Independent Sector has announced that it will honor Jeff Skoll, founder of the Skoll Foundation, with the 2012 John W. Gardner Leadership Award at its annual conference in San Francisco, November 11-12.
Established in 1985 to honor IS founding chair John W. Gardner, the annual award recognizes individuals whose leadership in the nonprofit community has been transformative; who have mobilized and unified people, institutions, or causes that improve the lives of others; and who exemplify the leadership and ideals of the award's namesake.
Born in Montreal and raised in Toronto, Skoll earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Toronto and an MBA from Stanford University. The first full-time employee and first president of eBay, the online auction site, Skoll launched a private foundation in 1999 to pursue his vision of a sustainable world of peace and prosperity. Since its creation, the foundation has invested in ninety-one social entrepreneurs and seventy-four organizations across five continents.
To harness the power of entertainment to inform and inspire, Skoll in 2004 created Participant Media, which teams up with corporations and nonprofits to build social action campaigns tailored to each film and documentary it produces. In 2008, Participant Media expanded to include a digital division, TakePart, which aims to engage the public in global issues that are shaping our lives. More recently, Skoll created the Skoll Global Threats Fund, which is working to confront threats that imperil the health and stability of the global community.
"Jeff's vision and dedication to social impact and mobilization are apparent in everything he has accomplished," said Bernard J. Milano, chair of the 2012 John W. Gardner Leadership Award Committee and president of the KPMG Foundation. "His multifaceted approach to galvanizing people to action and bringing attention to our world's most challenging social issues should be an inspiration to us all."