Skoll Foundation


Sally Osberg Speaks, Leads Discussion at Annenberg Alchemy Gold

June 13, 2013 by

Today, Skoll Foundation CEO Sally Osberg is serving as a discussion leader at Annenberg Alchemy Gold, a collaborative of 30 Los Angeles-area grantmakers dedicated to strengthening the Los Angeles nonprofit sector. She is focusing on capacity building that can scale impact. Alchemy Gold is a learning collaborative and unique opportunity for philanthropy practitioners that’s  strategic and comprehensive, and offers a venue for dialogue and problem-solving. Partners convene quarterly to learn from experts (such as Sally Osberg) in capacity building around fundraising, leadership development, board governance and other topics. They also engage in facilitated conversations and identify best practices, methodologies, and tactics to increase the sector’s effectiveness and impact. In the photo above, she’s with Annenberg Foundation Director of Operations Sylia Obagi. Learn more:


Sally Osberg Speaks at Arianna Huffington’s Women’s Conference + Raise for Women Winner Announced

June 7, 2013 by

Yesterday, Sally Osberg spoke on “Giving Back” featuring Moderator Lesley Stahl and panelists Cathy Isaacson and Paula Zakaria. Here’s the press release:

On June 6, 2013 in New York, hundreds of influential men and women in media, business, politics and entertainment gathered at The Huffington Post’s first-ever women’s conference, “The Third Metric: Redefining Success Beyond Money and Power,” to discuss a more humane and sustainable definition of what it means to be successful.
The Conference was hosted by Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Media Group, and Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
Panel discussions included topics such as Leadership and Wisdom, Wellness and the Bottom Line, the Connection Between Giving Back and Well-Being, and Millennials Leading Us Into the Future, among others. read more


Raise for Women Announcement to be Made Today Before Sally Osberg’s Third Metric Panel

June 6, 2013 by

Today, Sally Osberg is speaking at the Third Metric women’s conference at Arianna Huffington’s New York City home. At 5 p.m. EST, the winners of our Raise for Women contest will be announced. Then, the panel, called “Giving Back,” will commence, featuring Moderator Lesley Stahl and panelists Cathy Isaacson, Sally Osberg, Jill Van Den Brule and Paula Zakaria.

Read the live blog at and follow the conference on Twitter at #thirdmetric. See photos at


Jeff Skoll’s Conversation with Elon and Kimbal Musk

May 14, 2013 by

Late last month, Jeff Skoll had a future-looking conversation with brothers Elon and Kimbal Musk. Elon Musk is the CEO and CTO of SpaceX and CEO and Product Architect of Tesla Motors; Kimbal Musk is the co-founder of The Kitchen Community. They discussed the inspiration, motivation and business processes behind PayPal, Tesla Motors, SpaceX, the Kitchen and the Kitchen Community. The conversation, now available on video above, covers what drives the Musk brothers in their groundbreaking work, whether pioneering online payments, sending the first private rocket to the International Space Station, building electric cars with robots or rolling up their sleeves and partnering with students and educators to build gardens in impoverished communities. With Jeff Skoll, they uncovered the richness of their creative process and discussed how to make a profit, create jobs and contribute to the broader community at the same time.


Mother’s Day Inspiration from Skoll Awardees

May 8, 2013 by

Mother’s Day is on Sunday, so we thought it fitting to share parts of some awardee messages:

From Kiva:

There are nearly three billion adults worldwide who lack basic financial services, and most of them are women. Take Clenda from Litein Town in Kenya: she is a 24-year-old mother of two who has been in the farming business for over 6 years. Through one of Kiva’s partners, Juhudi Kilimo, Clenda received a $300 loan to purchase a dairy cow that allows her to sell milk in the local market. She uses the extra income to pay for her children’s education and help increase the overall quality of life for her family.

By lending as little as $25 on Kiva, anyone can help offer opportunity to women worldwide. This Mother’s Day, help spread the word about how, the world’s leading microlending platform, gives us all a chance to make a big difference for women, families and communities. Thank the nurturers in your life by giving them a Kiva Card — $25 to lend to any borrower they choose — to help individuals around the world realize their potential. Visit

From mothers2mothers (video above):

With our double your mommy campaign, you can tell your mother or an important woman in your life how special she is by making a donation to mothers2mothers in her name that will have twice the impact!  Every donation we receive for U.S. Mother’s Day will be doubled with a matching gift by an anonymous donor up to a total of $25,000.   In acknowledgement, we will send her a Mother’s Day e-card with a special video message from some of the inspiring mothers we work with or a card by mail.  It’s easy to double your mommy here. read more


Peter Hero on Modern Day Philanthropy

May 7, 2013 by

Richard Fahey, Chief Operating Officer at the Skoll Foundation and Dipender Saluja, Managing Director of the Capricorn Investment Group and Skoll Board Member Peter Hero just returned from Australia, where they spoke on a panel on impact investment. Here’s a new interview in Pro Bono Australia News with Mr. Hero:

“The modern day philanthropists in 2013 are ‘impatient’ with self-made wealth who want to see the end of big issues in their lifetime and be able to measure their impact, a high impact philanthropy event in Melbourne has been told.

