As the NonProfit Times says, “Sally is a systems visionary…she understands the past, can envision a future and put it together.”
Sally, who co-authored the upcoming book, Getting Beyond Better: How Social Entrepreneurship Works, has been an agent for social change throughout her career. As our President and CEO, she partners with Founder and Chairman Jeff Skoll and heads the Skoll Foundation’s team in identifying and supporting innovators pioneering scalable solutions to global challenges. She is a well-known proponent of thought leadership, research, and alliances that advance the work of social entrepreneurs solving the world’s most pressing problems. She founded the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship, the largest gathering of innovators around the world.
Other winners of the NonProfit Times award include Bill Gates, co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Jacqueline Novogratz, CEO of Acumen, Darren Walker, President and CEO of the Ford Foundation, Diana Aviv, President and CEO of Independent Sector, Kathy Calvin, President and CEO of the United Nations Foundation, Alberto Ibarguen, President and CEO of the Knight Foundation, and many more luminaries.
In Nepal, where handwoven carpets are the No. 1 export, Skoll Awardee GoodWeave has been tremendously affected. In a new Nonprofit Chronicles story, reporter Marc Gunther writes,”…All of this is a work in progress, and the Nepal earthquake is a reminder that the best-laid plans can be rocked, literally, by forces beyond anyone’s control. A GoodWeave day care center and an office have crumbled. A staff member lost his immediate family. If, in the years ahead, Nepal’s carpet industry collapses, much of the progress made by GoodWeave will be undone. ‘This industry is going to have to be rebuilt, sustainability,’ GoodWeave founding executive director Nina Smith says. ‘Otherwise the buyers are going to go elsewhere.’ That would be terrible not just for the children of Nepal, but for the entire nation.”
Gunther quotes Skoll Foundation President and CEO Sally Osberg and her “Getting Beyond Better” book coauthor:
“As Sally Osberg and Roger Martin, a foundation director, write in the current issue of the Harvard Business Review: ‘When enough consumers vote with their wallets, retailers and suppliers get the message—and entire systems are forever altered.’ It’s far from an easy solution, though, because it relies on consumers, retailers, suppliers and NGOs to do what governments ought to do–protect children. Try marketing that.”
The article also mentions GoodWeave’s short video, Stand with Sanju, which was Winner of a Stories of Change award from Skoll Foundation and Sundance. The three-minute video depicts the real and triumphant journey of an 11-year-old girl named Sanju.
As Osberg explained: “Social entrepreneurs attack systems and equilibria in society that are stuck in place and desperately in need of change.” Martin added that the book aims to extend the knowledge of social entrepreneurs to provide models for their peers; and to make it easier for funders and stakeholders to understand and identify social entrepreneurs, increasing investment in the sector.
“The real challenge today is summoning the body of evidence that shows us what social entrepreneurship is getting done in the world,” said Osberg. “This will give more leverage and impetus for us to track this wave and prove to governments and businesses what is possible.”
Martin spoke of the tensions that social entrepreneurs have to deal with. “You have to abhor the current situation and understand how to change it. You’re an expert, but also an apprentice. You have to both experiment and commit.” read more
Sally Osberg and Roger L. Martin, who have a new book coming out in October, just wrote a new article in the May 2015 issue of Harvard Business Review. Their new book, “Getting Beyond Better: How Social Entrepreneurship Works,” sets forth a bold new framework demonstrating how and why meaningful change actually happens in the world, and providing concrete lessons and a practical model for businesses, policymakers and civil society organizations. Here is an excerpt from the HBR article, now online:
“Social entrepreneurship has emerged over the past several decades as a way to identify and bring about potentially transformative societal change. A hybrid of government intervention and pure business entrepreneurship, social ventures can address problems that are too narrow in scope to spark legislative activism or to attract private capital.
To succeed, these ventures must adhere to both social goals and stiff financial constraints. Typically, the aim is to benefit a specific group of people, permanently transforming their lives by altering a prevailing socioeconomic equilibrium that works to their disadvantage. Sometimes, as with environmental entrepreneurship, the benefit may be extended to a broader group once the project has provided proof of concept. But more often the benefit’s target is an economically disadvantaged or marginalized segment of society that doesn’t have the means to transform its social or economic prospects without help. The endeavor must also be financially sustainable. Otherwise the new socioeconomic equilibrium will require a constant flow of subsidies from taxpayers or charitable givers, which are difficult to guarantee indefinitely. To achieve sustainability, an enterprise’s costs should fall as the number of its beneficiaries rises, allowing the venture to reduce its dependence on philanthropic or governmental support as it grows.”
