Non-profit

Skoll Global Threats Fund

Website:

www.skollglobalthreats.org/

Location:

PALO ALTO, CA

Tax ID:

27-0198398

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)-PF

Budget (2015):

Revenue: $15,000,000
Expenses: $17,882,496
Assets: $14,425,023

The Skoll Global Threats Fund is a private grantmaking foundation and a controlled entity of the Skoll Foundation, both of which are funded by billionaire philanthropist Jeffrey Skoll.[1] 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 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 2010 through 2016 the largest single recipient of Skoll Global Threats Fund donations was the Climate Reality Project (formerly the Alliance for Climate Protection), an organization founded and led by Gore that promotes environmentalist approaches to reducing climate change and opposes the use of conventional energy sources including gasoline, coal, and natural gas. The Climate Reality Project received $10 million. There were there were nearly three dozen other left-leaning environmentalist and left-leaning policy advocacy organizations that received Skoll Global Threats Fund donations during this period, for a total of $24.8 million (including the $10 million for the Climate Reality Project), amounting to 37 percent of the Skoll Global Threats Fund’s total giving for this period.[5]  [6]

Additionally, at least 36 percent of Skoll Global Threats Fund contributions during the 2010 through 2016 donation years went to organizations that have a mission to mitigate warfare and fight infectious disease outbreaks. These areas, along with the donations to left-leaning policy organizations, comprised more than 73 percent of the grant given by the Skoll Global Threats Fund through 2016. RepublicEn, a nominally right-leaning environmental policy organization that advocates for a carbon tax on most of the energy used by Americans, also received $600,000 during this period.[7]

Background

The Skoll Global Threats Fund is a 501(c)(3) private foundation and a controlled entity of the Skoll Foundation. According to the charitable record-keeping service 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.[8] [9]

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.[10]

Skoll is a former president of eBay, and afterward became the founder of Participant, a film production firm.[11] [12] 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.[13] 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.[14] [15] 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.[16]

Major Funding Priorities

The charitable foundation recordkeeping service FoundationSearch reports $67 million in donations given by the Skoll Global Threats Fund during donation years 2010 through 2016. More than 73 percent of this total ($49 million) was given to two general types of recipients.[17]

Left-leaning Policy Advocacy

FoundationSearch records show nearly three dozen left-leaning public policy and left-leaning environmental policy organizations received donations of at least $25,000 from the Skoll Global Threats Fund during donation years 2010 through 2016. The total donations for this group put together was $24.8 million, or 37 percent of all donations for the 2010 through 2016 donation range.[18]

The largest single recipient in this category, and also the largest individual recipient of Skoll Global Threats 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 $10 million.[19] [20]

Some of the oher left-leaning recipients of major total contributions during the 2010 through 2016 donation years included the Ploughshares Fund ($3 million); the J Street Education Fund ($1.3 million); Climate Nexus through Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors ($1.2 million); the Partnership Project ($1.2 million); the Energy Foundation ($1 million); the Sustainable Markets Foundation ($780,000); the Sierra Club Foundation ($681,000); the New Venture Fund ($625,000); Sojourners ($570,000); the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund ($530,000); Media Matters for America ($400,000); the Union of Concerned Scientists ($355,000); the Brookings Institution ($350,000); the PennEnvironment Research and Policy Center, an affiliate of the Public Interest Network ($300,000); the Center for the Next Generation ($200,000); the Center for Public Interest Research ($200,000); the Alliance for Climate Education ($175,000); Grist Magazine ($150,000); the Environmental Defense Fund ($100,000); and New America $100,000).[21]

Disease Prevention and Conflict Resolution

FoundationSearch records for donation years 2010 through 2016 reveal more than three dozen organizations individually receiving at least $25,000 from the Skoll Global Threats Fund to implement programs to combat infectious diseases, provide health services to low income persons, or assist with global conflict resolution. The total donations for this group put together was at least $24.2 million—36.1 percent of all donations for the 2010 through 2016 donation range.[22]

Some examples of recipients counted within this analysis include:

  • The Center for a New American Security received a $200,000 grant in 2016 to prevent “Saudi-Iranian nuclear competition.”[23]
  • The Task Force for Global Health received more than $2.9 million in ten grants, most of which was for a program to improve the ability to detect the outbreak of infectious diseases.[24]
  • Chiang Mai University in Thailand received $2.1 million for a disease detection program. [25]
  • Children’s Hospital of Boston received more than $1.6 million in six grants, most of which was for a program to mitigate flu outbreaks.[26]
  • The International Society for Infectious Diseases received $1.3 million.[27]
  • Global Zero received $700,000 for two programs to reduce the risk of nations using nuclear weapons and to improve “de-alerting” warning systems designed to deter the launch of nuclear weapons.[28]

Right-of-Center Environmentalist Funding

FoundationSearch records show four donations totaling $600,000 given by the Skoll Global Threats Fund to the George Mason University Foundation for the Energy and Enterprise Initiative at George Mason’s Center for Climate Change Communication (C4). The Energy and Enterprise Initiative—which goes by the name “RepublicEn”—is a nominally right-leaning environmental policy organization that advocates for a carbon tax on the majority of the energy used by Americans. The founder and executive director of RepublicEn is former U.S. Congressman Bob Inglis (R-SC).[29] [30]