Photo: Daniel Mendelbaum

Peter Hero, founder and principal of the US-based Hero Group, told the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation 100-person delegation that giving tends to peak at around the 50 year mark, as opposed to 70 back in the 20th century.

‘They are giving their money away earlier,’ Hero said.

‘They want to give it away in their lifetime.’

Richard Fahey, Chief Operating Officer at the Skoll Foundation and Dipender Saluja, Managing Director of the Capricorn Investment Group also spoke at the event focussing on Social Investment & High Impact Philanthropy.

The wealth of 21st century philanthropists is predominantly self-made at 93% across the United States, according to Hero. This shift differs from 40 years ago when 50% of wealth was inherited and the mindset of giving was different.

In an interview with Pro Bono Australia News, Hero explained that modern day philanthropists in California’s Silicon Valley are more interested in giving money to solutions, not to problems.

‘They are compelled to action by plans and ideas to solve problems,’ he said.

Read the rest:‘impatient’-21st-century-philanthropists#


Jeff Skoll, Skoll Centre, Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship — in the Financial Times

May 6, 2013 by

The Financial Times just published a series of articles on social entrepreneurship. Here are excerpts from two of the pieces.

The first one focuses on the meaning of the word social entrepreneurship.

“What is social entrepreneurship? The past decade has seen a growing interest in the subject and MBA programmes that include an element of social entrepreneurship are on the rise. But what exactly constitutes a social entrepreneur? While some describe it as doing good while making a profit, others place it firmly in the not-for-profit sector.

‘Social entrepreneurship is entrepreneurship carried out for societal benefit. Social entrepreneurs are every bit as innovative, disciplined and driven as business entrepreneurs, but their ventures focus on solving entrenched social problems: poverty, environmental degradation, lack of access to healthcare, inadequate education and more. Just as entrepreneurship helps advance economic progress, so social entrepreneurship moves humanity in the direction of a more peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.’

Jeff Skoll, philanthropist, former president of eBay, social entrepreneur and founder and chairman of the Skoll Foundation”

Read how others define it:

The second one focuses on the fact that social entrepreneurship is on the rise:

Business schools are responding to a surge in demand for education that equips students to become social entrepreneurs. But the structure of those organisations that are ‘doing good‘ is changing rapidly and these changes have implications not only for schools’ positions in rankings tables but also for how students will fund their business education.

‘In the 1980s there was almost no talk at all in business schools about anything that we might now call social entrepreneurship,’ says Peter Tufano, dean of Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford. read more


Richard Fahey at Australian Environmental Grantmakers Network

May 6, 2013 by

On May 3,  Skoll Foundation COO Richard Fahey and Managing Director of Capricorn Investment Group Dipender Saluja spoke on impact investments at the Australian Environmental Grantmakers Network (AEGN)  lunch in Melbourne.

They shared the granting and social investment practices of the foundation.

More from the AEGN:

“The Skoll Foundation works across many sectors, but their work in supporting sustainable markets is particularly relevant to us.

The Skoll Foundation believes that today’s markets do not reflect the real costs of degraded natural resources and unjust labor practices or the hidden opportunities for long-term value creation. Governments and civil society cannot win this battle alone; markets need to mobilize resources to speed this transformation, with supply and demand geared toward sustainable products, services, and practices.  The Skoll Foundation advance innovations that harness the power of markets to drive change by considering all costs and opportunities with a long-term perspective.

Impact investing is primarily distinguished by its intention to address social and environmental challenges through deployment of capital. This event comes at a time of growing interest in impact investing in Australia with the Federal Government recently releasing a major paper on the issue.

Richard Fahey, Chief Operating Officer

Richard Fahey leads the Skoll Foundation’s financial and operations functions.  He has more than 20 years of experience in financial and operations management with Hewlett-Packard, most recently as Finance Director for HP Services, where he was responsible for global financial policies and compliance in areas such as revenue recognition and expenditure controls.

As a Research Analyst with the Federal Reserve Board, Richard modeled the relationship between interest rates and inflation expectations.