There is no better way to open an Awards Ceremony than with the Soweto Gospel Choir dancing down the aisles.
So began the 2015 Skoll Awards Ceremony.
Yesterday, Skoll Foundation President and CEO Sally Osberg led the community on a journey, back 800 years, to the Magna Carta. This charter for personal liberties “stoked the early embers of freedom,” and the blaze caught around the world. As Sally said, “Then, as now, the driving force for change was the quintessentially human drive to set things right.” We saw this drive in each of the four 2015 Skoll Awardees.
Jagdeesh Rao Puppala demonstrated how the work of the Foundation for Ecological Security is about much more than simply helping people manage their forests, pastures, and water. Even skeptics within villages came to see the value of Commons—a farmer found that improved vegetation in the Commons led to better crop productivity in his own land; a widower’s daughter was able to use the fodder from the village pasture to feed the family bulls, freeing up hours of every day and allowing her to go back to school. “What we saw as a simple planting of trees was a larger story of how people connected economically, socially, and emotionally to the Commons,” he said.
Alasdair Harris introduced us to the “not-so-small-scale” fishers, the millions of people living along coasts who depend on fisheries for survival. With fish stocks collapsing and where people have no alternative to fishing, people are struggling to find enough to survive. Blue Ventures works with communities to show how taking less from the ocean can actually lead to more, catalyzing locals to protect their own seas. “When sustainable fisheries make real sense for this not-so-small-scale sector, we have a hope of putting conservation in the hands of those with the greatest interest in its success,” he told the crowd.
Safeena Husain shared the story of a Padma, a young woman whose life was transformed when, after escaping an abusive marriage as a girl, she returned to school and ultimately became one the most educated people in her village. Today, Padma works to get girls back to school.
“Padma is an Educate Girls Team Balika, a community volunteer who is shifting the equilibrium in favor of girls’ education,” she said. She is just one of the 4,600 Team Balika members throughout India, working to unlock the transformative power of girls’ education. These passionate catalysts enrolled 80,000 out-of-school girls last year alone, changing norms and convincing villages about the incredible merits of educating girls.
Ma Jun described how pollution in China has reached such a magnitude that it cannot be addressed without extensive public participation. The Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs works to provide citizens with tools to put pressure on major polluters.
IPE’s innovative Blue Map app enables users to access and tweet the records of emitters. This “micro-reporting” has motivated hundreds of major coal and industrial power plants to respond—and the app has now topped 3 million downloads. With such engagement and momentum, Ma Jun looks to expand IPE’s operations and amplify its impact.
The next recognition was for the Skoll Global Treasure Award. Jeff Skoll honored Graça Machel, “a hero to people all over the world, whose life story is a testament to the power of radical thinking.” Driven by the idea that all people have a right to dignity, Mrs. Machel is a renowned international advocate for women and children’s rights.
In a conversation with Camfed founder Ann Cotton, Mrs. Machel explained how justice and human dignity are the threads in her life. Upon seeing the suffering of children in Mozambique and around the world, the protection of children came as a call to amplify their voices. “No one is voiceless. The difference is not everyone has a platform where their voice can be heard.” She told a story about an experience in Tanzania, where after a meeting on FGM and child marriage in the community, a group of girls presented her with a gift. “I’m worried about them, and they come and give me a gift. These children are not giving up, so who am I to give up?”
Graca Machel captured a sentiment that underlies so much of the Skoll World Forum. As Sally Osberg closed, she reminded us that the choices we make and refuse to make will keep us accountable for years to come—and that is what drives us to make the world better.
Inclusive growth must be focused on delivering economic + social progress
World earns “a failing grade” on progress say experts
Norway ranks top in this year’s Index, Canada is top of G7; Brazil is the top BRIC nation
The most effective way to improve people’s quality of life across the world, in both rich and poor countries, is to invest in social progress. This is according to the Social Progress Index 2015 published today by US-based nonprofit, the Social Progress Imperative, and released at the 2015 Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship. The Index, ranked 133 countries based on their social and environmental performance and, including countries for which partial data was found, measured the social progress of 99% of the world’s population – using 52 separate indicators to arrive at a ranking for the issues that matter most to people.
