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Civic Ventures is latest recipient of Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship

Resource type: News

Civic Ventures |

Civic Ventures is an Atlantic grantee.

Skoll Foundation Invests in Leading Social Entrepreneurs

  • Foundation commits total of $14,165,000 in new funding

  • Civic Ventures is latest recipient of Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship

  • Ashoka and ShoreCap II also receive Skoll investments

PALO ALTO, Calif. Sept. 1, 2009 The Skoll Foundation announced today second round investments in fifteen social entrepreneurs in its portfolio driving large-scale impact worldwide. In addition, the Foundation 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. In aggregate, the new grants and program-related 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. The Foundation’s board has approved a package of grants for the fifteen 2006 SASE 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.”

Civic Ventures
The Foundation also named its first award recipient for its 2010 cohort, Civic Ventures. Marc Freedman founded Civic Ventures ten years ago with the goal of finding caring, committed adults to help young people growing up in poverty-as mentors, teachers and youthworkers. His belief that the vast and growing older population could serve as a critical resource for children led him to spearhead the development of Experience Corps, now a highly successful tutoring and mentoring program helping 20,000 children in 23 cities. In the years since, Freedman founded The Purpose Prize, a $100,000 award for social innovators over 60. His newest goal is to get millions of boomers to pour their life experience into “encore careers,” which combine personal meaning, continued income and social impact. This new and growing workforce for social change could solve some of society’s toughest problems from education to the environment, health care to homelessness. The Skoll grant will allow Civic Ventures to promote the encore career and make midlife transitions easier, with new continuing education programs, Encore Fellows initiatives and an online community at

The Skoll Foundation also announced a new $350,000 grant to Ashoka, a long-time partner of the Foundation and a strong proponent of social entrepreneurship as a model for change. Ashoka plays a key role identifying, strengthening the capacity, and building the community of social entrepreneurs around the globe. The new grant will help Ashoka develop a more robust knowledge sharing platform, as well as promote the organization’s work to develop standardized methods to measure impact in the field of social entrepreneurship.

ShoreCap II
Finally, the Foundation also announced a program-related investment in ShoreCap II in the form of a purchase of redeemable shares of up to $2,000,000. ShoreCap II is a $100 million fund to invest in small business banks and microfinance institutions serving those without access to capital. This follows a successful investment by the Foundation in the initial ShoreCap International fund. Focusing its efforts on sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, ShoreCap II will shift the primary investment focus from microfinance institutions to regulated small business banks. ShoreCap II will also consider other specialized non-bank financial institutions, such as leasing companies and housing finance entities. “In a resource constrained environment, we are always looking for innovative ways to leverage our financial assets. ShoreCap II presents an opportunity to fund via equity the efforts of an innovative and socially entrepreneurial intermediary to accelerate the provision of capital and other resources to underserved markets,” said Richard Fahey, chief operating officer of the Skoll Foundation. “An equity program related investment is one of the most leveraged charitable options available to achieve large-scale impact.”

About the Skoll Foundation
The Skoll Foundation was created in 1999 by eBay’s first president, Jeff Skoll, to promote his vision of a more peaceful and prosperous world. Today the Skoll Foundation drives large-scale change by investing in, connecting and celebrating social entrepreneurs and other innovators dedicated to solving the world’s most pressing problems. Social entrepreneurs are individuals dedicated to innovative, bottom-up solutions that transform unequal and unjust social, environmental and economic systems.

The Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship is the foundation’s flagship program. There are currently 60 organizations represented by 73 remarkable social entrepreneurs in the program, working individually and together across regions, countries and continents to deliver solutions to the world’s most challenging economic and social problems. The Skoll Foundation connects social entrepreneurs and other partners in the field via an online community at, and through the annual Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship. The foundation also celebrates social entrepreneurs by telling their stories through partnerships with organizations like the PBS Foundation and the Sundance Institute, with the goal of promoting large-scale public awareness of social entrepreneurship. For more information, visit

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