Richard earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and history from Georgetown University and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Chicago.

Dipender Saluja, Managing Director, Capricorn Investment Group

Dipender Saluja oversees investments in energy technology, cleantech, IT and emerging markets. Dipender is also President and CEO of Automatiks, a Capricorn portfolio company developing energy management platforms. Previously, Dipender was Chief of Staff at Cadence, and prior to that worked at Data General (now EMC), Honeywell and ROLM (now IBM). Dipender serves on the boards of Sunpreme, AST, Embrace, Liquidity, Automatiks and CalStart.

This event has been made possible by the generous support of the Lord Mayors Charitable Fund.”


Sally Osberg to Receive Scripps Distinguished Alumna of the Year Award

May 3, 2013 by

CEO Sally Osberg will receive the Scripps Distinguished Alumna of the Year tomorrow at Scripps College in Claremont, Calif.

First presented in 1978, the Scripps College Distinguished Alumna Award celebrates the notable achievements of Scripps alumnae and is presented each year during Reunion Weekend. Foremost consideration is sustained growth and distinctive achievement in the nominee’s chosen field.

Sally earned her M.A. in literature from the Claremont Graduate School and her B.A. in English from Scripps College, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.  Besides tomorrow’s award, Sally has received the John Gardner Leadership Award from the American Leadership Forum, been inducted into the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame, and been named by the San Jose Mercury News as one of the “Millennium 100″ for her role in shaping and leading Silicon Valley.

Congratulations, Sally!


50 or 100 years from now: check out what Arianna Huffington, Elon Musk, Premal Shah imagine might happen.

April 29, 2013 by

CEO Sally Osberg just posted the opening video that played at the Skoll World Forum on her Huffington Post blog, where it’s featured on the front page of the Huffington Post.

She just added her own introduction to the video, saying:

“Anniversaries are always a time to reflect. But for the 10th anniversary of the Skoll World Forum, we thought that the opportunity was really to look forward. So we asked friends, folks who’d been part of the Forum community for many years, to join us in imagining what the future might be.”

In the video, you’ll  hear the insights of Arianna Huffington, Skoll Awardee Premal Shah, new energy entrepreneur Elon Musk, Creative Commons chief executive Joi Ito, Skoll Awardee Afghan Institute of Learning Founder Sakena Yacoobi, collective intelligence strategist Shaifali Puri, neuroscientist Sarah Caddick, theoretical physicist Geoffrey West, and science prodigy Tanishq Abraham.



Portfolio Director Alex Sloan at 6th MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition

April 26, 2013 by

This week, our portfolio director Alex Sloan was a judge, and later a keynote speaker, in Doha, Qatar at an incredible event, which you can learn all about above.

At around the 2:50 mark in this video, you’ll hear him talk about his experience: “It’s been a fantastic week here in Doha. I come from Silicon Valley, and I am feeling very comfortable here in terms of the innovation and the entrepreneurs, and I am very excited for the things to come.”

In their coverage, here is what the organizers wrote about his speech:

“Alex Sloan, the portfolio director of the Skoll Foundation, started his speech by stating that ‘There is no more important or urgent place and time to change the world than in this region, right now, and by you. There is no better time to change the world than now.’  Sloan discussed Social Entrepreneurship and mentioned that the entrepreneurs in the Middle East are just as talented as those in Silicon Valley if not more. Sloan continued by stating that social entrepreneurship is a team effort and that social entrepreneurs work hard to change the systems they work in.  Focusing on the idea that companies can’t ignore the social aspect of doing business, Sloan mentioned common characteristics of success which he has observed in the ways entrepreneurs work:
•    They are unsatisfied with the status quo and seek to address a customer pain point, with a NEED to have, not NICE to have, solution.
•    They match large scale challenges with big ambition.
•    They seek to innovate around product, partnership and revenue model.
•    They seek to realign available assets in a new and compelling way.
•    They are willing to try and fail, versus, never trying at all.
•    And with the pressures of impatient investors and customers, Entrepreneurs learn to fail fast, iterate and improve.”

Read who won the competition and more.


Sandy Herz and Neal Baer on Social Entrepreneurs and Storytelling

April 25, 2013 by

The Skoll Foundation’s director of strategic alliances, Sandy Herz, joined acclaimed screenwriter Neal Baer (best known for ER) on HuffPo Live today.

During the second half of the show, which you can watch above, Neal and Sandy talked about how they help social entrepreneurs such as APOPO tell their stories. Neal excitedly shared how APOPO’s Hero Rats sniff out landmines, adding, “The Skoll Foundation funds dozens of these organizations and they are changing people’s lives.”


