Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship

Deadline: 1 March 2012
Open to: Organizations and social entrepreneurs
Grant: A core support grant to the organization, to be paid over three years, and a non-cash award to the social entrepreneur


The Skoll Foundation presents the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship each year to a select few social entrepreneurs who are solving the world’s most pressing problems. The Skoll Award includes a core support grant to the organization, to be paid over three years, and a noncash award to the social entrepreneur presented at the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship every spring.

The application process for the 2013 Skoll Awards is open from January 4 – March 1, 2012. A preview of the application can be viewed anytime. To be considered, organizations must meet this specific Awards criteria: Winners have a tested and proven social innovation that addresses an issue of critical importance and is positioned for large-scale impact.


The selection process for the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship is competitive. Hundreds of applications are submitted for the fewer than 10 Awards given annually. Not all organizations that meet the eligibility requirements and align with the criteria will receive an Award.

Qualifying organizations will be evaluated against the following criteria:

  • Impact potential: Organization’s innovation is positioned to directly affect policy, behavior and/or infrastructure/system(s) on a large scale and can show evidence of significant impact already achieved.
  • Inflection: Organization has a proven approach that has already been implemented with success and is now ready to apply the approach on a much larger scale.
  • Innovation: Organization has an approach that fundamentally disrupts the status quo to solve social and/or environmental problems.
  • Issue: Organization works on an issue that is identified by the Skoll Foundation as one of world’s most pressing problems.
  • Skoll leverage: Organization will benefit from engaging with Skoll Foundation beyond a purely funding relationship, such as collaboration with our network of entrepreneurs or access to media opportunities.
  • Social entrepreneur: Organization is led by a visionary social entrepreneur
  • Sustainability: Organization has a clear, compelling plan for expanding impact and achieving long-term financial and operational sustainability.

Skoll Award recipients typically exhibit many of the following characteristics:

  • Led by a visionary, effective social entrepreneur serving as a spokesperson for their issue
  • Strong leadership team and board
  • Clear mission and implementation model
  • Unwavering focus on mission
  • Well-established, strong partnerships
  • Commitment to systems, including those for measurement 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. Please do not submit any additional information with your online application.

In general, Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship will not support:

  • Individuals, either through scholarships or other forms of financial support
  • 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
  • New or early-stage business plans or ideas
  • Organizations whose missions and work focus on a single municipality, province or state
  • Local offices of parent organizations or specific programs within organizations


Please read the criteria thoroughly to determine if your organization is eligible to apply for a Skoll Award. There is only one deadline for the 2013 Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship: Thursday, March 1, 2012. The application process includes the following stages:

  • Eligibility quiz: This tool is helps applicants assess their eligibility for a Skoll Award. If an organization passes the eligibility quiz, they will be given a URL to the application. Applicants cannot move forward to the online application unless they pass the eligibility quiz.
  • Online application: Organizations that pass the eligibility quiz may then complete an online application. A preview of the online application is available.
  • Full proposal invitation: Selected applicants will be contacted by a program officer and invited to submit a full proposal. We choose 10 or fewer applicants to submit full proposals each year.
  • Due diligence: This process usually includes interviews, a site visit, reference checks, follow-up questions, in-depth financial review and a discussion of grant objectives.
  • Selection of the Awardees: We anticipate making fewer than 10 Awards each year.

For further information about the application process please read the Frequently Asked Questions page.


Tel: 650 331 1031
Fax:650 331 1033
General Email: [email protected].

Please be sure to read the FAQ page before sending an email.

The Official Website

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