Skoll Foundation

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Skoll Foundation
TypePrivate foundation and Supporting organization
HeadquartersPalo Alto, CA, United States
LeaderDonald Gips
Key people
Revenue (2016)
Expenses (2016)$49,522,726[1] Edit this at Wikidata

The Skoll Foundation is a private foundation based in Palo Alto, California, with a mission to drive large-scale change by investing in, connecting, and celebrating social entrepreneurs and other innovators dedicated to solving the world's most pressing problems. It makes grants totaling about $40 million each year. The foundation invests in social entrepreneurs through its signature Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship, and through partnerships with and support of organizations and agencies important to social entrepreneurship networks and ecosystems. It connects social entrepreneurs through support of events including the annual Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford University, convenings, and online content platforms. It celebrates social entrepreneurs through media projects such as short films and partnerships with other media outlets, including The Sundance Institute, NPR, PBS, Public Radio International, and HarperCollins. Its founder is Jeff Skoll who was the first employee and first president of eBay.[2]


Jeff Skoll created the foundation in 1999 as a supporting organization (The Skoll Fund) at the Community Foundation of Silicon Valley (now Silicon Valley Community Foundation).[3] In late 2003 Skoll established the private Skoll Foundation. The two entities, which have distinct governing bodies but share staff and offices, together operate the foundation's grantmaking and other programs.[4] Sally Osberg, former President and CEO, joined the foundation in 2001 and is the co-author, with Roger Martin, of Getting Beyond Better: How Social Entrepreneurship Works.[5] She has been named as one of the social sector's 50 most influential leaders by The Nonprofit Times.[2] In 2018, Richard Fahey assumed the role of Interim President after 14 years of executive leadership at the foundation, a role which continued into 2019.

In February 2019, Donald Gips was appointed as the new CEO of the Skoll Foundation. He had formerly served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of South Africa.[6]

The foundation, which moved to its Palo Alto headquarters in 2004, also collaborates closely with the Skoll Global Threats Fund, established in 2009, to address climate change, pandemics, water security, nuclear proliferation, and conflict in the Middle East. Some of the Global Threats Fund's recent initiatives supported by the Skoll Foundation have included an app, developed in partnership with the Brazilian Ministry of Health, that allowed monitoring of health conditions and potential infection by the Zika virus during the 2016 Olympics;[7] supporting surveillance technologies that identify epidemics at their earliest outbreak;[8] and development of an online tool that will help policymakers identify global water risk and food security hot spots.[9]

The Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship[edit]

Each year, the Skoll Foundation presents the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship to leaders and organizations who have demonstrated and proven innovations that are disrupting an unjust and unsustainable status quo and contributing to solving some of the world's most pressing problems. More than 100 organizations have received Skoll Awards since the program was launched in 2005. In 2017 the Skoll award for Social Entrepreneurship was awarded to 4 organizations: Babban Gona, a social enterprise serving smallholder farmers with a model created specifically to attract youth to agriculture and away from the looming instability of extremist groups; Build Change, a nonprofit training homeowners, local builders, engineers, and governments to construct disaster-resistant buildings in areas vulnerable to earthquakes and typhoons; Last Mile Health, which partners with governments to deploy and manage networks of community health professionals working in the most remote communities and Polaris, which combats human trafficking, and intervenes in specific industries with a coordinated data-centric approach to outreach and advocacy[10] In 2016, four organizations received Awards:[11] Namati, which works to protect community lands, enforce environmental law, and secure basic rights to health care and citizenship around the world; Videre, which gives local activists equipment, training, and the support needed to safely capture footage of human rights violations and distributes the results strategically with the aim of influencing media, political leaders, and courts; Breakthrough, which mobilizes communities to disavow discrimination and violence against women through the use of popular media, leadership training, and advocacy; Living Goods; which works to support networks of village health entrepreneurs who go door-to-door teaching families better health practices while selling basic health products; and the Equal Justice Initiative, which seeks to reform the criminal justice system and secure freedom for those unjustly imprisoned in the United States. In 2015, Awardees included Blue Ventures, which works with fishermen to create sustainable fisheries that protect ocean life while still supporting people's livelihoods; China's Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, which creates tools that allow individuals and companies to monitor the effects of Chinese factories on the environment; Educate Girls, which creates programs and builds community partnerships to help keep girls in school in rural India; and the Foundation for Ecological Security, which helps rural communities in India protect common land.[12]