Muhammad Yunus Presented with Congressional Gold Medal Today

April 17, 2013 by

yunuscongrCEO Sally Osberg snapped this photo today at the United States Capitol, where  Congressional leaders presented  the founder of the Grameen Bank, Muhammad Yunus, with the Congressional Gold Medal.

“It takes genius to do something simple, and Muhammad Yunus is a genius,” Sen. Dick Durbin said during the ceremony.

Yunus was honored because of his “efforts to combat global poverty,” and has also won the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Nobel Peace Prize. Those are besides many other awards, including our Global Treasure Award just last week at the Skoll World Forum.

Here’s a new interview with Yunus from the New York Times’ Fixes column: “Yunus is best known for his work pioneering and spreading microfinance. Today, microfinance providers reach about 200 million clients globally. In Bangladesh, the Grameen Bank has 8.4 million borrowers, 96 percent women. Yunus has also developed many other enterprises that offer an array of products and services to the poor, including Grameen Phone, the largest cellphone operator in the country. Over the past two years, his work has come under attack by the government of Bangladesh, which we have reported on herehere and here in Fixes. Below, in an interview conducted a few days ago, Yunus reflects on his life, the role of social business, and the importance of imagination in creating a poverty-free world.”

Read the rest:


Sally Osberg in Forbes: How Social Entrepreneurs Deliver New Solutions to Global Problems

April 16, 2013 by

CEO Sally Osberg mentions eight Skoll awardees as examples of how social entrepreneurs are delivering new solutions to global problems in her latest op-ed. An excerpt:

“Imagine that you are a mother living in a village in rural Gambia. At least one of your eight children will probably die before reaching the age of five. It doesn’t matter that there are vaccines or treatments for the disease that will take your child—measles, hepatitis, diarrhea, or perhaps HIV. What you know is that it’s a ten-kilometer walk to the health clinic. When you arrive, you’re likely to find a sign saying the nurse couldn’t get there that day.

Andrea and Barry Coleman, stars in the world of motorcycle racing, saw the problem when they went to Africa to support the work of children’s charities. It wasn’t lack of medicine or healthcare workers. Rather, what was missing were the parts, mechanics, and maintenance for vehicles taking workers and supplies to villages and clinics. The couple wept over wasted vehicles rusting behind health-ministry offices, then returned home and mortgaged their house to found Riders for Health, a reliable, scalable vehicle-maintenance system for healthcare delivery.

The story of Riders for Health is a story of social entrepreneurship.”

Read the rest:


Skoll World Forum Closing Plenary

April 15, 2013 by

Kofi Annan making us laugh.

Four powerful women.

Empowering images.

Those are some memories of the closing plenary, which Stephan Chambers so eloquently emceed, sharing his favorite moments from the Forum.


Annan, who spent his entire career at the United Nations, shared examples of UN employees who were trailblazers and innovators. “You can find innovators in strange places,” he said to audience laughter. He shared lessons he learned from his time at the UN, including: New ideas lead to resistance; give it time; the more people, the more the chance for success; and with determination and inventiveness, we can overcome the biggest barriers.” read more


Skoll Awards Night Highlights

April 12, 2013 by

What a voice!

Those were Sally Osberg’s words when Annie Lennox left the stage Thursday night after receiving her Honorary Skoll Award. Inspired by those words, I am summing up the 2013 Skoll Awards Ceremony with them. What. A. Voice.

Our six Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship awardees—Gemma Mortensen, Carne Ross, Chris Underhill, Mushtaq Chhapra, Sal Khan and Gopi Gopalakrishnan—give voice to the voiceless. After watching short videos showing how they are empowering people stuck in war, helping the poor who are mentally ill, giving children an education, and helping the poor access healthcare, each awardee gave a short speech sharing how they do what they do, how the Skoll Award money will help them, and inspiring us with real stories from the field. We can’t wait until they are here on video and you can watch them all!

The Skoll Foundation gave a Global Treasure Award to Muhammad Yunus, who talked about “the unlimited creative power and creative potential of human beings.”


The evening’s entertainment included enchanting song by soprano Monica Yunus (Muhammad’s daughter!) and Festival in Exile of Mali.monica



A magical, inspiring ceremony that left everyone invigorated to change the world like the eight social entrepreneurs we honored.


