The Skoll Foundation is an investment organisation founded in 1999 by Jeff Skoll that awards funds to social entrepreneurs through its flagship award program, the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship. It has been led by CEO Sally Osberg since 2001. Their mission is to create change by investing in social entrepreneurs and innovators who have the potential to help solve world’s problems.
The Skoll Foundation is now one of the leading foundations in their respective field. Since it was founded, it spent around $413 million, including investments in 108 exceptional social entrepreneurs and 87 institutions on five continents. In addition to these, they fund a $25 million portfolio of program-related investments (PRIs).
In 2003, their partnership with the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford was established. They launched the first academic centre for social entrepreneurship, the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship. Their partners include organisations such as Ashoka, Acumen Fund and Duke University’s Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship.
What is more, beyond investments and partnerships, they operate programs to increase collaboration, such as the Skoll World Forum; a conference on social entrepreneurship where one can learn about many innovative approaches in some important areas (e.g. deforestation, education and economic opportunity, or healthcare access and treatment), and listen to the world’s best thinkers speak.
Every year, the Skoll Foundation grants the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship to leaders and institutions who have demonstrated innovations that are contributing to solving some of the world’s most pressing problems.
Examples of entrepreneurs who were chosen by the Skoll Foundation in 2019:
mPharma fixes the broken drug supply chain in Africa to make medicine accessible and affordable by eliminating the inefficiencies and price fluctuations that keep drugs from sick people.
Thorn defends children from sexual abuse, scouring web data, publicly available classified ads, and online forum data with smart algorithms to help law enforcement find child victims.
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