The Skoll Foundation accepts nominations from its network of partners but doesn't accept unsolicited nominations for its annual Skoll Awards. It seeks out disruptors whose models have potential to achieve impact at scale, who can collaborate within their ecosystem, and whose social mission is aligned with their vision. As of 2019, Awardees receive $1.5 million in funding[13], support for growing their enterprise for three years, and membership in the global community of Skoll Award recipients.[14]

The following list of Skoll Awards organized by year reflects the leadership of the organization and its field of work as listed in the award citation by the Skoll Foundation at the time of the award. These may have changed since the date of the award.

2005 Skoll Awards[edit]

Organization Awardee(s) Field(s) of work
Barefoot College Bunker Roy Providing basic services and solutions to rural communities in the least developed countries, with solutions including solar electrification, clean water, education, livelihood development, activism, and empowerment of women.[15]
CAMFED Ann Cotton Addressing poverty and inequality in sub-Saharan Africa through girls education and empowerment of young women.[16]
Center for Digital Inclusion Rodrigo Baggio Digital empowerment to encourage entrepreneurship, education, and citizenship.[17]
Citizen Schools Eric Schwartz Providing extended day learning opportunities to public middle schools in low income communities to close the activity and opportunity gap between rich and poor students.[18]
Fair Trade USA Paul Rice Empowers farmers, workers, and fishermen to fight poverty and improve their communities, and helps promote sustainable livelihoods and safe working conditions, protection of the environment, and strong transparent supply chains through Fair Trade certification. Leading certifier of Fair Trade products in North America.[19]
Fundacion Paraguaya Martin Burt Provides microfinance services to more than 78,000 small and emerging micro-entrepreneurs, an entrepreneurial and financial education program for children and youth, and a self sustaining farming high school that trains children of poor farmers to become "rural entrepreneurs". This program model is being spread around the world by a separate NGO, TeachAManToFish.[20]
GoodWeave Nina Smith A certification program to stop child labor in the carpet industry, provide educational opportunities to children in weaving communities, and spread the market-based approach to other sectors.[21]
Institute for One World Health Victoria Hale Nonprofit pharmaceutical company developing and ensuring availability and accessibility of safe and effective new medicines treating diseases disproportionately affecting people in resource-limited settings, focusing development efforts on treating diarrheal disease, ensuring the supply of malaria treatments, and developing a new tool to stop the spread of HIV.[22]
International Development Enterprises Amitabha Sadangi Provides long-term solutions to poverty, hunger and malnutrition in India, with a focus on making small-plot agriculture more productive with affordable, low-cost technologies like treadle pumps, drip and sprinkler irrigation systems.[23]
KickStart International Nick Moon, Martin Fisher Aims to get millions of people out of poverty quickly, cost-effectively, and sustainably by creating business opportunities for poor, rural, entrepreneurial farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. Designs and mass markets simple agricultural tools for local sale like human powered irrigation pumps, allowing farmers grow crops year-round.[24]
Root Capital Willy Foote Grows prosperity in poor, rural, environmentally vulnerable places like Africa and Latin America by lending capital, delivering financial training, and strengthening market connections for small agricultural businesses, targeting businesses too big for microfinance but often ignored by conventional banks.[25]
Sonidos de la Tierra Luis Szaran Creates social capital and reduces poverty through music. Uses innovative methods to improve people's learning ability, and assists individuals and groups seeking to improve their life skills. Promotes self-directed solutions, community solidarity, care for the environment, sustainable tourism, and cultural and artistic expression based on integrated human development.[26]
WITNESS Gillian Caldwell Using video technology as a tool for the advancement of human rights. Trains human rights defenders on the safe, effective, and ethical use of video, and provides innovative technology solutions to increase the role of citizen media in justice and accountability mechanisms.[27]

