Non-profit

Skoll Foundation

Website:

skoll.org/

Location:

PALO ALTO, CA

Tax ID:

11-3659133

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)-PF

Budget (2015):

Revenue: $43,445,395
Expenses: $39,781,944
Assets: $586,996,315

Founder:

Jeffrey Skoll

The Skoll Foundation was founded by billionaire philanthropist Jeffrey Skoll. [1] Mr. Skoll is also the founder of Participant, a firm that produces films such as An Inconvenient Truth, the 2006 documentary featuring former Vice President Al Gore in which Gore presents what he believes to be the inevitable consequences of climate change. [2] [3] A 2013 profile in The Guardian, a left-leaning British newspaper, said Skoll “produces blockbusters that feature political or social messages,” and that his overall mission in philanthropy and films was investing in “progressive causes” and “galvanizing world opinion” through this work. [4] The major funding priority for the Skoll Foundation is the Skoll Global Threats Fund, a subsidiary foundation that in turn donates to left-of-center policy and environmentalist-climate organizations such as the Climate Reality Project, the Energy Foundation, Media Matters for America, Mother Jones, New America, the New Venture Fund, and the League of Conservation Voters. [5] [6]

The Skoll Foundation has also donated directly to the Climate Reality Project (formerly the Alliance for Climate Protection), an organization founded and led by former Vice President Al Gore. [7] For donation years 2003 through 2016, the Skoll Foundation (either donating directly or through the Skoll Global Threats Fund) gave $33 million to benefit the Climate Reality Project, making the Mr. Gore’s project the largest recipient of Skoll Foundation donations during this era. [8] [9] The Skoll Foundation has also directly given seven-figure total donations to left-of-center recipients such as the Environmental Defense Fund ($5 million total for donations covered by the 2017 and 2018 tax returns), the Partnership Project ($4.5 million), the New Venture Fund ($3 million), and the Tides Center ($2.1 million). [10] [11]

Another major project of the Skoll Foundation is the Skoll World Form, an annual gathering of “social entrepreneurs” to collaborate with one another and mostly discuss issues involving assistance to the developing world. [12] The event features awards for exceptional service in these areas, with one example being Girls Not Brides, which works to end child marriage. [13] For donor year 2018 the Skoll Foundation reported spending more than $5.4 million for “activities related to the production of the Skoll World Forum.” [14]

Background

The Skoll Foundation is a 501(c)(3) private foundation founded by billionaire philanthropist Jeffrey Skoll. It is one of the two major vehicles for Mr. Skoll’s donations, the other being the Skoll Fund. According to tax returns filed for 2017, the two foundations have combined net assets exceeding $1.1 billion, with the Skoll Foundation holding more than $607 million of this total. Their work appears to be jointly promoted through a single website: skoll.org. [15]

Mr. Skoll is a former president of eBay, and afterward became the founder of Participant, a film production firm. [16] [17] A 2013 profile in The Guardian, a left-leaning British newspaper, said Skoll “produces blockbusters that feature political or social messages,” and that his overall mission in films and elsewhere was investing in “progressive causes” and “galvanizing world opinion” through Participant’s productions. [18] Participant creates “social impact campaigns” to promote the message featured in the movie projects, often in partnership with a like-minded left-leaning advocacy group, examples of which include the Sierra Club, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Represent.Us, and Move to Amend. [19] [20] One of Participant’s earliest and most successful left-leaning message films was An Inconvenient Truth, a 2006 documentary featuring former Vice President Al Gore in which Gore presents what he believes to be the inevitable consequences of climate change. [21]

Major Funding Priorities

The charitable foundation recordkeeping service FoundationSearch reports $197.8 million in donations given by the Skoll Foundation during donation years 2003 through 2016. Almost 72 percent of this total ($142 million) was given to six general types of recipients. [22]

Skoll Global Threats Fund

According to FoundationSearch, the Skoll Foundation gave $87.7 million to the Skoll Global Threats Fund during donation years 2003 through 2016. This total appears to be nearly (if not absolutely) 100 percent of the funding received by the Skoll Global Threats Fund during these years and is 44.3 percent of all donations made by the Skoll Foundation over the same period. The Skoll Global Threats Fund is a controlled entity of the Skoll Foundation and was by far the largest single recipient of donations from the parent entity during this era. [23] [24]

The Skoll Global Threats Fund in turn gave $10 million of this total to the Climate Reality Project (formerly the Alliance for Climate Protection), an organization founded and led by former Vice President Al Gore that promotes environmentalist approaches to reducing climate change and opposes the use of conventional energy sources including gasoline, natural gas and coal. Some of the other left-leaning climate, policy and media organizations receiving funding from the Skoll Global Threats Fund during these years included the Energy Foundation, Media Matters for America, Mother Jones, New America, the New Venture Fund, and the League of Conservation Voters. [25]  [26]