The Index found that the world performs strongest in the areas of ‘nutrition’ and ‘basic medical care’ but weakest in ‘access to advanced education’ and ‘ecosystem sustainability’. The findings also show that many aspects of social progress improve with income. Wealthier countries, such as Norway – which achieves the top ranking this year – generally deliver better social outcomes than lower income countries.
But researchers say that GDP is far from being the sole determinant of social progress.
“Inclusive growth requires achieving both economic and social progress. A striking finding is that GDP is far from being the sole determinant of social progress. The pitfalls of focusing on GDP alone are evident in the findings of the 2015 Social Progress Index,” Professor Michael E. Porter of Harvard Business School, who chairs the Index’s Advisory Board, said. “Countries must invest in social progress, not just economic institutions, to create the proper foundation for economic growth.”
Costa Rica (28th ranking) with a GDP per capita of $13,431 achieves a much higher level of social progress than both Italy and South Korea, which have more than twice Costa Rica’s GDP per capita ($34,167 and $32,708 respectively). On the other hand the US, with a GDP per capita of $51,340, scores relatively poorly across many of the components measured by the Index, including on ‘health and wellness’, finishing behind countries with a lower GDP per capita including Canada (6th) and the UK (11th).
Sally Osberg, President and CEO of the Skoll Foundation, said: “This year’s Social Progress Index reported the world’s progress, rolling up the collective results from 133 countries. Sadly, as a whole, the world earned a failing grade, ranking in the bottom 40 percent of countries. Of particular concern is the world’s performance on ‘opportunity’, which very closely correlates to personal well-being. This is a wake-up call rich and poor countries alike should heed!”
The Social Progress Imperative is registered as a nonprofit organization in the US, and is grateful to the following organizations for their financial support: Cisco, Compartamos Banco, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd. (Deloitte Global), Fundación Avina, The Rockefeller Foundation, and the Skoll Foundation.
Skoll Foundation President and CEO Sally Osberg and Roger Martin, academic director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the Rotman School of Management, just published an article in Rotman magazine. The piece, called “Moving the World Forward: The Quest for a New Equilibrium,” is drawn from their forthcoming book, A New Equilibrium: Harnessing the Power of Social Entrepreneurship. “By combining elements from government policy and business entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurs are moving the world forward in creative ways,” their article begins.
“Social progress, by which we mean transformation of the prevailing conditions under which most members of a society live and work, is almost always the result of a successful challenge to an existing equilibrium. The path to change, however, doesn’t always run smoothly…
…every once in a while, backed by revolutionary rather than normal thinking, the world moves forward in a big leap to a fundamentally new equilibrium. The existing equilibrium is shattered, even if it appeared relatively stable, and even if many powerful people and organizations were invested in it. Over the course of history, such paradigm shifts have typically been driven by two entities: government policy innovation and business entrepreneurial creation.
…Social entrepreneurship is a much newer form of positive equilibrium transformation that occupies and utilizes key features of the two poles in myriad combinations. The ability to draw from the principles and tools of both government policy innovation and business entrepreneurial creation produces the potential for endless powerful combinations.
The most exciting part is that social entrepreneurship makes possible equilibrium shifts that neither of the traditional forms can achieve on their own.”
Skoll Foundation President and CEO Sally Osberg was honored with the Magis Global Changemaker Award from Santa Clara University (SCU) in Santa Clara, Calif., on Sunday, May 18.
“A friend of mine once called social entrepreneurs ‘human tipping points,'” Sally said during her acceptance speech. “I’ve come to like even better where that idea points—to a global movement taking root in rural villages and urban slums, in corporate boardrooms and in gatherings of the G 20, in Silicon Valley garages, Rwandan clinics and on college campuses like Santa Clara’s. It’s an unruly movement, a growing movement, a movement of movements.”
Thane Kreiner, executive director of the Center for Science, Technology, and Society at SCU, said, “It was Sally’s pioneering advancement of social entrepreneurship that garnered her the Magis Global Changemaker Award. I think I can safely say that the Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI) program would not exist without Sally Osberg and the Skoll Foundation.”
