Founder & Chairman
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.
Jeff 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, has supported 91 leading social entrepreneurs from 74 organizations whose extraordinary work serves the neediest populations all over the globe.
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, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, 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 over 39 films to date, which have collectively received a total of 7 Academy Awards® and 35 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 Cove, Countdown to Zero, Waiting for “Superman”, Food, Inc., The Help, Contagion, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Lincoln and No. In 2009, Participant launched its digital hub TakePart.com, an on-line Social Action Network™ that engages people in the major issues which shape their lives. In 2012, TakePart launched a digital magazine on MSN and a YouTube network and announced the Summer 2013 launch of a new cable television network targeting the millennial audience.
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 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” (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).