Non-profit

Skoll Fund

Location:

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA

Tax ID:

77-0528216

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $33,056,853
Expenses: $30,008,815
Assets: $578,488,787

The Skoll Fund was founded by billionaire philanthropist Jeffrey Skoll,[1] 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 presented 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]

For donation years 2003 through 2017 the largest single recipient of Skoll Fund donations was the Climate Reality Project (formerly the Alliance for Climate Protection), an organization founded and led by Al Gore that promotes environmentalist approaches to reducing climate change and opposes the use of conventional energy sources including gasoline, natural gas and coal. The Climate Reality Project received $30 million. There were 14 other left-leaning environmentalist and policy advocacy organizations that received Skoll Fund donations during this period, for a total of $77.4 million (which includes the $30 million for the Climate Reality Project), or more than 25 percent of the Skoll Fund’s giving for this period. [5]  [6]

The third largest recipient of Skoll Fund donations during donor years 2003 through 2017 was the One Acre Fund, an organization that helps to improve the productivity of small farms in the developing world. [7] It received $18.3 million, one of 27 organizations receiving at least $600,000 from the Skoll Fund to implement poverty alleviation programs in developing nations and within the United States. The total donations for this group put together was nearly $82.8 million, or more than 27 percent of all donations for the 2003 through 2017 donation range. Poverty mitigation and improving education for children in poverty were collectively the largest areas of Skoll Fund donations during the 2003 through 2017 era. [8]

Background

The Skoll Fund is a grantmaking nonprofit created by billionaire philanthropist Jeffrey Skoll. Though the Skoll Fund is an independent entity, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation is the controlling exempt organization and runs day-to-day operations, while the Skoll Foundation (the other major vehicle for Skoll’s philanthropy) runs day-to-day program monitoring. According to tax returns filed for 2017, the two “Skoll” foundations have combined net assets exceeding $1.1 billion, with the Skoll Fund holding more than $550 million of this total. Their work is jointly promoted through a single website: skoll.org. [9]

Skoll is a former president of eBay, and afterward became the founder of Participant, a film production firm. [10] [11] 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. [12] 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. [13] [14] 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. [15]

Major Funding Priorities

The charitable foundation recordkeeping service FoundationSearch reports $301.7 million in donations given by the Skoll Fund during donation years 2003 through 2017. Almost 71 percent of this total ($212.9 million) was large total donations (i.e.: at least six figures) given to seven types of recipients. [16]

Left-Leaning Policy Advocacy

FoundationSearch records show at least 15 left-leaning public policy and left-leaning climate policy organizations received donations of at least $200,000 from the Skoll Fund during donation years 2003 through 2017. The total donations for this group put together was nearly $77.4 million, or more than 25 percent of all donations for the 2003 through 2017 donation range. [17]

The largest single recipient in this category, and also the largest individual recipient of Skoll Fund donations, was 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. The Climate Reality Project received $30 million. [18]  [19]

Other left-leaning recipients of major total contributions during the 2003 through 2017 donation years included the New Venture Fund ($21 million), Ceres ($7.4 million), the Environmental Defense Fund ($5 million), the Energy Foundation ($4 million), Health Care Without Harm ($4 million), the Global Footprint Network ($1.4 million), Let’s Breakthrough ($1.25 million), the American Council on Renewable Energy ($1 million), the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ($680,000), Ploughshares ($665,000), the Earth Island Institute ($226,000), New America ($250,000), the Tides Center ($250,000), and the Brookings Institution ($250,000). [20]

Poverty Mitigation

FoundationSearch records for donation years 2003 through 2017 reveal 27 organizations individually receiving at least $600,000 from the Skoll Fund to implement poverty alleviation programs in developing nations and within the United States. The total donations for this group put together was nearly $82.8 million, or more than 27 percent of all donations for the 2003 through 2017 donation range. [21]

In addition, there were many more organizations within this same general charitable category that received less than $600,000 in total donations during the period examined but were not counted for this analysis. [22]

Some examples of the recipients counted within this analysis include:

  • The One Acre Fund helps improve the productivity of small farms in the developing world. [23] It has received $18.3 million from the Skoll Fund, making it the third largest individual recipient of Skoll Fund donations for donation years 2003 through 2017. [24]
  • Root Capital provides credit to small agricultural entrepreneurs in developing nations. [25] It has received nearly $6.9 million from the Skoll Fund. [26]
  • Mothers2Mothers invests in improving rural health care services in Africa, with a special focus on training and deploying HIV-positive women as health care workers. [27] Mothers2Mothers has received nearly $2.9 million from the Skoll Fund. [28]
  • VisionSpring provides optometry, eyeglasses and other vision care services to low income persons in the developing world. [29] VisionSpring has received nearly $2.9 million from the Skoll Fund. [30]
  • Proximity Designs builds irrigation pumps, water storage tanks and other technologies used to improve the productivity of small farmers in Myanmar (formerly Burma). [31] The organization has received $4 million from the Skoll Fund. [32]

Education

FoundationSearch records for donation years 2003 through 2017 reveal 16 educational organizations—both within the United States and in the developing world—individually receiving at least $100,000 from the Skoll Fund. These recipients include major universities, tutorial providers, teacher training organizations and reading assistance services. Total donations for this group put together equaled $24.6 million, or 8.2 percent of all donations for the 2003 through 2017 donation range. [33]

Some examples of recipients within this category include:

  • Stanford University, Jeffrey Skoll’s alma mater; the Fund has given $6 million to various funds associated with the school from which Skoll received his MBA. [34][35]
  • Teach for America—a teacher training organization—has received almost $1.5 million from the Skoll Fund. [36]
  • Pratham provides early childhood education in India. [37] Pratham has received nearly $4.5 million from the Skoll Fund. [38]
  • Educate Girls Foundation provides education for girls in India. [39] The Skoll Fund has given at least $1.25 million to Educate Girls. [40]
  • The New Teacher Center provides enhanced training for teachers and administrators who work in low income schools within the United States. [41] The Skoll Fund has given at least $1.5 million to the New Teacher Center. [42]

Community Foundations

The Silicon Valley Community Foundation is the controlling exempt organization that runs day-to-day operations for the Skoll Fund. [43] FoundationSearch records for donation years 2003 through 2017 reveal the Silicon Valley Community Foundation has also received $10.4 million from the Skoll Fund to implement several individual grant programs. Similarly, the California Community Foundation received at least $1 million from the Skoll Fund during the same period. [44]

The $11.4 million combined total for these two community foundations represents 3.8 percent of total donations from the Skoll Fund during the 2003 through 2017 donation years. [45]

Public Broadcasting

FoundationSearch records for donation years 2003 through 2017 reveal the Skoll Foundation gave at least $8.2 million to U.S. public broadcasting—or 2.7 percent of total donations during this era. The recipients were “PBS Newshour” ($3.2 million), National Public Radio ($2.2 million), Oregon Educational and Public Broadcasting Service ($1.7 million), Public Radio International ($870,000) and public TV affiliate WGBH-Boston ($263,000). [46]

Sundance Film Festival

FoundationSearch records for donation years 2003 through 2017 reveal the Skoll Foundation gave at least $8.4 million the Sundance Institute, an organization founded by actor Robert Redford to promote independent filmmakers. Jeffrey Skoll is founder and chairman Participant, a film production firm. The donation to Sundance represents 2.8 percent of the Skoll Fund’s donations for the 2003 through 2017 period. [47] [48]

