Skoll Foundation commits $14 million in new funding

Microfinance Focus, Sept. 1, 2009: The Skoll Foundation announced on Tuesday second round investments in 15 social entrepreneurs in its portfolio. The foundation has also announced the first Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship in its 2010 round, a $765,000 grant to Civic Ventures, plus investments in two key partners who promote social entrepreneurship and social innovation, Ashoka and ShoreCap II. The new grants and investments total $14,165,000.

“In the current economic environment, the demands on social change organizations have increased while resources available to them have fallen, so it is incumbent on organizations like ours to maximize the marginal value of every dollar we spend,” said Sally Osberg, president and CEO of the Skoll Foundation. “We believe the investments we’re making today will accelerate the impact of these leading global social entrepreneurs, who continue to make real progress tackling the big challenges before us, from climate change to water scarcity to public health.”

In 2006, the Skoll Foundation made its second round of investments under its flagship Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship (SASE) program. These were three-year grants designed to provide core support to help the recipients scale their impact in pursuit of large-scale social change. Over the last year, the foundation has worked closely with these 2006 recipients to determine whether, and at what level, to make additional investments. Consistent with its approach as a mezzanine funder, the foundation has looked for progress against original grant objectives, as well as the potential for significant movement toward sustainability and large scale impact over the next three years, said a press release. The foundation’s board has approved a package of grants for the 15 SASE 2006 organizations totaling $11,050,000.

“All the organizations in the class of 2006 continue to do excellent work and are addressing important issues,” said Osberg. “In our assessment process, we identified five organizations — Ceres, College Summit, Health Care Without Harm, Riders for Health, and Room to Read — which we believe are particularly well positioned to leverage Skoll funding to drive very significant impact in their issue areas over the next three years.”

© 2009, Microfinance News. All rights reserved. 2008-09

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