Skoll World Forum Opening Plenary: Partnerships and Perspective

April 11, 2013 by

We begin to tell you about the Skoll World Forum opening plenary by talking about partnerships. That’s because, during the riveting panel discussion, Paul Farmer and Bill Strickland shared that just minutes earlier backstage, they had shaken hands on an agreement to work together in Haiti. And we say perspective because panelist Gro Brundtland shared that it was very difficult for her children when she was prime minister of Norway—but they didn’t tell her until years later. Moderated by Mabel van Oranje, the panel also covered topics like failure, initial inspiration, marriage  (“It helps if you like your spouse” – Strickland) and the future. Paul Farmer noted that “Sally Osberg correctly diagnosed [me] as a social entrepreneur seven years ago,” to which many laughed. The panel was just part of the exciting Wednesday evening plenary, which also featured:

*Our Founder Jeff Skoll, sharing his Top Ten list, each of which garnered much applause (Number One: “There are fewer people living in poverty than ever before.”)

*The above video, a must-watch

*Exuberant female drummers from Rwanda called Ingoma Nysha

*Michael Porter discussing the just-launched Social Progress Index, which our CEO Sally Osberg was a big part of

*and last but not least, Ken Brecher, who poignantly shared his vivid and powerful story of living with a tribe in the Brazilian Amazon, and correlating that to social entrepreneurs. He says they, too, are part of a “tribe of social entrepreneurs.”

“Social entrepreneurship is a vocation,” Brecher said. “You form new alliances and fight until the last fight for a more equitable world.”

The complete video of the night will be online in the coming weeks at, and you can watch livestreaming of Thursday night’s Skoll Awards ceremony there, too.


“Creating Good Work” Features 7 Skoll Awardees

April 5, 2013 by

We want to tell you about a new book, “Creating Good Work: The World’s Leading Social Entrepreneurs Show How to Build a Healthy Economy,” by Ron Schultz. Experts in the field of social entrepreneurship share their experience, knowledge and wisdom. They give examples of how they overcame barriers to create a lasting impact on the world.

Skoll Awardees who contributed to the book include Karen Tse, Jim Fruchterman, Bart Weetjens, Dorothy Stoneman, Rebecca Onie and Willy Foote. WITNESS, a Skoll Awardee, was represented by WITNESS Senior Communications Manager Coco Chang.

“The lessons contained in this volume are an asset to any social entrepreneur looking for new and innovative ways to have a positive impact and change the world around them, be they at their initial concept phase or a successful venture looking to expand their sphere of influence,” Schultz says.

Learn more about the CGW book, published by Palgrave Macmillian, at


Skoll World Forum is Next Week!

April 3, 2013 by

Our staff is gearing up for the Skoll World Forum in Oxford, England next week — some of us are already in Oxford, others are leaving very soon.

Each year, nearly 1,000 of the world’s most influential social entrepreneurs, key thought leaders and strategic partners gather at the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford to exchange ideas, solutions and information. What’s in store this year? Kofi Annan will speak at the closing plenary on Friday, Annie Lennox and Muhammad Yunus will receive special awards, we’re launching a book in partnership with HarperOne, we’re giving the Skoll Award to six new awardees, and much more.

If you’re not attending the entire Forum, you can purchase tickets for $45 each to the plenaries and awards ceremony here:

Or watch our live stream from your computer starting April 10:

To learn more about this year’s Forum:

The Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship is the premier international platform for advancing entrepreneurial approaches and solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. Our 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.

Co-produced by the Skoll Foundation and the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at the Saïd Business School, the Forum shines a spotlight on best practices, new innovations and connecting leaders to one another to further global social progress. Forum delegates represent nearly 65 countries and participate in a range of interactive events in inspiring Oxford locations. We provide a unique platform for delegates to openly share, collaborate, innovate and ultimately, advance social entrepreneurship.


Pamela Hartigan on The Promise of ‘Entrepreneuring’

March 13, 2013 by

We’re thrilled to announce Pamela Hartigan’s new Huffington Post blog, which she will update twice a month on topics related to social entrepreneurship. Pamela is the director of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship. Here is an excerpt from her first blog:

“It’s that time of year when the ‘stars’ come out in full regalia, prefaced by inordinate media attention to prepare us for the BAFTAs (British Awards for Film, Television and the Arts), the Grammys, and the Oscars. But there is another raft of awards that receives much less media attention, yet would make for some of the most riveting and inspiring screen scripts.

This is the time of year when the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship, the Echoing Green finalists, the Schwab Foundation Entrepreneurs of the Year awards are announced, highlighting those men and women who have combined innovation, resourcefulness and opportunity to transform the lives of people and the planet. Skoll, Schwab and Echoing Green are well known entities in the social entrepreneurship world, and to be recognized by them opens doors to the many types of resources these entrepreneurs so desperately need to continue to magnify their transformational impact.”

Read the rest:


© 2014 Skoll Foundation.