Exciting news! At the Republican National Convention today, Arianna Huffington announced The JobRaising Challenge, an innovative competition organized by The Huffington Post, the Skoll Foundation, and CrowdRise to champion those US non-profits working to directly affect the number of jobs and/or our population’s ability to get one. Huffington also hosted a panel discussion today about the jobs crisis titled, “What is Working.” The discussion featured our own Skoll Awardee Civic Ventures’ Marc Freedman, Tom Brokaw, Walter Isaacson and Judith Rodin.
At Skoll, we know that entrepreneurs are society’s disruptors, attacking the most daunting problems by thinking bigger and creating innovations that drive behavior, systems and policy change. Social entrepreneurs especially: Skoll’s 91 social entrepreneurs on five continents prove their innovations, then scale them. Civic Ventures (Marc Freedman) is not the only Skoll Awardee working to make life better for Americans. We look to YouthBuild’s 273 programs in 45 states, to Manchester Bidwell’s 40-year track record in career training, to Citizen Schools, Kiva and HealthLeads. And we are inspired.
Today, the issue is clear: over 20 million Americans are out of work. We know how woeful the jobs crisis is, and we are beginning to understand its causes. On August 17, The Wall Street Journal published a sage opinion piece titled “How Big Government and Big Business Squeeze Entrepreneurs”. The JobRaising Challenge aims to take a more optimistic tack: to change the dialogue and focus our attention, and dollars, on innovation in this country.
Applications for The JobRaising Challenge, which is wholly separate from the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship, will open October 1. The competition itself – a contest to raise funds and awareness – will kick off on Inauguration Day 2013. Three winners will be selected, for awards of $150,000, $50,000 and $30,000. For details, go to www.jobraising.com
Just like this city, and just like Brazil, the Rio+20 conference has been described with countless superlatives. The biggest UN event ever! The greatest social change event in the history of humanity! But this gathering may have little chance of making the impact the Rio de Janeiro 1992 Earth Summit did. That convening established the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and Agenda 21. UN negotiators know that with no cap on carbon in the US, any UN environmental summit today is hobbled.
“The Forum on Social Entrepreneurship in the New Economy will be during Rio+20, and will generate ideas and practical next steps for sustainability and the emerging new economy. The Forum is organized by Ashoka, Fundación Avina, the Skoll Foundation and the Roberto Marinho Foundation and will be held at Humanidade2012 (Fort of Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro).
The event is open to the public. The Forum is based on the importance of social entrepreneurship in connecting society and nature, ethics and the economy as a foundation for sustainable development. The Forum invites entrepreneurs and citizens confronting today’s socio-environmental challenges to contribute to and expand upon this conversation.
Based on the experiences of social entrepreneurs, the Forum will show that current challenges can be seen not simply as limitations, but also as an opportunity for new solutions that can be broadly applied and refined in a society in which access to information and communication has been growing exponentially.
“There’s really only so much that you need, or your family needs,” Jeff Skoll says during an wide-ranging, hour-long conversation this week. “All else is to be turned, hopefully smartly, into a benefit for the world.”
That beautiful quote is part of a very long feature about Jeff Skoll’s life in Canada’s Globe and Mail. We learn more about his childhood, the books he grew up with, his first job, starting the Skoll Foundation, his films, his role in the Giving Pledge, and of course, his latest honor. An excerpt:
“He was at the Bacara not to discuss traditional philanthropy (billionaires know how to write cheques), but to outline something much more challenging: ‘impact investing’ – channelling funds into projects that yield a tangible social benefit as well as financial returns.
It is also why he was in Ottawa on Friday, when he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada for his ‘commitment to social causes and innovative practice of philanthropy.’ Mr. Skoll is the only Canadian among the 81 billionaires to sign The Giving Pledge in the two years since Bill Gates and Mr. Buffett called on the superrich to stop hoarding their wealth. He has already parted with half of his net worth, and expects 95 per cent to be gone when he is done.”
Congratulations to Jeff Skoll on his latest award. Here’s the press release:
(WASHINGTON- May 23, 2012)—Innovative, driven, results-oriented. These are just a few words that describe Jeff Skoll, recipient of Independent Sector’s 2012 John W. Gardner Leadership Award. IS will honor Jeff for his outstanding and innovative leadership in promoting a sustainable world of peace and prosperity at the 2012 Independent Sector Annual Conference on November 12 in San Francisco.
