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 on-line 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 pioneering the creation of the eBay Foundation through the allocation of pre-IPO shares, Mr. Skoll then founded the 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 on Social Entrepreneurship with the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at the Saïd Business 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. Jeff has served as Executive Producer on more than 52 films, which have collectively received a total of 7 Academy Awards® and 36 nominations. Participant’s films include, among others, 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’, Food, Inc., The Help, Contagion,The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Lincoln, No and The Square. In 2008, Participant launched its digital hubTakePart.com, a leading source of socially relevant news, opinion, entertainment and information about ways to get involved with the issues that shape our lives, and in August 2013, Participant expanded into television with the launch of its new network, Pivot, targeting the millennial audience, available to around 45 million households.
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. In 2012, Skoll was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada. Jeff’s other recent honors include the Ernest C. Arbuckle Award from Stanford University Graduate School of Business, a career tribute at the Gotham Independent Film Awards (2012), The John W. Gardner Leadership Award (2012), The Paley Center for Media’s “Salute to Excellence” (2011), James C. Morgan Global Humanitarian Award (2011), Barron’s 25 Best Givers (2010, 2009), Huffington Post’s “Ultimate Game Changer in Entertainment” among the world’s top 100 game changers (2010), Environmental Media Awards Corporate Responsibility Award (2010), the Producers Guild of America’s Visionary Award (2009), Global Green USA’s Entertainment Industry Environmental Leadership Award (2009), Business Week’s 50 Most Generous Philanthropists (2003-2007), Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People (2006), and Wired Magazine’s Rave Award (2006).