Investing in change agents whose innovations disrupt the status quo, and accelerating their progress toward impact at scale

Skoll Awards For Social Entrepreneurship

The Skoll Foundation presents the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship each year to a select group of social entrepreneurs whose innovations have already had significant, proven impact on some of the world’s most pressing problems, and invests directly in the promise of even greater impact at scale. By investing in organizations when an innovation is ripe for accelerated and scaled adoption, the Skoll Awards help unleash the full global potential and reach of social entrepreneurs.

Each Awardee receives a $1.25 million, three-year core support investment to scale their work and increase their impact. They also gain leverage through their long-term participation in a global community of visionary leaders and innovators dedicated to solving the world’s most pressing problems.

We select Awardees that focus on one or more of the following issues: Environmental Sustainability, Education, Economic Opportunity, Health, Peace and Human Rights, and Sustainable Markets.


The Skoll Foundation employs a multi-year sourcing process for the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship. Our goal is to save organizations valuable time and effort, while identifying the most highly-aligned social entrepreneurs. To that end, we only accept referrals and nominations solicited from our network of partners and must reject all unsolicited nominations and referrals.
Safeena Husain accepts the 2015 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship on behalf of Educate Girls.
Global Witness accept the 2014 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship.
Ma Jun, Director of IPE becomes the first Chinese national social entrepreneur to receive the Skoll Award.
Israel, Palestine and Jordan come together as the Director's of EcoPeace Mddle East celebrate their Skoll Award.
Molly Melching, Founder and CEO of Tostan, celebrates with a traditional Senegalese dance at the 2010 Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship.
Graça Machel receives the Skoll Global Treasure Award at the 2015 Skoll World Forum.


If you have been solicited to refer and/or nominate an Awardee, please review the Skoll Award criteria closely to determine whether the organization would be eligible and likely to receive the Award.

The selection process for the Skoll Awards is extremely competitive, with fewer than 10 Awards given annually. Please note that not all organizations that meet the eligibility requirements and align with our criteria receive the Award.

Qualifying organizations will be evaluated against the following criteria:

Social Entrepreneur
The organization is led by a visionary social entrepreneur whose values are embedded in the culture of the organization.

Impact Potential
The organization’s innovation is positioned to effect large-scale policy, behavior, and/or infrastructure/systems change and shows evidence of significant impact already achieved. The organization has a sound and viable business model and a compelling plan for achieving long-term growth and sustainability.

The organization has partnerships in place to optimize its model and execute its mission on a larger scale. It is a key actor that has local, regional, national and/or other key players in its ecosystem.

The organization has an approach that fundamentally disrupts an unsustainable and unjust equilibrium to solve social and/or environmental problems.

Issue Area
The mission of the organization addresses a critical and timely issue identified as one of the world’s most pressing problems.

Skoll Leverage
The organization will benefit from engaging with the Skoll Foundation by collaborating with our network of entrepreneurs and by accessing media and fundraising opportunities as well as other leverage provided by Skoll. This requires that the organization actively participates and engages with the Skoll community of social entrepreneurs and thought leaders.

Skoll Award recipients typically exhibit many of the following characteristics:

  • Led by a visionary, effective social entrepreneur serving as a spokesperson for their issue area
  • Strong leadership team and board
  • Clear and unwavering focus on mission
  • Sound business model, scalable for greater, systems-level impact
  • Strong, strategic partnerships
  • Commitment to measurement, evaluation, and learning
  • Diversified and mission-aligned funding sources


To receive a Skoll Award, an organization must be a legally-incorporated entity. Organizations that do not have 501(c)(3) public charity status, including organizations based in other countries, will be asked to submit additional documentation at the appropriate time.


The Skoll Awards cannot support:

  • Individuals, either through scholarships or other forms of financial support
  • New or early-stage business plans or ideas
  • Programs promoting religious or ideological doctrine, such as those principally sectarian in nature
  • Lobbying (beyond that allowed by law for charitable organizations)
  • Film financing
  • Endowments, cash reserves, or deficit reductions
  • Government agencies
  • University-based projects
  • Public schools and school districts
  • Land, site acquisition, or facilities construction
  • Institutions that discriminate on the basis of race, creed, age, gender, or sexual orientation in policy or practice
  • Grantmaking to other organizations or individuals
  • Event sponsorship
  • Political campaigns
  • Organizations whose missions and work focus on a single municipality, province or state
  • Local offices of parent organizations or specific programs within organizations

Skoll Awards Faq