Skoll Foundation



December 20, 2012 by

2013 Skoll Awardees signal social entrepreneurs’ increased focus on not only individual impact, but also ecosystem-level change

December 20, 2012 – Palo Alto, CA – The Skoll Foundation today announced the winners of its 2013 Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship (SASEs).  Chosen from hundreds of applicants, the award recognizes a highly selective group of the world’s most promising social entrepreneurs.  Skoll’s 2013 award winners are BasicNeeds, The Citizens Foundation, Crisis Action, Independent Diplomat, Khan Academy, and World Health Partners.

2013 Skoll awardees: Who and why

“While Skoll’s six new awardees focus on different issues, they share what Skoll believes is key to accelerating large-scale change: an entrepreneurial approach, a proven innovation with demonstrated impact that can be scaled, focus on a pressing issue that is at an inflection point, and an ability to catalyze systems change,” said Sally Osberg, president and CEO of the Skoll Foundation.  

This year’s award winners focus on:

Altering peace and human security practices that prevent the most marginalized or vulnerable from accessing and benefitting from the system.

  • Independent Diplomat (ID) helps marginalized countries and groups have a say in international negotiations about their own future. An experienced team of former diplomats, international lawyers and experts in international relations, ID provides advice on diplomatic strategy to break open the closed doors of international diplomacy. ID’s work ensures that those most affected are included in diplomatic discussions, making resulting agreements fairer and more likely to last.
  • Remaining entirely behind-the-scenes as a catalyst and coordinator, Crisis Action brings human rights and humanitarian organizations together across continents to protect civilians from armed conflict. By enabling civil society to speak as one at moments of crisis, it spurs the world’s most powerful decision makers into action.

A range of approaches that expand access to quality education, showcasing the need for both informal and cutting edge methods.

  • Khan Academy strives to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere – through online content delivered directly to independent learners worldwide and through a blended learning model that includes direct implementations and its freely available online teacher toolkit. Its resources allow students to learn at their own pace to truly master a subject.
  • The Citizens Foundation provides affordable primary and secondary private education to low-income students, with a focus on girls. The organization works in urban slums and rural areas in Pakistan, where 25 million children do not attend school and the female literacy rate is 45 percent.

Expansion of healthcare knowledge and access, bringing often ignored health issues to the forefront, and healthcare delivery to regions that often go without adequate care.

  • BasicNeeds raises awareness and drives more effective treatment of mental health problems that impact millions in developing countries, but are often misunderstood, underfunded and considered taboo.  BasicNeeds works with mentally ill people across 12 countries through a holistic model to address community mental health, poverty and stigma.
  • By taking an innovative market-based approach to health care delivery, World Health Partners improves the quality of rural health care at a large scale by creating a complete service delivery ecosystem.  Among its services, it connects informal rural health providers to qualified doctors through telemedicine, thereby providing access to a wide range of critical health services and products.

The Skoll approach: Beyond investment, to also connect and celebrate awardees

Skoll award winners receive not only financial investment, but also become part of Skoll’s community of 80 Skoll Award winners and the 900 social innovators across sectors who attend the annual Skoll World Forum at Oxford University.  This connection extends year-round through the newly-launched Skoll World Forum Online.

Skoll also believes in the catalyzing power of stories well-told, working with a portfolio of media partners like Sundance, HarperPro, and PBS to tell awardees’ stories in ways that educate and inspire, engage new partners, and challenge status quo thinking.

Catalyzing large-scale change: Ecosystem, not just organizational, impact

Recognizing that large-scale change requires cross-sector collaboration, Skoll also coalesces top private, government, academic and nonprofit organizations to collectively drive behavior, policy and systems change.  By partnering with organizations such as Cisco, USAID, Sundance, Oxford’s SAID Business School, Ashoka and others, Skoll supports not only individual organizations, but also an ecosystem approach to addressing the world’s most pressing issues.

“We believe that these important issues will be solved only by collaborating across sectors to scale disruptive innovations.  This type of deep collaboration will be the force that carries us to a sustainable world of peace and prosperity,” said Sally Osberg.

In addition to strategic partnerships, Skoll also recently expanded its strategy to invest in not only single organizations, but also collaborative efforts through “Innovation Investments.”  These investments bring organizations together from diverse sectors to work collaboratively on a significant global problem.  These investments are time bound and focus on a specific goal with tangible impact.

Osberg continued, “We make our Skoll Award and Innovation Investments as an invitation to the broader ecosystem to coalesce around, and scale, proven innovations that can catalyze large-scale change.”

About the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship

The Skoll Award provides a three-year core operating support grant for recipients to extend their already impressive reach. This year’s Skoll Awardees join the growing global network of 97 Skoll social entrepreneurs from 80 organizations who are tackling the world’s most pressing problems. The Skoll Awards will be formally presented by Skoll Foundation Chairman Jeff Skoll and CEO Sally Osberg at a ceremony to be held on April 11, 2013. The event is an annual highlight of the Skoll World Forum, convened in Oxford, England, each spring.

About the Skoll Foundation

Jeff Skoll created The Skoll Foundation in 1999 to pursue his vision of a sustainable world of peace and prosperity. Led by CEO Sally Osberg since 2001, its mission is to drive large- scale change by investing in, connecting and celebrating social entrepreneurs and the innovators who help them solve the world’s most pressing problems. Social entrepreneurs are society’s change agents, creators of innovations that disrupt the status quo and transform our world. By identifying the people and programs already creating positive change, the Skoll Foundation empowers them to extend their reach, deepen their impact and fundamentally improve society.

Over the past 12 years, the Foundation has awarded more than $342 million, including investments in 97 social entrepreneurs and 80 organizations on five continents. In addition to grant-making, the Foundation funds a $20 million+ portfolio of program-related and mission-aligned investments. Skoll also operates the annual Skoll World Forum, the premier conference on social entrepreneurship, and shares the stories of social entrepreneurs through partnerships with leading film and broadcast organizations including the PBS NewsHour and the Sundance Institute, to drive awareness of social entrepreneurship and its potential to address the critical issues of our time.

For further information, please see, or contact Karen Duffin, Director of Communications, at


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