The first full-time employee and first president of eBay, Jeff Skoll was connecting individuals and creating social networks long before Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter became household names. Jeff’s first independent philanthropic venture was the Skoll Foundation. read more
“You wouldn’t likely notice Skoll, let alone recognize him, if he passed you on the street. Yet this soft-spoken, unassuming man helped pioneer e-commerce, launched social entrepreneurship and transformed the film industry to make it a force for social good. This Friday, Skoll will be presented with the Order of Canada for his philanthropic work.”
Skoll Foundation CEO Sally Osberg recently gave a speech to a Stanford Graduate School of Business audience. Here’s an excerpt:
“Social entrepreneurs are first and foremost entrepreneurs. We believe entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs are agents of creative destruction…Social entrepreneurs don’t have it easy,” said Osberg, comparing them to Ginger Rogers, who skillfully and deftly mirrored Fred Astaire’s ballroom dance moves. “The social entrepreneur does all that the entrepreneur does: comes up with a game-changing idea, builds the venture, attracts the capital, builds the market, brings the beneficiaries into the fold. But he or she does it backwards and in high heels, because the networks and systems for financing, capitalizing, getting the talent into the venture — that doesn’t exist the way it does in the private sector,” she said.
“Giving 2.0 speaks directly to the influence of millions of ordinary people whose contributions form the backbone of American philanthropy, adding up to more than $200 billion and 8.1 billion hours of volunteering each year. A compelling, meticulously researched work, Giving 2.0 pays its readers the ultimate tribute by assuming that they have what it takes to become powerful givers themselves. Its influence will be felt in untold acts of more informed and thoughtful giving. And its—and Arrillaga-Andreessen’s—impact will be registered in the societal transformation those vastly better gifts make possible.
If you want to understand the history and future of giving, this is the one book you should read. Make a gift of it.”
November 29, 2011 – Palo Alto, CA – The Skoll Foundation today announced the 2012 Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship.
“Looking at our winners, we are humbled,” said Sally Osberg, President and CEO of the foundation. “Our goal is impact – these are the people pulling it off. They’ve shown not just entrepreneurial vision, but the persistence needed to make lasting change. The four organizations we honor this year offer scalable, proven solutions to some of the world’s most daunting problems. Three of the four are from Asian countries. All are pioneering new grassroots mechanisms that unleash the power of citizen-driven change, a hallmark of true social entrepreneurship.” read more
A long feature article about Jeff Skoll, his latest award, and his work is in today’s San Jose Mercury News. The piece also quoted Sally Osberg, talking about the work of the Skoll Foundation. Skoll is also featured in Time and Forbes. An excerpt from the Mercury News:
“Jeff Skoll — entrepreneur, philanthropist and Hollywood producer — was honored Thursday night as this year’s global humanitarian at Tech Awards Gala, one of Silicon Valley’s pre-eminent social gatherings…Skoll’s work in media and with his foundation in many ways embodies the spirit of the annual awards ceremony, which brings together social entrepreneurs from around the globe for a week that is part celebration and part workshop on how to hone business models and network to find partners and funders. Fifteen entrepreneurs and organizations from around the globe were honored and five received cash prizes of $50,000 each.”
Tonight, Jeff Skoll will accept the top honor at the The Tech Awards gala.The prestigious Global Humanitarian award will be presented at a ceremony at the Santa Clara Convention Center, streamed live at 6:55 p.m. PST at http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/tech/Tech-Awards-2011-131107438.html. Past award winners include Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, Bill Gates and Applied Materials’ Chairman Emeritus James C. Morgan, who inspired the award.
“The Global Humanitarian Award is personally very meaningful to me for two primary reasons. Even when I was a young engineer, I really believed that technology could help improve people’s lives. It’s the great enabler. It gives voice to the voiceless, it empowers people, and it connects them,” Skoll said. “The second reason is the company that it keeps. When I look at the list of past recipients, these are all people who I’ve worked with directly, and I deeply respect the work they’re doing. So, it’s very humbling to be considered alongside these great humanitarians.”
Launch of the World’s First Ratings and Analytics Platform for Impact Investing: 15 Pioneer Investors, including The Skoll Foundation, with $1.5 Billion in Impact Assets Declare Investment Preference for GIIRS-rated Funds and Companies
September 20, 2011: Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, New York
Today B Lab announces at CGI the launch of GIIRS Ratings & Analytics, and the commitment of 15 GIIRS Pioneer Investors who declare as part of their impact investing strategy an investment preference for GIIRS-rated funds and companies.GIIRS Impact Ratings provide investors for the first time with a comprehensive, comparable, and third party verified assessment of companies’ and funds’ social and environmental impact. read more
Want some inspiration today? Watch one of these new videos from the Skoll World Forum. The first 11 of 47 original interviews with the world’s leading social entrepreneurs are now posted at www.TakePart.com/SkollWorldForum.
