Jeff Skoll is a philanthropist and social entrepreneur. As Founder and Chairman of the Skoll Foundation, Participant Media and the Skoll Global Threats Fund, he is bringing life to his vision of a sustainable world of peace and prosperity.
As the first full-time employee and first President of eBay, Jeff developed the company’s inaugural business plan and led its successful initial public offering. eBay has since become the world’s largest online marketplace, connecting hundreds of millions of buyers and sellers. eBay’s transformational trading platform democratized economic opportunity throughout the world, empowering individuals to become successful online entrepreneurs.
After creating the eBay Foundation through the allocation of pre-IPO shares, Jeff founded the San Francisco-based Skoll Foundation in 1999. It quickly became the world’s largest foundation for social entrepreneurship, driving large-scale change by investing in, connecting, and celebrating social entrepreneurs and other innovators dedicated to solving the world’s most pressing problems. Its flagship program, the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship, currently supports 85 leading social entrepreneurs whose extraordinary work serves the neediest populations in over 100 countries.
The Skoll Foundation also co-produces the annual Skoll World Forum with the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at the Saïd Business Entrepreneurship School at the University of Oxford. The Skoll World Forum unites acclaimed social entrepreneurs with essential partners from the social, finance, private and public sectors. Each year, the Skoll World Forum attracts 800 distinguished delegates, including such renowned world figures as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, U.S. President Jimmy Carter, the Honorable Mary Robinson, Dr. Paul Farmer, and Nobel Laureates Al Gore, Muhammad Yunus, Jody Williams, and Dr. R.K. Pachauri.
In 2009, Skoll founded the Skoll Global Threats Fund. Its initial focus is on five global issues that, if unchecked, could bring the world to its knees: climate change, water scarcity, pandemics, nuclear proliferation and Middle East conflict.
Jeff founded Participant Media in 2004 with the belief that a story well told has the power to inspire and compel social change. Participant’s films are accompanied by social action and advocacy campaigns to engage people on the issues addressed in the films. Participant’s films include, among others, Lincoln; The Help; Good Night, and Good Luck, North Country, Syriana, An Inconvenient Truth, The Kite Runner, Charlie Wilson’s War, The Visitor, The Informant!, The Soloist, The Cove, Countdown to Zero, Waiting for ‘Superman’ and Food, Inc.
In 2008, Participant launched TakePart.com, an online Social Action Network™ that enables people to learn, inspire, connect and get involved in major issues which shape our lives.
Jeff received a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Toronto and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He has been awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Toronto and an honorary Doctor of Public Service from Santa Clara University.
Jeff is among the individuals who have signed The Giving Pledge, an initiative launched by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. Through taking The Giving Pledge, Jeff has committed to giving the majority of his wealth to the philanthropic causes and charitable organizations of his choice either during his lifetime or after his death. He describes his reasons for doing so in this statement.
Officer of the Order of Canada
James C. Morgan Global Humanitarian Award
The Tech Museum of Innovation, 2011
Barron’s Best Givers
Barrons, 2010, 2009
Corporate Responsibility Award
Environmental Media Association, 2010
Producers Guild of America, 2009
Entertainment Industry Environmental Leadership Award
Global Green USA, 2009
50 Most Generous Philanthropists
Business Week, 2003-2007
100 Most Influential People
Time Magazine, 2006
Wired Magazine, 2006