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 February 4, 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 February 4, 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 February 4, 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 February 4, 2020. ^
  7. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted February 4, 2020. ^
  8. Skoll Foundation. 2017 IRS Form 990; Skoll Fund. 2017 IRS Form 990. ^
  9. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted February 3, 2020. ^
  10. Skoll Foundation. 2017 IRS Form 990; Skoll Fund. 2017 IRS Form 990. ^
  11. Rainey, James. “Jeff Skoll Aims to Fix Participant’s ‘Broken’ Parts.” Variety. March 31, 2015. Accessed February 3, 2020. https://variety.com/2015/digital/news/jeff-skoll-participant-interview-1201463011/ ^
  12. Faughnder, Ryan. “‘Green Book’ and ‘Roma’ producer Participant gets a makeover as it rides ‘conscious consumer’ wave.” Los Angeles Times. September 6, 2019. Accessed February 3, 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 ^
  13. Braw, Elisabeth. “Ex-eBay president and activist Jeff Skoll on making movies with a message.” The Guardian. November 29, 2013. Accessed February 3, 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/ebay-jeff-skoll-movies-message-sustainability ^
  14. “How Participant Media Tries to Spark Social Change Through Film.” Chronicle of Philanthropy. January 10, 2020. Accessed February 3, 2020. https://www.philanthropy.com/article/How-Participant-Media-Tries-to/247828 ^
  15. ““99%: The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film.” Take Part: Participant Media. Accessed February 3, 2020. http://www.takepart.com/99percent/ ^
  16. Antonucci, Mike. “The Whole World in His Plans.” Stanford Magazine. March/April 2012. Accessed February 3, 2020. https://stanfordmag.org/contents/the-whole-world-in-his-plans ^
  17. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted February 3, 2020. ^
  18. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted February 3, 2020. ^
  19. The Climate Reality Project: Our Mission. Accessed February 3, 2020. https://www.climaterealityproject.org/our-mission ^
  20. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted February 3, 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 February 3, 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 February 3, 2020. ^
  23. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted February 3, 2020 ^
  24. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted February 3, 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 February 3, 2020. ^
  26. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted February 3, 2020. ^
  27. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted February 3, 2020. ^
  28. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted February 3, 2020. ^
  29. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted February 3, 2020. ^
  30. “Staff.” RepublicEn. Accessed February 4, 2020. https://www.republicen.org/about_us/staff ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Jeffrey Skoll
    Founder and Chairman

Donation Recipients

  1. Alliance for Climate Education (Non-profit)
  2. American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) (Non-profit)
  3. American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Foundation (Non-profit)
  4. Analyst Institute (For-profit)
  5. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (Non-profit)
  6. Citizen Engagement Lab (CEL) Education Fund (Non-profit)
  7. Center for a New American Security (Non-profit)
  8. Center for Climate Change Communication (4C) (Non-profit)
  9. Center for Public Interest Research (Non-profit)
  10. Center for the Next Generation (Non-profit)
  11. Climate Central (Non-profit)
  12. Council on Foreign Relations (Non-profit)
  13. Critical Resistance (Non-profit)
  14. Earth Day Network (Non-profit)
  15. EcoAmerica (Non-profit)
  16. Energy Foundation (Non-profit)
  17. Environment America Research and Policy Center (Non-profit)
  18. Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) (Non-profit)
  19. Foundation for National Progress (Non-profit)
  20. German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) (Non-profit)
  21. Global Zero (Non-profit)
  22. GreenLatinos (Non-profit)
  23. Grist Magazine (Non-profit)
  24. International Union for the Conservation of Nature (Non-profit)
  25. League of Conservation Voters Education Fund (LCVEF) (Non-profit)
  26. Mother Jones (Non-profit)
  27. National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) (Non-profit)
  28. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) (Non-profit)
  29. National Audubon Society (Non-profit)
  30. Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) (Non-profit)
  31. New America (New America Foundation) (Non-profit)
  32. New Israel Fund (Non-profit)
  33. New Venture Fund (NVF) (Non-profit)
  34. Ohio Environmental Council (OEC) (Non-profit)
  35. Partnership Project (Non-profit)
  36. Ploughshares Fund (Non-profit)
  37. ProPublica (Non-profit)
  38. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (Non-profit)
  39. Sierra Club Foundation (Non-profit)
  40. Sojourners (Non-profit)
  41. Solutions Project (Non-profit)
  42. Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) (Non-profit)
  43. Sustainable Markets Foundation (Non-profit)
  44. Tides Center (Non-profit)
  45. Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) (Non-profit)
  46. United Nations Foundation (Non-profit)
  47. U.S. Climate Action Network (US-CAN) (Non-profit)
  48. World Resources Institute (WRI) (Non-profit)
  See an error? Let us know!

Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: September 1, 2009

  • 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 $15,000,000 $17,882,496 $14,425,023 $3,699,830 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form PF $30,000,000 $13,682,107 $16,601,488 $3,432,299 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form PF $10,000,000 $9,991,637 $1,629,492 $4,778,196 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form PF $15,000,000 $12,464,361 $4,435,867 $7,592,933 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form PF $15,000,000 $24,174,980 $5,976,427 $11,669,133 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Skoll Global Threats Fund

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