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 28, 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 28, 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 28, 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/ebay-jeff-skoll-movies-message-sustainability ^
  5. The Climate Reality Project: Our Mission. Accessed January 28, 2020. https://www.climaterealityproject.org/our-mission ^
  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 28, 2020. ^
  7. “One Acre Fund.” Skoll.org. Accessed January 28, 2020. http://skoll.org/organization/one-acre-fund/ ^
  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 28, 2020. ^
  9. Skoll Foundation. 2017 IRS Form 990; Skoll Fund. 2017 IRS Form 990. ^
  10. Rainey, James. “Jeff Skoll Aims to Fix Participant’s ‘Broken’ Parts.” Variety. March 31, 2015. Accessed January 28, 2020. https://variety.com/2015/digital/news/jeff-skoll-participant-interview-1201463011/ ^
  11. 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 28, 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 ^
  12. Braw, Elisabeth. “Ex-eBay president and activist Jeff Skoll on making movies with a message.” The Guardian. November 29, 2013. Accessed January 28, 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/ebay-jeff-skoll-movies-message-sustainability ^
  13. “How Participant Media Tries to Spark Social Change Through Film.” Chronicle of Philanthropy. January 10, 2020. Accessed January 28, 2020. https://www.philanthropy.com/article/How-Participant-Media-Tries-to/247828 ^
  14. ““99%: The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film.” Take Part: Participant Media. Accessed January 22, 2020. http://www.takepart.com/99percent/ ^
  15. Antonucci, Mike. “The Whole World in His Plans.” Stanford Magazine. March/April 2012. Accessed January 28, 2020. https://stanfordmag.org/contents/the-whole-world-in-his-plans ^
  16. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted January 28, 2020. ^
  17. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted January 28, 2020. ^
  18. The Climate Reality Project: Our Mission. Accessed January 28, 2020. https://www.climaterealityproject.org/our-mission ^
  19. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted January 28, 2020. ^
  20. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted January 28, 2020. ^
  21. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted January 28, 2020. ^
  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 28, 2020. ^
  23. “One Acre Fund.” Skoll.org. Accessed January 28, 2020. http://skoll.org/organization/one-acre-fund/ ^
  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 28, 2020. ^
  25. “Root Capital.” Skoll.org. Accessed January 28, 2020. http://skoll.org/organization/root-capital/ ^
  26. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted January 28, 2020. ^
  27. “Mothers2Mothers.” Skoll.org. Accessed January 28, 2020. http://skoll.org/organization/mothers2mothers/ ^
  28. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted January 28, 2020. ^
  29. “VisionSpring.” Skoll.org. Accessed January 28, 2020. http://skoll.org/organization/visionspring/ ^
  30. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted January 28, 2020. ^
  31. “Proximity Designs.” Skoll.org. Accessed January 28, 2020. http://skoll.org/organization/proximity-designs/ ^
  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 28, 2020. ^
  33. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted January 28, 2020. ^
  34. “Alumni: Jeffrey Skoll.” Stanford Graduate School of Business. Accessed January 28, 2020. https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/alumni/contact/alumni-association/about-alumni/jeffrey-skoll ^
  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 28, 2020. ^
  36. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted January 28, 2020. ^
  37. “Pratham.” Skoll.org. Accessed January 28, 2020. http://skoll.org/organization/pratham/ ^
  38. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted January 28, 2020. ^
  39. “Educate Girls Foundation.” Skoll.org. Accessed January 28, 2020. http://skoll.org/organization/educate-girls-foundation/ ^
  40. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted January 28, 2020. ^
  41. “New Teacher Center.” Skoll.org. Accessed January 28, 2020. http://skoll.org/organization/new-teacher-center/ ^
  42. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted January 28, 2020. ^
  43. Skoll Fund. 2017 IRS Form 990. ^
  44. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted January 28, 2020. ^
  45. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted January 28, 2020. ^
  46. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted January 28, 2020. ^
  47. Rainey, James. “Jeff Skoll Aims to Fix Participant’s ‘Broken’ Parts.” Variety. March 31, 2015. Accessed January 28, 2020. https://variety.com/2015/digital/news/jeff-skoll-participant-interview-1201463011/ ^
  48. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted January 28, 2020. ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Jeffrey Skoll
    Founder and Chairman
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: April 1, 2000

  • 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
    2017 Dec Form 990 $33,056,853 $30,008,815 $578,488,787 $27,754,611 Y $12,968,750 $0 $3,603,651 $0 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $22,285,366 $23,968,700 $518,051,802 $31,750,423 Y $7,316,564 $0 $1,766,596 $0 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $27,950,277 $72,101,326 $531,809,865 $48,472,092 Y $8,247,037 $0 $2,251,255 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $37,770,535 $37,710,008 $555,573,698 $28,790,654 Y $9,977,232 $0 $2,757,229 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $18,047,425 $28,885,381 $514,062,206 $17,352,013 Y $8,167,521 $0 $4,853,280 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $26,188,127 $31,746,607 $489,486,763 $16,037,750 Y $17,060,827 $0 $3,573,063 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $88,557,879 $24,541,293 $461,551,889 $12,914,210 Y $68,778,514 $0 $5,507,693 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Skoll Fund

    2440 W EL CAMINO REAL STE 300
    MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA 94040-1498