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Ten Innovative Social Entrepreneurs Receive Million-Dollar Awards from the Skoll Foundation

March 14, 2007 by
 
 
 
 
 
 

PALO ALTO, Calif.—March 14, 2007—The Skoll Foundation today announced it is awarding $10,150,000 to 10 recipients of the 2007 Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship. The recipients, who will each receive three-year grants of $1,015,000, are organizations that target social issues in need of urgent attention.

This year’s Skoll entrepreneurs include a former French businessman who is building networks to prevent the abuse of street children, two longtime environmentalists whose “Ecological Footprint” enables businesses and governments to measure their role in depleting the world’s ecological assets, a community activist who helps villages in India run sustainable sanitation and clean water facilities, and a former accountant who is helping replenish the world’s collapsing fish stocks with an international seafood eco-labeling and certification program.

The Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship honor and provide support for organizations led by social entrepreneurs who have a demonstrated track record of pioneering social innovations and offering measurable objectives for increasing and expanding the impact of their work. The Skoll Awards are designed to advance lasting solutions to critical social challenges and recognize programs effecting positive change in six issue categories: tolerance and human rights, health, environmental sustainability, peace and security, institutional responsibility, and economic and social equity.

“The social entrepreneurship community received an unprecedented level of recognition recently when the Nobel Peace Prize committee honored one of our own as the person who most embodies the creation of lasting peace,” noted Sally Osberg, President and CEO of the Skoll Foundation. “Muhammad Yunus’ vision for leading millions out of poverty through access to small amounts of capital has paved the way for hundreds of other social entrepreneurs to marshal their creativity, courage and fortitude to become 21st century change agents. And we need them now more than ever.

“This year’s awardees – as in prior years – all reflect the essence of a Skoll social entrepreneur: a practical innovator who creates sustainable engines at the grassroots level, putting into place the lasting means to get housing, education, health care and other critical resources to the world’s impoverished and vulnerable billions,” said Osberg. “They offer a model for a new kind of leader who melds the discipline of business with the perspective of those less fortunate, and brings a tough-minded optimism to bear on the biggest challenges confronting our communities, our countries and the planet.”

Each year’s recipients are identified through an open competitive process that surfaces social entrepreneurs whose work has created, or has the potential to create, large-scale, transformational benefit for disadvantaged or disenfranchised populations or for society at large. The Skoll Awards will be presented by Skoll Foundation Chairman Jeff Skoll on March 28 at the fourth annual Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Oxford in England. The World Forum convenes a global community of outstanding practitioners and thought leaders in social entrepreneurship to set the future agenda for visionaries who want to transform society.

The 10 organizations receiving the 2007 Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship are: Escuela Nueva Foundation, Friends-International, Global Footprint Network, Gram Vikas, Kashf Foundation, Free The Children, Manchester Bidwell Corporation, Marine Stewardship Council, Verité and YouthBuild USA.

The 2007 Skoll Awardees

Escuela Nueva Foundation – Since its creation in 1987, the Escuela Nueva Foundation has strengthened and promoted the Escuela Nueva (New School) model in Colombia and abroad, demonstrating that with the right educational approach, any child can achieve high academic standards and permanently escape poverty. The Escuela Nueva model now reaches more than 5 million children in 14 Latin American countries, Uganda and the Philippines and the World Bank has recognized Escuela Nueva as one of the most innovative educational programs in the developing world.

Social Entrepreneur: Vicky Colbert
Headquarters: Bogota, Colombia
Grant Objective: To support the Escuela Nueva Foundation’s Smart Scaling Campaign to reach an additional 1.5 million children by 2010 through current program expansion in Latin America and Uganda and by launching new programs in India, Peru, Costa Rica and Bolivia.

Free The Children – Free The Children recognizes the potential of young people to create positive social change. It works with schools throughout North America to educate and empower youths to act locally and globally as agents of change for their peers around the world. More than 500,000 students have joined the organization’s Youth in Action groups in 1,000 schools across the U.S. and Canada. They have shipped $11 million in essential medical supplies and have provided health care projects benefiting more than 505,000 people.

Social Entrepreneurs: Craig and Marc Kielburger
Headquarters: Toronto
Grant Objective: To expand in the U.S. and establish 800 new Youth in Action groups that raise an additional $1.5 million each year.

Friends-International – Since 1994, Friends-International has been running projects worldwide for and with street children, attempting to reintegrate these children into society and providing positive alternatives to those who unwittingly or out of economic necessity enable this phenomenon, such as taxis, Internet cafes, restaurants, hotels and tourists. Each year 85,000 children benefit from programs operated by Friends-International and partner organizations in Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, Honduras, France, Switzerland, the United States and Germany.

Social Entrepreneur: Sebastien Marot
Headquarters: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Grant Objective: To build a financially sustainable global network of partners capable of helping 500,000 street children each year.

Global Footprint Network – To combat humanity’s consumption of ecological resources beyond sustainable limits, Global Footprint Network developed the Ecological Footprint, a science-based tool that graphically shows the depletion of ecological assets and helps businesses and governments track impacts and make ecologically sound decisions. The Ecological Footprint is used by Wales, Switzerland and Japan, and by hundreds of other cities, counties, businesses, intergovernmental bodies and educational institutions.