2006 Skoll Awards[edit]

Organization Awardee(s) Field(s) of Work
Afghan Institute of Learning Sakena Yacoobi Applies a holistic approach to rebuilding education and health systems in Afghanistan, combining innovative education and healthcare training programs.[28]
Aflatoun Jeroo Billimoria International network of NGO's based in Amsterdam providing education for children about their rights, responsibilities, and how to save and manage money, setting up their own social and financial enterprises.[29]
Benetech Jim Fruchterman Applies a technology startup model to social enterprise, providing new technology solutions to serve humanity and empower people to improve their lives.[30]
Ceres Mindy Lubber Uses a network of investors, companies, and public interest groups to advocate for sustainability leadership, and to encourage the adoption of sustainable business practices and solutions with a concentration on powerful partners such as leading investors, Fortune 500 companies thought leaders, and policymakers.[31]
Cuidad Saludable Albina Ruiz Focuses on developing a new model of solid waste management that is interdisciplinary, participatory, progressive, and innovative, and includes the economic, social, and environmental of recyclers.[32]
Community and Individual Development Association City Campus Taddy Blecher Along with subsidiary organizations, CIDA City Campus has helped to create five free access institutions of higher learning and have educated 5,500 unemployed youth out of poverty in South Africa.[33]
Health Care Without Harm Gary Cohen Works to transform the health care sector worldwide to make it ecologically sustainable, and advocates for environmental health and justice. Promotes the development and implementation of safe and environmentally healthy practices, processes, and products in the healthcare sector by collaborating with doctors, nurses, hospitals, healthcare systems, professional associations, NGOs, governments, and international organizations. This work includes sustainable healthcare waste management, green building, safer alternatives to hazardous chemicals, reducing health care's climate footprint, and advocating with the health sector for a healthy climate.[34]
Institute for Development Studies and Practices Quratulain Bakhteari Pakistani national institution that educates and develops individuals and communities. Opens learning spaces for education, livelihood, peace, and pluralism to a population mostly excluded from educational and economic opportunities.[35]
International Bridges to Justice Karen Tse Protects the basic legal rights of ordinary citizens in developing countries, specifically the rights to competent legal representation, protection from cruel and unusual punishment, and a fair trial.[36]
PeerForward J.B. Schramm Partners with schools and districts in the United States to promote college-going culture and increase enrollment rates, so that students graduate high school ready for college and a career.[37]
Riders for Health Barry Coleman, Andrea Coleman Works to improve the capacity and efficiency of health care delivery in Africa. Addresses transport and logistics, one of the most neglected aspects of health care delivery in Africa, by managing a network of motorcycles, ambulances, and other vehicles to improve access to health care, as well as partnering with local NGOs and other organizations to provide training and employment opportunities.[38]
Room to Read John Wood Focuses on creating deep, systemic transformation within school in low-income countries during early primary school and secondary school for girls' education in developing countries worldwide. Has developed a replicable model to develop literacy skills and reading habits among primary school children, and help girls to complete secondary school with skills for life and school success.[39]
Roots of Peace Heidi Kuhn Works in war-torn countries around the world to restore the land and communities by removing landmines, unexploded ordinance, and other remnants of war. Also helps to rebuild income by applying new technology and farming techniques to increase yields and sustainability.[40]
Saude Crianca Vera Cordeiro Helps children who have been hospitalized and are living below the poverty line by offering vocational courses to family members, programs for pregnant women and adolescents, and supporting economic and social self sufficiency for their families. This has reduced the number of days the children spent in hospital, increased family income and employment, home ownership and number of children the family has in school.[41]
Search for Common Ground Susan Collin Marks, John Marks Helps communities worldwide deal with conflict in a collaborative and problem-solving manner, through traditional conflict resolution techniques as well as media production and community organizing, with a focus on three main avenues towards peace: dialogue, media, and community.[42]
VillageReach Blaise Judja-Sato Improving access to quality health care for the most underserved communities, and then bringing innovations to a sustainable scale. Focuses on barriers at the "last mile" of health care delivery, like medicine availability, human resource constraints, data visibility, and lack of infrastructure.[43]

