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Award-Winning Philanthropists Explain the Roots of Their Giving


New York Times - July 7, 2017

By Paul Sullivan

Long before Jeffrey Skoll helped Pierre Omidyar build eBay into a company that made them both billionaires, he wanted to tell stories. He said a yearlong backpacking trip to Pakistan and India after he graduated from college opened his eyes to a world he didn’t know.

Coming out of Stanford University’s business school in 1995, he was hired by Mr. Omidyar as the auction site’s first employee. He wrote the business plan the company followed, and when eBay went public in 1998 he was wealthy beyond belief. His estimated net worth is $5.6 billion, according to Wealth-X, a financial research firm.

“This is where the philanthropy part starts for me,” Mr. Skoll said in an interview. “I was tasked with finding a way to share the success of the company with the people who helped make it what it was. I decided to start a company foundation.”  Read more.

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Founded in 2004 by Jeff Skoll, Participant Media’s (www.participantmedia.com) content combines the power of a good story well told with opportunities for real world impact and awareness around the most pressing global issues of our time. As an industry content leader, Participant annually produces up to six narrative feature films, five documentary films, three episodic television series, and more than 40 hours of digital short form programming, through its digital subsidiary SoulPancake—all aimed at entertainment that inspires social awareness and engaging audiences to participate in positive social change. Participant’s content and social impact mandate speaks directly to the rise of today’s “conscious consumer,” representing over 2 billion consumers who are compelled to make impactful content a priority focus. Through its worldwide network of traditional and digital distribution, aligned with partnerships with key non-profit and NGO organizations, Participant is positioned uniquely within the industry to engage a rapidly growing audience while bringing global awareness and action to today’s most vital issues.

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