Social Entrepreneurs: Mathis Wackernagel and Susan Burns
Headquarters: Oakland, California
Grant Objective: To add 15 national and/or international government agencies using the Ecological Footprint to the partner network by 2010.

Gram Vikas – Gram Vikas (Village Development) has developed a holistic approach to rural development in India that involves entire communities, with water and sanitation as the starting point. Founder Joe Madiath believes every home must have running water and sanitation before villagers will collectively seek a better quality of life through education, job training and healthy practices. The program has been implemented in 289 villages, reaching 22,347 households and has successfully proven that the rural poor can and will pay for better sanitation and water facilities.

Social Entrepreneur: Joe Madiath
Headquarters: Orissa, Ganjam, India
Grant Objective: To bring water and sanitation to 100,000 families by 2010.

Kashf Foundation – Kashf is a microfinance institution that offers women below the poverty line in Pakistan a way out through access to financial services. Kashf began with 15 clients in 1996 and now assists 150,000 clients, with a recovery rate of 99 percent. It delivers collateral-free microloans, savings and life insurance products through branches that become sustainable within 10 months. Thirty-five percent of its clients move out of poverty within three years.

Social Entrepreneur: Roshaneh Zafar
Headquarters: Lahore, Pakistan
Grant Objective: To expand operations to 600,000 clients by 2010 in Pakistan’s Punjab and Sindh provinces.

Manchester Bidwell Corporation – Through a nationally recognized model for arts education, vocational training and community development, Manchester Bidwell Corporation (MBC) has brought higher graduation and college enrollment rates and has reduced unemployment for thousands of young people each year in impoverished urban environments across the U.S. Since 1984, MBC and its subsidiaries have operated art and recording studios, computer classrooms and industrial kitchens, among other facilities, demonstrating that an inspiring space and state-of-the-art equipment lead to more motivated and engaged students.

Social Entrepreneur: William Strickland
Headquarters: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Grant Objective: Support replication programs in six cities that will serve 1,800 additional youths by 2009.

Marine Stewardship Council – To combat declining levels of wild fish stock, Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) offers the world’s only international seafood eco-labeling and certification program, which uses market forces to support sustainable fisheries and encourage eco-friendly products. Today 500 MSC-labeled products from 22 certified fisheries are sold in 26 countries. Major companies such as Whole Foods in the U.S. and Marks and Spencer and Sainsbury in the U.K. have stocked MSC seafood, and in 2006 Wal-Mart announced that it would begin to source all its fish from MSC-certified suppliers.

Social Entrepreneur: Rupert Howes
Headquarters: London
Grant Objective: To increase market penetration in Europe, strengthen its U.S. presence, expand into the Asia/Pacific arena and certify at least eight more fisheries by 2010.

Verité – Engaging workers in a solutions-driven, participatory model, Verité partners with hundreds of multinational brands, sector leaders, factories, nongovernmental organizations, institutional investors and governments to improve social and environmental performance of global supply chains. Verité currently operates in more than 60 countries in electronics, apparel, footwear, food and beverage, and agriculture industries, among others, with a growing network of staff and partners. By bringing practical auditing, training, capability building and research solutions to stakeholders of the global workplace, Verité improves the lives of global factory workers, who often suffer from unhealthy, exploitive working conditions and typically have no leverage to effect change. The organization has improved working conditions directly and indirectly for millions of workers around the world, delivered training to thousands of factories, and improved policy and addressed labor issues providing protections for millions of workers.

Social Entrepreneur: Dan Viederman
Headquarters: Amherst, Massachusetts
Grant Objective: To strengthen partnerships in dozens of countries and train 1,500 practitioners to replicate its model by 2010, with the potential to reach hundreds of thousands more workers worldwide.

YouthBuild USA – To create a positive future for low-income young people who left high school without a diploma, YouthBuild re-enrolls them in an alternative YouthBuild school where they complete high school and build affordable homes for their neighbors, while transforming their own lives and becoming responsible citizens and good parents with well-paying jobs. Each year, YouthBuild programs engage 8,000 youths in local programs supported by the national YouthBuild USA organization in 42 states and produce affordable housing for 1,000 low-income or homeless families.

Social Entrepreneur: Dorothy Stoneman
Headquarters: Somerville, Massachusetts
Grant Objective: To build a critical mass of role models and have 500 YouthBuild students communicate their experience to audiences of millions, expand the program and fund a re-entry program for adjudicated youths in three states.

About the Skoll Foundation

Headquartered in California’s Silicon Valley, the Skoll Foundation was created by eBay’s first president, Jeff Skoll, to fulfill his vision of a world where all people, regardless of geography, background or economic status, enjoy and employ the full range of their talents and abilities. Today the Skoll Foundation benefits communities around the world by investing in, connecting and celebrating social entrepreneurs – individuals dedicated to pioneering innovations that result in lasting solutions to complex social problems.

The Skoll Foundation invests in social entrepreneurs through the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship. It connects them through Social Edge, an online community at www.socialedge.org, and via the annual Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship at the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford. It celebrates social entrepreneurs through such projects as the PBS Foundation Social Entrepreneurship Fund, which enables filmmakers, documentarians and other journalists to produce works that tell the stories of individual social entrepreneurs and promote large-scale public awareness of social entrepreneurship.

 
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