The videos (see one, above) were filmed this spring at the premier international social entrepreneurship gathering, the Skoll World Forum, in Oxford, England. They spotlight one-on-one discussions about inspiration, innovation and how to make change that lasts. Interviewees also include Water.org’s Gary White and Skoll Global Threats Fund’s Larry Brilliant. read more
Stories of Change: Social Entrepreneurship in Focus Through Documentary Initiative to Continue Through 2013; Additional $1 Million Granted to Program
First Story and Impact Workshop for Social Entrepreneurs to be Sept. 19 in New York City
Los Angeles, CA — The Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and the Skoll Foundation today announced the extension of their partnership for the initiative Stories of Change: Social Entrepreneurship in Focus Through Documentary. The partnership, dedicated to exploring film’s role in advancing knowledge about social entrepreneurship, began in 2007. It will continue through 2013,with an additional $1 million program grant. read more
Skoll Foundation CEO Sally Osberg is headed to Monterey, Calif. today for Renaissance Weekend, held over Labor Day Weekend at the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa.
For more than 30 years, Renaissance Weekends — inter-generational, invitation-only retreats for preeminent authorities, emerging leaders, and their families — have celebrated both ideas and relationships. Sally is moderating panels in Non-profit Leaders’ and Social Entrepreneurs’ Missions, and Web Innovations and Scalability Models. Participants are noted innovators in business and finance, education, religion, law and medicine, government, the media, science and technology, sports, non-profits and the arts.
U.S. News reports that – big surprise – with the economy so bad, students are rethinking their lives. Why just get an M.B.A. to get wealthy when you can get the same degree to do good in the world?
“The notion of using a management degree to do good while doing well has grown in popularity on today’s business school campuses, where an ever-increasing number of students plan on putting their business savvy to use within the nonprofit sector. The recession has led many applicants to reevaluate their priorities and determine what they want to do with their lives, often trading jobs with status and hefty paychecks for careers with a positive social impact…
Top environmental site MongaBay.com mentioned The Skoll Foundation in its latest update of what is happening in the Amazon. An excerpt
“The debate over the Amazon forest code continued in Brazil’s Senate, but satellite data showed signs that deforestation in the region is slowing after an alarming jump earlier this year. In other happy news, a ‘biocultural conservation corridor’ initiative led by the Amazon Conservation Team moved ahead after winning $1.6 million in support from the Skoll Foundation. The project aims to prevent deforestation across 46 million ha (114 million acres) in the northeastern and southwestern sections of Brazilian Amazon by bolstering indigenous land management.”
Skoll Awardee Bunker Roy of Barefoot College was recently interviewed on the From Scratch Radio Show, a New York-based show about the entrepreneurial life. In the 30-minute inspiring interview, he talked about his unconventional path to success, political crises he faced and how The Skoll Foundation helped him expand more than ever.
Host Jessica Harris: “In 2002 you received $1 million from The Skoll Foundation. What did you do with that money?
Bunker Roy: We said, if this can be done at Barefoot College, why don’t we promote and encourage a decentralized, demystified approach to solar like we did at the Barefoot College? So between 1990 and 2004 we actually solar electrified 600 villages in India. What did we learn from that experience? That it’s possible to promote Barefoot College outside India, and I went to Africa in 2004 with support I got from Jeff Skoll.”
Roy brought in people from other countries to study at Barefoot College. After six months, they returned home to solar electrify their villages, which he says is more cost effective than paying UN consultants where they live.
South African magazine Leadership just published an article about the growing field of social entrepreneurship and mentions both Jeff Skoll and the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship. An excerpt:
“…The name of the game now is impact investment and social entrepreneurship. ‘I realised it was great to come up with an idea, but that to commercialise it, you needed business sense. So I went to Oxford University to do an MBA, and it was the first year they were teaching social entrepreneurship there,’ says Dr Bonnici, a South African pioneer and leading expert in the field. ‘Oxford now is one of the leading institutions in the world, teaching this at their Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship. I eventually ended up spending all my time there, thinking how one can apply business models to social causes.’
…’Many of these philanthropists like Bill Gates and Jeff Skoll are also businessmen, and so they try to apply business principles in how they give their money away. They prefer to see their money go into an enterprise that becomes self-sustaining after some time, and allows them to move on and invest their money elsewhere instead of being locked into giving money to an NGO [non-governmental organisation] year after year after year.’”