Climate Reality Project

In addition to the $10 million given to the Climate Reality Project (formerly the Alliance for Climate Protection) through the Skoll Global Threats Fund during donation years 2003 through 2016 (see above), the Skoll Foundation also gave additional support directly to the Climate Reality Project. Most of this ($20.5 million) is listed on tax forms as direct support to the Climate Reality Project. An additional $2.5 million was given to a film firm producing the Live Earth Documentary, a documentary film created as a fundraising endeavor for the Climate Reality Project. The combined total of $23 million was 11.7 percent of the Skoll Foundation’s donations during the period. [27] [28]

Universities

The Skoll Foundation gave a total of $18 million to three universities during donor years 2003 through 2016—or 9.1 percent of total donations during this era. The three recipients were the University of Oxford ($14 million), the University of Toronto ($3 million), and Princeton University ($1 million). [29]

The University of Oxford in the United Kingdom is home to the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, host of the annual Skoll World Forum. [30]

Public Broadcasting

The Skoll Foundation gave a total of $3.9 million to U.S. public broadcasting during donor years 2003 through 2016—or 2 percent of total donations during this era. The recipients were the PBS Foundation ($1.25 million), “PBS Newshour” ($500,000), PBS content provider Jumpstart Productions ($186,000), and Public Radio International ($700,000). [31]

The Carter Center

The Carter Center, the charitable foundation established by former President Jimmy Carter, received $5 million from the Skoll Foundation during donor years 2003 through 2016. This was 2.5 percent of total donations given to all causes by the Skoll Foundation during this period. [32]

Global Viral Forecasting Initiative

The Global Viral Forecasting Initiative (GVFI), according to Encyclopedia Britannica, was a “program designed to monitor the transmission of viruses from animals to humans in countries worldwide.” [33] During donor years 2003 through 2016 the Skoll Foundation gave $4.5 million to GVFI—or 2.3 percent of total donations given by the Skoll Foundation during this period. [34]

Additional Left-Leaning Donations

In addition to the Climate Reality Project and other left-leaning causes supported within the Skoll Foundation’s larger agenda items during donor years 2003 through 2016, several other left-of-center causes received comparatively smaller contributions. These include Health Care Without Harm ($1.5 million), Ceres ($775,000), and the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation ($114,000). [35]

Skoll Foundation donations covered by the 2017 and 2018 IRS reports include $17.4 million total from both years for the Skoll Global Threats Fund, $5 million total for the Environmental Defense Fund, $5 million total for the Climate Reality Project, $4.5 million total for the Partnership Project, $3 million total for the New Venture Fund, and $2.1 million total for the Tides Center. [36] [37]

Skoll World Forum

The Skoll Foundation also supports the Skoll World Form, an annual gathering of “social entrepreneurs” at the University of Oxford to collaborate with one another and mostly discuss issues involving assistance to the developing world and other social policy concerns. [38] The event features awards for exceptional service in these areas, with examples of recipients being the Khan Academy for striving “to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere” ;[39] Girls Not Brides, which works to end child marriage;[40] and the Afghan Institute of Learning, a program for improving health care and education in Afghanistan. [41]

For donor year 2018 the Skoll Foundation reported spending more than $5.4 million for “activities related to the production of the Skoll World Forum.” [42]

