Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship Guidelines
The Skoll Foundation’s mission is to advance systemic change to benefit communities around the world by investing in, connecting and celebrating social entrepreneurs.
“Many of the problems of our modern world, ranging from disease to drugs to crime to terrorism, derive from the inequalities between the rich and the poor … be they rich nation versus poor nation or rich community versus poor community. It is in the best interests of the well-off to help empower those who are not as well-off to improve their lives.” —Jeff Skoll
Social entrepreneurs see opportunities where others see problems and crises. They apply innovative solutions to social and environmental issues, empowering people and communities to envision and create positive change. They work in many kinds of organizations: nonprofits, social purpose ventures such as community development banks, and hybrid organizations that mix elements of nonprofit and for-profit organizations. The Skoll Foundation believes that social entrepreneurs represent a powerful force for systemic social change. Their work has the potential to reduce economic disparities, increase opportunities for the disadvantaged, promote healthy communities and increase the interpersonal and intercultural understanding that is the foundation for world peace.
The Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship support social entrepreneurs whose work has the potential for large-scale influence on critical challenges of our time: environmental sustainability, health, tolerance and human rights, institutional responsibility, social and economic equality, peace and security. These issues are at the heart of the foundation’s vision: empowering people to create a peaceful, prosperous, sustainable world. Skoll social entrepreneurs are innovators who have achieved proof of concept, are poised to replicate or scale up toward systemic social change and have a message that will resonate with those whose resources are crucial to advancing large-scale, long-term solutions. The Skoll Awards are designed for leaders who will find and contribute value in a peer network committed to continuous learning and in adding their stories to the foundation’s ongoing celebration of the power of social entrepreneurs.
Skoll Awards provide second-round, or mezzanine funding, structured as core support in the form of grants, loans or a combination of the two. Qualifying organizations will:
Be led by a social entrepreneur.
Have implemented programs that demonstrate effective approaches to critical social and environmental challenges with global implications. Organizations developing local or regional models for replication on a national or international scale should show that the place where the model is being tested is central to the issue in question. Examples: peace and security in conflict regions, biodiversity in species-rich “hot spots,” educational opportunity in inner cities, disease at the source of potential epidemics.
Demonstrate proof of concept with measurable outcomes validating their theory of change.
Have a clear, compelling plan for reaching scale, by expanding or replicating their own work, and/or inspiring and supporting others to do so.
Identify the resources and supporters that will be crucial to replicating and sustaining the work at scale: individuals as well as institutions and the messages that resonate with them.
Commit to work with peers and the Skoll Foundation to develop and communicate success stories appealing to the enlightened self-interest of the well-off and to building support for social entrepreneurs worldwide.
The awards are not intended for new or early-stage programs or initiatives. Programs submitted for consideration should have a track record of at least three years.
In addition to core support, the Skoll Foundation supports award recipients’ participation in the annual Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship and offers additional resources for organizational capacity building during the course of the grant.
Grant support may not exceed 20 percent of an organization’s operating budget in any fiscal year. Award recipients will be eligible to apply for renewed funding at the end of the three-year award period if they have demonstrated measurable progress toward goals.
Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship
To be considered for the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship, organizations must be led by a social entrepreneur, meet the criteria for qualifying organizations described in the “Overview” section and demonstrate:
A track record of attracting diverse resources and using them creatively and cost-effectively
A commitment to accountability and transparency
Legal status to receive Skoll Foundation funds. Please follow the link below that describes your organization to see specific requirements.
Nonprofit organization with U.S. 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status
Organization without U.S. 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status
In general, Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship will not support:
Individuals, either through scholarships or other forms of financial support
New or early-stage business plans or ideas
Organizations whose mission and work focus on a single city or community
Schools and school districts
Programs promoting religious doctrine, such as those principally sectarian in nature
Organizations attempting to influence policy through direct lobbying
Endowments or cash reserves
Land or site acquisition
Institutions that discriminate on the basis of race, creed, gender or sexual orientation in policy or in practice
Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship
How to Apply
Complete an online application by following this link:
The application includes basic organizational information as well as questions about the social or environmental issue addressed, the context of the work and the social entrepreneur leading the organization. Organizations that do not have a high-speed Internet connection or the required browser capability can download the application form and submit it by FAX or email. Organizations based in the United States, Europe and other countries with reliable access to the Internet should submit their applications online (you may cut and paste text from the Word document).
Application Process Timeline:
Online Applications Accepted: Continuously
Last Date to Submit Online Applications
for Consideration in November 2006:
July 18, 2006 (5 p.m. PDT)
for consideration in March 2007: September 18, 2006 (5 p.m. PDT)
Online Applications Acknowledged: Immediately
Awards Approved: November 2006; March 2007
Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship (Includes Awards Ceremony):
March 26-30, 2007
Note: Payment of awards will be processed immediately; program start dates can be scheduled four to six weeks after board approval. All awards will be presented in a single ceremony at the Skoll World Forum in March 2007, regardless of approval date.
The Award Process
Applicants will be contacted about the status of their applications within six weeks after the deadline; finalist candidates will receive instructions about further documents to submit. Skoll Foundation staff will arrange meetings, telephone interviews and/or site visits to gather additional information and carry out due diligence; these consultations will be conducted in English. Finalist organizations will have the opportunity to discuss their objectives for the grant period as well as reporting requirements and other details with Skoll Foundation staff during the review.