FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- Fairfield resident Peter Willner had been named chief executive officer of the Greenwich-based Global Lyme Alliance, according to the nonprofit organization.
Willner brings decades of experience in the nonprofit and philanthropic fields to the alliance's fight against tick-borne diseases, the organization said.
“Hopefully, GLA will become the central address for all things Lyme,” Willner said. “We want to expand the donor base to support critically needed, promising Lyme disease research. ...
“We have a responsibility to educate parents, teachers, children, communities about the dangers of Lyme and the best ways to prevent it,” he added.
“We are very fortunate to have a CEO of Peter's caliber and experience join us to oversee all of GLA's exciting activities and drive our growth,” said alliance Chairman Robert Kobre.
According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the bacteria infection was first diagnosed as a separate condition in 1975 in Old Lyme.
Also known as Lyme borreliosis, it is behind one of the fastest-growing epidemics in the nation. There are more than 300,000 new cases each year, the CDC said.
Before joining the alliance last month, Willner served for 12 years as national executive director of the American Friends of Hebrew University, a nonprofit supporting Israeli higher education and research. While there, he oversaw eight regional offices, set organizational strategy, and helped it increase its fundraising from $18 million to between $50 million and $70 million a year, the alliance said.
Before that, he had executive positions with the Anti-Defamation League and UJA-Federation of New York.
Willner will direct the alliance's overall strategy, operations and fundraising to raise awareness and promote research developments. The ultimate goal is to find a cure for Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.
The organization will have its inaugural New York gala, dedicated to “Uniting for a Lyme-Free World,” on Thursday, Oct. 8, at Cipriani 42nd Street, 110 E. 42nd St., New York City. A cocktail reception starts at 6:30 p.m. The dinner and awards ceremony starts at 7:30 p.m.
To reserve a table or inquire about sponsorship opportunities, call Camy Calve at 212-218-4080, or email Camy.Calve@GlobalLymeAlliance.org.
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