ventro Corporation. 

Additionally, John has served as chairman and CEO of a number of businesses in the hospitality industry, including Two Roads Hospitality, Red Sail Sports, Mandara Spa, and The Odyssey Club (now Exclusive Resorts).   

John is chairman of the John Pritzker Family Fund; its mission is to help people lead fulfilling and healthy lives in vibrant communities. John serves on the Executive Council of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Health and the Board of Trustees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He is also a board member of the Bernard Osher Foundation, a member of the Emeritus Board of Tipping Point Community, and a past president of the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation. 

What is your connection to the Foundation?  How did you first hear about the Foundation?  
I first discovered focused ultrasound through Jane Metcalfe’s wonderful newsletter Both John and I have been involved with mental health and neuroscience over the years. John developed the Nancy Friend Pritzker Psychiatry Building at UCSF to create a multi-disciplinary hub for the research and treatment of mental health conditions. And in 2020, I co-founded a neuroplasticity company, re-origin, an online program and community that trains people with chronic conditions to rewire their brains. But the primary reason for the discovery was that our son, Magellan, had epilepsy, and Jane published an article in about this groundbreaking technology that could one day alleviate his struggle. 

What moved you to get involved? 
Clearly, I was intrigued after first learning about focused ultrasound from Jane. But the more I researched, the more I realized focused ultrasound had the potential to treat or cure more than 170 conditions ranging from cancer to depression to neurodegenerative diseases, noninvasively and effectively. I had an ‘aha moment,’ which illuminated for me that almost every single person I know has someone, maybe a friend, maybe a relative, who could be significantly helped by this technology. 

What excites you most about the Foundation? 
We discovered the Focused Ultrasound Foundation, a group of intensely motivated people with a mission to accelerate the development and adoption of focused ultrasound, a technology that has endless potential. I joined the Foundation’s Council, which Jane heads, last year to help spread the word and move this innovation forward. I am also very excited about the possibility of the technology eventually becoming portable and inexpensive enough to be more widely available. 

Why do you care about focused ultrasound?  
Over the years, John and I have had many family members who could have been helped by this technology. We see this as a transformational technology that will not only help people, but also move us into a new era of medicine and how we heal. 

What impact do you hope to achieve through your philanthropy?  
John, Jane, and I recently assembled leaders in the focused ultrasound field from UCSF and Stanford to talk about FDA approvals for conditions such as Parkinson’s and essential tremor. We asked them to forecast the scope of what’s possible with noninvasive focused ultrasound therapy. We’re hoping that the people we reached through that event and our other outreach will be as excited as we are and may possibly even have someone in their family or friend circle who could benefit from what will be the radical future of medicine. 

John and I believe so much in the technology that we are supporting some trials in the Nancy Friend Pritzker Psychiatry center addressing conditions such as OCD and depression using focused ultrasound. 

What do you tell others about the Foundation?  
We tell others that we are involved in an organization that is substantially moving the needle with a technology that needs to be understood and implemented – and doing it with passion and efficacy! 

What would you tell someone who is considering making a gift to the Foundation? 
We would ask them to think about their circle of family and friends and consider who this could help. Then think of it on a more macro level – it is the doorway into a type of healing that could change how the entire world faces medical conditions and crises. And then think about how we can accelerate it with an organization that has the knowledge, the tools, and the team. Why wouldn’t you support it?