Before Sally took the stage, the “Ambition” video from the 2014 Skoll World Forum was shown. The theme of the 2014 Forum, “Ambition” highlights some of humanity’s most ambitious accomplishments to date, and offers a glimpse of Forum attendees’ visions of the future and how the ambition of social entrepreneurs will drive solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems.
Nearly 300 guests attended the Magis dinner, which also featured: read more
Yesterday, Skoll Foundation President and CEO moderated a great plenary panel on leadership at the Global Philanthropy Forum conference. Panelists included Hakeem Belo-Osagie, chair of Etisalat; Peter Eigen, founder of Transparency International, and Fred Swaniker, founder of the African Leadership Academy.
Panelists were very thoughtful, covering topics from how important it is to have people around you who will tell you the truth (even if they disagree with you) to what made them start their organizations (their “tipping point”).
Sally noted that they may not realize it, but that they were all “what we at the Skoll Foundation call social entrepreneurs, not working on the margins, but working to disrupt, to right what’s wrong.”
Earlier in the day, Sally led a very popular working group session called Philanthropy: Busting Myths of Logic and Scale.” Speakers included Chase Adam, co-founder of Watsi; John Kania, managing director of FSG; Paul Niehaus, co-founder of GiveDirectly; and Jeri Eckhart Queenan, head of global development practice at The Bridgespan Group.
She will moderate the plenary at 2:30 p.m. on “Redefining Leadership.” Panelists include Hakeem Belo-Osagie, chair of Etisalat; Peter Eigen, founder of Transparency International, and Fred Swaniker, founder of the African Leadership Academy.
Earlier in the day, she will moderate a working group on “Philanthropy: Busting Myths of Logic and Scale.” Speakers include Chase Adam, co-founder of Watsi; John Kania, managing director of FSG; Paul Niehaus, co-founder of GiveDirectly; and Jeri Eckhart Queenan, head of global development practice at The Bridgespan Group.
SANTA CLARA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Sally Osberg, the internationally respected thought leader in the field of social entrepreneurship, will speak about the future of social innovation and the challenges facing the next generation of innovators, on Sunday, May 18 at Santa Clara University.
“As we continue to scale our own work both locally – through a partnership with eBay Foundation – and globally – through a network of Jesuit and mission-aligned institutions – we are proud to call the Skoll Foundation a treasured partner.”
Osberg will be one of two honorees at Santa Clara University’s first annual Magis dinner, to benefit the University’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society. She will receive the Magis Global Changemaker Award, along with former social entrepreneur Graham Macmillan of Citi Foundation. Magis will takes place at 6 p.m. at the University’s Paul L. Locatelli, S.J., Student Activity Center. It aims to bring Silicon Valley together to introduce new people to social enterprise and advance the thinking of social enterprise leaders. read more
Skoll Foundation President and CEO Sally Osberg appeared on Bloomberg TV’s “Countdown” show this morning, the day’s breaking news in the countdown to the opening of the Euro markets. She discussed the Social Progress Index 2014 launch. Later in the morning, Professor Michael Porter delivered a keynote at Deloitte in London, talking about SPI and the connection between social and economic progress and the opportunities gained if all sectors recognize the importance of both. Sally Osberg joined a panel to debate how we can use the Index to galvanize collective action to unlock true growth and progress.
Skoll Foundation CEO Sally Osberg recently spoke at the Stanford PACS (Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society), Philanthropy Innovation Summit, a forum for philanthropists to “illuminate, innovate and inspire their giving through learning from both peers and experts in the philanthropic field.”
Sally led a “deep dive” session on social entrepreneurship, which attracted an overflow crowd of conference delegates. Her opening remarks included the vision and mission of the Skoll Foundation, our focus areas, and case studies about Riders for Health and Camfed. She then fielded questions about why philanthropists might want to invest in social entrepreneurs.
Other speakers at the forum included Laurene Powell Jobs, Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff, Ben Horowitz of Andreesen Horowitz and Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter.
“Motorcycle racer Andrea Coleman and her journalist husband, Barry Coleman, couldn’t forget what they saw during a trip to Somalia in 1986: hemorrhaging patients being carted to clinics in wheelbarrows, rusting vehicles abandoned by the side of the road, community health workers making their rounds by foot.
