187: Investing in, Connecting and Celebrating Social Entrepreneurs, with Sally Osberg, Skoll Foundation
The Skoll Foundation drives large-scale change for the world’s most pressing problems. They invest in, connect and celebrate social entrepreneurs.
Sally Osberg’s reading early in life shaped her outlook. “I was reading biographies of people like Eleanor Roosevelt, and Jane Adams, and people who convinced me that you could make a pretty powerful difference in the world. And somehow that seeped into my consciousness and gave me a real sense of agency, and I could be meaningful in the scheme of trying to make the world a better place.”
Sally is the President and CEO of the Skoll Foundation. She describes what they’re looking for this way. “We look for the convergence of an innovative idea; a great innovator with the determination and wherewithal to stay at this work; and an inflection point where there is sufficient evidence that this idea works.”
Jeff Skoll founded the Skoll Foundation in 1999. Jeff was the founding president of eBay. Jeff’s vision is a more peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. In 2001, he reached out the Sally to help him create a different kind of philanthropy.
Each year, the Skoll Foundation recognizes four to six changemakers who are ready to scale their impact. They invest in these changemakers through the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship. Awardees receive a $1.25 million investment over three years. They also gain access to a global community of innovative leaders and who are solving the world’s most pressing problems.
“We’re looking for a proven track record,” Sally explains. “We’re looking for a truly pressing global problem…And then this inflection point. Is the team in place? Is the evidence in place? Is there a discipline in place? Is there a great board?”
The Skoll Foundation connects social entrepreneurs through the annual Skoll World Forum. They video, document and share the stories of these changemakers.
Sally has announced that she will be soon stepping down from her role at the Skoll Foundation. As she looks back and forward at the same time, she reflects on the world as she sees it. “The challenges have never seemed so complex and massive in scale. And yet, the upwelling of talent and interest and goodness from people… I look at young people and see this incredible determination to tackle these problems and not make a choice between doing good, making a difference and a viable career. And I believe that holds so much promise.”
Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Sally Osberg
“We partner with social entrepreneurs and celebrate the impact of their great ideas.”
“I tried to channel his DNA, which is fundamentally entrepreneurial.”
“Our mission is our strategy: Invest, Connect and Celebrate.”
“There are great solutions out there. We just have to open our aperture to find them.”
“People think of social entrepreneurs as lone rangers. They are anything but.”
“We first and foremost are trying to be a good partner to the social entrepreneurs.”
“We can help to amplify, accelerate and strengthen, how all this comes together.”
“I plan to continue working with people who want to make a difference in the world.”
“I believe the empowerment of women and girls holds major promise for the world.”
“It is not a moment for us to descend into cynicism or despair.”
“I see this aspiration in young people around social entrepreneurship.”
“That combination of expertise and humility…is a critical piece.”
“Develop some area of expertise.”
“Think about social entrepreneurship different.”
“Learn about a social entrepreneur who is making a difference on an issue that they care about.”
Social Entrepreneurship Resources:
- Skoll Foundation: http://skoll.org
- Skoll Foundation on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SkollFoundation
- Skoll Foundation on Twitter: https://twitter.com/skollfoundation
- Book: Getting Beyond Better: How Social Entrepreneurship Works: http://amzn.to/2hdyBwm