2007 Skoll Awards[edit]

Organization Awardee(s) Field(s) of Work
Friends-International Sebastien Marot Works with marginalized urban children and youth by building support systems in the community and through local business partners. Also runs child protection network called ChildSafe.[44]
Fundacion Escuela Nueva Vicky Colbert Helps to improve children's education with a model that focuses on the learner and how children learn, improving the quality, relevance, and efficiency of education. Works with students, teachers, educational administrators, and communities to make learning child-centered and collaborative. Begun in Colombia, has spread to 16 Latin American countries, Vietnam, East Timor, and Zambia as of 2007.[45]
Global Footprint Network Mathis Wackernagel, Susan Burns Advocates for increased adoption of the Ecological Footprint metric so that human's impact on the environment can be more effectively monitored, tracked, and reduced.[46]
Gram Vikas Joe Madiath Works to address critical needs in rural communities like education, health, safe drinking water, sanitation, livelihoods, and alternative energy, and does it in a way that is "sustainable, socially inclusive, gender equitable, and empowering."[47]
Kashf Foundation Roshaneh Zafar Microfinance institution targeting low-income women in Pakistan that is self sustaining through charging a sustainable price for its services.[48]
Manchester Bidwell Corporation William Strickland Creates an enriching and empowering educational environment for adults in transition and urban and at risk youth in southwestern Pennsylvania. Offers a diverse array of programs and partnerships including adult career training, youth arts education, jazz presentation, and orchid and flora sales.[49]
Marine Stewardship Council Rupert Howes Promotes fishery certification and labelling process to encourage more sustainable fishing and seafood consumption.[50]
Verité Daniel Viederman Finds solutions to serious human rights violations like child labor, slavery, systemic discrimination against women, dangerous working conditions, and unpaid work by improving business practices. Works both with individual companies and with workers, NGOs, governments, and trade organizations to advance standards for entire industries.[51]
WE (Free the Children) Marc Kielburger, Craig Kielburger International charity and educational partner with several programs for youth education, including a yearlong educational program nurturing skills for social change, stadium sized single day events celebrating youth making a difference, and the Adopt a Village development model for sustainable development in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.[52]
YouthBuild USA Dorothy Stoneman Youth and community development program aimed at low-income youth who are not in education, employment, or training. Lets them work toward high school diplomas and work experience by building affordable housing in their communities.[53]

Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship[edit]

The annual Skoll World Forum convenes delegates from the social, finance, private and public sectors at the Said Business School at Oxford University for discussions focused on innovating, accelerating, and scaling solutions to social challenges.[54][55][56] Notable participants over the years have included Malala Yousafzai, Kofi Annan, Graca Machel, Jimmy Carter, Desmond Tutu, Sir Richard Branson and Al Gore.

The event's mission is to "accelerate the impact of the world's leading social entrepreneurs by uniting them with essential partners in a collaborative pursuit of learning, leverage and large-scale social change," and the event is designed to shine "a spotlight on best practices, new innovations and connecting leaders to one another to further global social progress." Media coverage of recent Forums is included in the External Links section.

Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford University[edit]

In November 2003, the Skoll Foundation donated £4.4m to the Saïd Business School of Oxford University for the creation of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship. The center committed to establish a new master's of business curriculum degree to advance the field and knowledge of social entrepreneurship worldwide. The grant also funded an endowed lectureship, program director, student fellowships (five scholarships to MBA students per year who focused on studying how entrepreneurial strategies effect social change), visiting fellows, and an annual World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship.[4] The Skoll Centre's research ranges across three main topic areas identified by practitioners as of key importance: governance; resources; impact. In each area, a variety of scholarly work is being undertaken. This is disseminated in both applied working paper formats and in peer-reviewed academic books and journals.


As of 2016 the Skoll Foundation had assets of $580,230,769.[1]

