Skoll Foundation

By Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, Victoria Chang
2007 | Case No. SI67 | Length 14 pgs.

In 1999, eBay’s first president and entrepreneur Jeff Skoll founded the Skoll Foundation. When eBay went public in 1998, Skoll gained sizeable wealth overnight and decided to actively engage in philanthropy. Through his foundation, Skoll sought to fund individuals and organizations that, like promising startup companies, had well thought-out ideas that could quickly grow in scale and impact. The foundation funded “social entrepreneurs,” people who acted as social change agents, capitalized on opportunities to improve systems, invented new approaches and created sustainable solutions to social problems. The Skoll Foundation rapidly evolved its mission, organization and grantmaking, while growing its endowment significantly. One of the foundation’s primary objectives was ensuring that its support met the changing needs of its diverse grantees. In 2002, after several initial years with a broad mission of empowerment and positive change, the foundation decided to write a more focused mission statement. The Skoll Foundation based its programs and grantmaking on a new tripartite mission: advancing systemic change to benefit global communities by investing in, connecting and celebrating social entrepreneurs. As Skoll and his team looked to the future, they faced the challenge and opportunity of embracing their own entrepreneurial culture and reflecting it in how they organized and structured the foundation’s work.

Learning Objective

Creating innovative funding models, social entrepreneurship, strategic evolution based on changing context, philanthropic re-branding and mission creation.

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