Gift Follows a Doubling of Current Grants to Total $200 Million Committed to Date
PALO ALTO, California, April 24, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — This week, Jeff Skoll made a new $100 million gift to the Skoll Foundation, which it will use to fight the COVID-19 pandemic globally. This new contribution will enable the Foundation to quadruple its grantmaking in 2020 to $200 million. Nearly all new grants will address the direct- and second-order public health, economic, and social effects of the pandemic.
“In 2019, the Skoll Foundation paid out $51.8 million in grants. These new commitments have nearly quadrupled the organization’s work compared to last year,” said CEO Don Gips. “Jeff is giving us the fuel, vision, and inspiration to run both a marathon and a sprint as we do our best to make a difference where we can. It is a responsibility we feel deeply humbled to carry out.”
The Skoll Foundation will deploy the $100 million gift in two priority areas:
Epidemiological Tools Including COVID-19 Testing and Contact Tracing: COVID-19 testing is an essential part of a comprehensive strategy to get people safely back into society—particularly serological or other tests that can assess whether someone has been previously infected and has developed antibodies that render them effectively immune for some period of time. Serological testing is also expected to be an essential building block for developing a blood donation program that would enable the collection of antibodies from individuals with immunity. These antibodies could then be used as a treatment for patients actively fighting COVID-19.
Contact tracing allows for a more targeted approach to finding people who are infected, isolating them, and more quickly identifying those who have encountered an infected person. The Skoll team is immersed in the emerging research related to testing and tracing and will invest in promising entrepreneurial approaches in this space.
Respiratory Devices and Other Equipment in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Given that many patients with COVID-19 require respiratory assistance, respiratory devices such as ventilators have become some of the most sought-after medical devices in the United States. In other parts of the world, however, ventilators may not be the most effective solution, as the vast majority of patients may not seek care in formal hospital settings. In some cases, basics such as electricity will not be available. Alternative respiratory devices that meet medical needs in lower resource settings are needed immediately. The Skoll team is researching a range of emerging designs, as well as manufacturing and supply chain issues.
The Skoll Foundation has been active in funding the COVID-19 response since January. A full list of grants to-date are available here. Additionally, the Foundation is making targeted emergency funding to its grantees most in need of support, to pivot their business models and ensure safety of their teams and the people they serve. More on the Foundation’s response here.
Skoll expressed that his total commitments to COVID-19-related work may reach $500 million in 2020 across a range of initiatives. The work of his collective organizations—the Skoll Foundation, Capricorn Investment Group, and Participant — will evolve as the impacts of the pandemic are better understood over the coming months.
“I’m in a fortunate position, I believe, to help, given the scope of my various organizations across the pandemic field, the non-profit space, the media world, and the investment side,” said Skoll in a recent interview. “At this moment we need to put the virus first and be smart about how we go about getting back to ‘a new normal.’ It will be a different but new normal. It is essential that we realize that we are all in this together and tackle this as a global community.”
About the Skoll Foundation
The Skoll Foundation drives large-scale change by investing in, connecting, and celebrating social entrepreneurs and the innovators who help them solve the world’s most pressing problems. Founded by Jeff Skoll, the Foundation’s signature program is the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship. Today, the Foundation’s portfolio includes 116 organizations and 144 social entrepreneurs around the world. Learn more at skoll.org