Funding details[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Skoll Foundation" (PDF). Skoll Foundation. December 31, 2016. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Nonprofit Times (PDF). August 2015 Retrieved February 17, 2017. Missing or empty |title= (help)
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  5. ^ Osberg, Sally R. and Roger L. Martin (2015) Getting Beyond Better: How Social Entrepreneurship Works. Harvard Business Review Press, Watertown, MA.
  6. ^ "Skoll | The Skoll Foundation Announces New CEO Donald H. Gips". Retrieved October 17, 2019.
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  12. ^ Chronicle of Philanthropy. April 13, 2015 Retrieved February 17, 2017. Missing or empty |title= (help)
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  14. ^ Entrepreneur. June 30, 2016 Retrieved February 17, 2017. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  15. ^ "Barefoot College". Skoll Foundation. Skoll Foundation. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  16. ^ ""CAMFED"". Skoll Foundation. Skoll Foundation. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  17. ^ "Center for Digital Inclusion". Skoll Foundation. Skoll Foundation. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  18. ^ "Citizen Schools". Skoll Foundation. Skoll Foundation. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  19. ^ "Fair Trade USA". Skoll Foundation. Skoll Foundation. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  20. ^ "Fundacion Paraguaya". Skoll Foundation. Skoll Foundation. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  21. ^ "GoodWeave". Skoll Foundation. Skoll Foundation. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  22. ^ "Institute for One World Health". Skoll Foundation. Skoll Foundation. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  23. ^ "International Development Enterprises (India)". Skoll Foundation. Skoll Foundation. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  24. ^ "KickStart International". Skoll Foundation. Skoll Foundation. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  25. ^ "Root Capital". Skoll Foundation. Skoll Foundation. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  26. ^ "Sonidos de la Tierra". Skoll Foundation. Skoll Foundation. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  27. ^ "WITNESS". Skoll Foundation. Skoll Foundation. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  28. ^ "Afghan Institute of Learning". Skoll Foundation. Skoll Foundation. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  29. ^ "Aflatoun". Skoll Foundation. Skoll Foundation. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  30. ^ "Benetech". Skoll Foundation. Skoll Foundation. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  31. ^ "Ceres". Skoll Foundation. Skoll Foundation. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  32. ^ "Ciudad Saludable". Skoll Foundation. Skoll Foundation. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  33. ^ "Community and Individual Development Association City Campus". Skoll Foundation. Skoll Foundation. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  34. ^ "Health Care Without Harm". Skoll Foundation. Skoll Foundation. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  35. ^ "Institute for Development Studies and Practices". Skoll Foundation. Skoll Foundation. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
  36. ^ "International Bridges to Justice". Skoll Foundation. Skoll Foundation. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
  37. ^ "PeerForward". Skoll Foundation. Skoll Foundation. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
  38. ^ "Riders for Health". Skoll Foundation. Skoll Foundation. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
  39. ^ "Room to Read". Skoll Foundation. Skoll Foundation. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
  40. ^ "Roots of Peace". Skoll Foundation. Skoll Foundation. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
  41. ^ "Saude Crianca". Skoll Foundation. Skoll Foundation. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
  42. ^ "Search for Common Ground". Skoll Foundation. Skoll Foundation. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
  43. ^ "VillageReach". Skoll Foundation. Skoll Foundation. Retrieved November 7, 2019.
  44. ^ "Friends-International". Skoll Foundation. Skoll Foundation. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  45. ^ "Fundacion Escuela Nueva". Skoll Foundation. Skoll Foundation. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  46. ^ "Global Footprint Network". Skoll Foundation. Skoll Foundation. Retrieved November 16, 2019.
  47. ^ "Gram Vikas". Skoll Foundation. Skoll Foundation. Retrieved November 16, 2019.
  48. ^ "Kashf Foundation". Skoll Foundation. Skoll Foundation. Retrieved November 16, 2019.
  49. ^ "Manchester-Bidwell Corporation". Skoll Foundation. Skoll Foundation. Retrieved November 16, 2019.
  50. ^ "Marine Stewardship Council". Skoll Foundation. Skoll Foundation. Retrieved November 16, 2019.
  51. ^ "Verité". Skoll Foundation. Skoll Foundation. Retrieved November 16, 2019.
  52. ^ "WE (Save the Children)". Skoll Foundation. Skoll Foundation. Retrieved November 16, 2019.
  53. ^ "YouthBuild USA". Skoll Foundation. Skoll Foundation. Retrieved November 16, 2019.
  54. ^ Pioneers Post. April 14, 2016 Retrieved February 17, 2017. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  55. ^ Forbes. April 17, 2014 Retrieved February 17, 2017. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  56. ^ Financial Times. May 77, 2016 Retrieved February 17, 2017. Check date values in: |date= (help); Missing or empty |title= (help)

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]