References

  1. Skoll Foundation. 2017 IRS Form 990; Skoll Fund. 2017 IRS Form 990. ^
  2. Rainey, James. “Jeff Skoll Aims to Fix Participant’s ‘Broken’ Parts.” Variety. March 31, 2015. Accessed January 18, 2020. https://variety.com/2015/digital/news/jeff-skoll-participant-interview-1201463011/ ^
  3. Faughnder, Ryan. “‘Green Book’ and ‘Roma’ producer Participant gets a makeover as it rides ‘conscious consumer’ wave.” Los Angeles Times. September 6, 2019. Accessed January 18, 2020. https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/business/story/2019-09-06/green-book-and-roma-producer-participant-gets-a-face-lift-amid-conscious-consumer-wave ^
  4. Braw, Elisabeth. “Ex-eBay president and activist Jeff Skoll on making movies with a message.” The Guardian. November 29, 2013. Accessed January 18, 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/ebay-jeff-skoll-movies-message-sustainability ^
  5. Skoll Foundation. 2017 IRS Form 990; Skoll Fund. 2017 IRS Form 990. ^
  6. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted January 24, 2020. ^
  7. The Climate Reality Project: Our Mission. Accessed January 24, 2020. https://www.climaterealityproject.org/our-mission ^
  8. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted January 24, 2020. ^
  9. Author: Colin. “Live Earth Is Getting A Documentary…And Plenty More Promoting.” July 3, 2007. Accessed January 24, 2020. http://www.newnownext.com/live-earth-is-getting-a-documentary-and-plenty-more-promoting/07/2007/ ^
  10. Skoll Foundation. 2017 IRS Form 990. Accessed January 24, 2020. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/113659133/02_2019_prefixes_11-13%2F113659133_201712_990PF_2019020716071472 ^
  11. Skoll Foundation. 2018 IRS Form 990. Accessed January 24, 2020. http://s12982.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2018-The-Skoll-Foundation-990PF-Public-Disclosure-Copy.pdf ^
  12. “About: Skoll World Forum.” Skoll.org. Accessed January 24, 2020. http://skoll.org/skoll-world-forum/about/ ^
  13. “Girls Not Brides.” Skoll.org. Accessed January 24, 2020. http://skoll.org/organization/girls-not-brides/ ^
  14. Skoll Foundation. 2018 IRS Form 990. Accessed January 24, 2020. http://s12982.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2018-The-Skoll-Foundation-990PF-Public-Disclosure-Copy.pdf ^
  15. Skoll Foundation. 2017 IRS Form 990; Skoll Fund. 2017 IRS Form 990. ^
  16. Rainey, James. “Jeff Skoll Aims to Fix Participant’s ‘Broken’ Parts.” Variety. March 31, 2015. Accessed January 18, 2020. https://variety.com/2015/digital/news/jeff-skoll-participant-interview-1201463011/ ^
  17. Faughnder, Ryan. “‘Green Book’ and ‘Roma’ producer Participant gets a makeover as it rides ‘conscious consumer’ wave.” Los Angeles Times. September 6, 2019. Accessed January 18, 2020. https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/business/story/2019-09-06/green-book-and-roma-producer-participant-gets-a-face-lift-amid-conscious-consumer-wave ^
  18. Braw, Elisabeth. “Ex-eBay president and activist Jeff Skoll on making movies with a message.” The Guardian. November 29, 2013. Accessed January 18, 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/ebay-jeff-skoll-movies-message-sustainability ^
  19. “How Participant Media Tries to Spark Social Change Through Film.” Chronicle of Philanthropy. January 10, 2020. Accessed January 18, 2020. https://www.philanthropy.com/article/How-Participant-Media-Tries-to/247828 ^
  20. ““99%: The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film.” Take Part: Participant Media. Accessed January 22, 2020. http://www.takepart.com/99percent/ ^
  21. Antonucci, Mike. “The Whole World in His Plans.” Stanford Magazine. March/April 2012. Accessed January 18, 2020. https://stanfordmag.org/contents/the-whole-world-in-his-plans ^
  22. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted January 24, 2020. ^
  23. Skoll Foundation. 2017 IRS Form 990; Skoll Fund. 2017 IRS Form 990. ^
  24. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted January 24, 2020. ^
  25. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted January 24, 2020. ^
  26. The Climate Reality Project: Our Mission. Accessed January 24, 2020. https://www.climaterealityproject.org/our-mission ^
  27. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted January 24, 2020. ^
  28. Author: Colin. “Live Earth Is Getting A Documentary…And Plenty More Promoting.” July 3, 2007. Accessed January 24, 2020. http://www.newnownext.com/live-earth-is-getting-a-documentary-and-plenty-more-promoting/07/2007/ ^
  29. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted January 24, 2020. ^
  30. “About: Skoll World Forum.” Skoll.org. Accessed January 24, 2020. http://skoll.org/skoll-world-forum/about/ ^
  31. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted January 24, 2020. ^
  32. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted January 24, 2020. ^
  33. Rogers, Kara. “Nathan Wolfe.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Accessed January 24, 2020. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Nathan-Wolfe#ref1025879 ^
  34. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted January 24, 2020. ^
  35. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted January 24, 2020. ^
  36. Skoll Foundation. 2017 IRS Form 990. Accessed January 24, 2020. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/113659133/02_2019_prefixes_11-13%2F113659133_201712_990PF_2019020716071472 ^
  37. Skoll Foundation. 2018 IRS Form 990. Accessed January 24, 2020. http://s12982.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2018-The-Skoll-Foundation-990PF-Public-Disclosure-Copy.pdf ^
  38. “About: Skoll World Forum.” Skoll.org. Accessed January 24, 2020. http://skoll.org/skoll-world-forum/about/ ^
  39. “Khan Academy.” Skoll.org. Accessed January 24, 2020. http://skoll.org/organization/khan-academy/ ^
  40. “Girls Not Brides.” Skoll.org. Accessed January 24, 2020. http://skoll.org/organization/girls-not-brides/ ^
  41. “Afghan Institute of Learning.” Skoll.org. Accessed January 24, 2020. http://skoll.org/organization/afghan-institute-of-learning/ ^
  42. Skoll Foundation. 2018 IRS Form 990. Accessed January 24, 2020. http://s12982.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2018-The-Skoll-Foundation-990PF-Public-Disclosure-Copy.pdf ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Donald Gips
    Chief Executive Officer
  2. Jeffrey Skoll
    Founder and Chairman
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: October 1, 2003

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2015 Dec Form PF $43,445,395 $39,781,944 $586,996,315 $19,636,610 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form PF $46,425,375 $56,016,741 $604,352,665 $23,851,892 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form PF $43,182,808 $31,762,664 $568,887,826 $5,477,477 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form PF $43,143,584 $30,099,146 $521,009,795 $5,705,387 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form PF $33,707,049 $32,358,233 $472,290,586 $12,772,772 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Skoll Foundation

    250 UNIVERSITY AVE STE 200
    PALO ALTO, CA 94301-1738