What all this signaled to the Colemans was a delivery system in deep disarray. It wasn’t simply the medical supplies that were lacking — vaccines, for example, or bed nets — but more mundane basics such as oil filters and lug nuts, along with the mechanics and maintenance protocols required to ensure transport that was fully functional.
As racers, the Colemans knew what it would take to build such a system. Upon returning to England, they got cracking, eventually mortgaging their house to found Riders for Health.
From food insecurity to lack of access to health care to growing environmental threats — if we’re going to solve the world’s most pressing problems, we need social entrepreneurs like the Colemans every bit as much as we need great institutions and great global leaders.”
We’re noticing an increasing number Skoll Awardees using crowdfunding for specific projects, and wanted to share more details in case you’re contemplating doing the same.
In June, Landesa launched its first crowd-funding effort with Catapult.org. In this pilot effort, they featured their legal aid project in Andra Pradesh, with a goal of raising $10,000 to train and support 30 paralegals in the program. Those paralegals can, in a given year, help 1,000 families gain clear title to the land upon which they rely.
Landesa successfully raised the $10,000 needed.
In July, Search for Common Ground raised a little more than their $10,000 goal to launch a TV web series of their signature show, “The Team,” in America. See their Kickstarter promotional video, above.
“Although crowdfunding seems to be everywhere now, nonprofits were actually some of its earliest adopters,” writes Scot Chisholm, CEO & CoFounder, StayClassy (a crowdfunding site). “In the early days, nonprofits tied crowdfunding to their offline events, like runs, walks and rides.”
We at the Skoll Foundation partnered with the Huffington Post and CrowdRise, a crowdfunding site, on two campaigns and plan on doing one more. The first, called JobRaising, was geared toward creating jobs for America and raised $1,469,116 in donations to organizations who help support jobs. 82 percent of those donations were less than $100.
Announced in March 2013, JVS Los Angeles (which provides job training, mentoring, expert career coaching, job placement and retention support) beat the field with $254,100 raised and received an additional $150,000 from The Skoll Foundation. read more
“Without ambition, I would argue, dreams risk remaining ethereal and untethered to reality. Ambition moves human beings from wanting to improve their lives to taking the actions to do so. Social entrepreneurs harness that force, creating ventures explicitly designed to help people help themselves. For the disadvantaged populations served by most social entrepreneurs, tangible goals—more income, good jobs, and the dignity that comes with improved social status—matter.”
On what defines social entrepreneurs:
“As Roger Martin and I argued in “Social Entrepreneurship: The Case for Definition” [Stanford Social Innovation Review, Spring 2007], social entrepreneurs see and seize opportunities to crack the code on systems that hold human potential in check, setting their sights not just on incremental improvements to a status quo, but on equilibrium change.”
On Tim Hanstad of Landesa:
“Tim Hanstad is under no illusions as to the scale of global poverty. Landesa, the organization he leads, has done the math and carried out the analysis: of the estimated 2.47 billion barely scraping by on less than $2 a day, three quarters live in rural areas and are dependent upon land they farm to survive. More than 1 billion of these subsistence farmers, however, are not in control of the land they cultivate, a condition that perpetuates their poverty and exacerbates their vulnerability. For families as for markets, uncertainty quashes ambition. Faced with the real possibility that their property can be seized or redistributed, farmers won’t risk investing even the tiny sums needed to diversify crops or increase yields. But with title comes security and with security a more stable foundation for development. For four decades, Landesa has partnered with governments throughout the world in order to secure land rights for the rural poor, knowing that title is catalytic, setting in motion a virtuous cycle of development.”
On ambition as key to social entrepreneurship:
“Ambition can seem invisible, but its energy is undeniable. To social entrepreneurs like those featured herein, no resource is as vital to prosperity as that of human potential. Throughout the world, the ambition of women and men seeking freedom, self-determination, and opportunity is gathering force. Social entrepreneurs grasp the enormity of this momentum, appreciating the vast human potential underlying every data point on poverty, disease, environmental degradation and human suffering. They know that in the decades to come, this veritable tsunami of ambition will change countries, transform societies, and remake the world.”
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: http://www.annenbergalchemy.org/programs/alchemy-gold/what
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
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.
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.