Canada has eighty-one billionaires, but only one who
has pledged to give it all away.
On Saturday the Globe and Mail reported that Jeffrey Skoll, past
president and first fulltime employee of eBay, signed the Giving Pledge –
a commitment to give away the majority of his money to philanthropy. In
so doing he joins an esteemed crowd that includes T. Boone Pickens, Ted
Turner, Warren Buffet, Bill and Melinda Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Jean
and Steve Case, Michael Bloomberg, George Lucas, and over 100 others.
Skoll has already dedicated over half of his wealth to social causes
and plans for 95% to be given before he is done. “There’s really only
so much that you need, or your family needs,” he said. “I don’t have
kids yet, but when I do, there’s only so much I think they should have.
They can make their path their own.”
In their story the paper reported that he embraced
social entrepreneurship in the early days “and took a novel approach to
fostering its growth by providing long-term funding and freedom to
innovate rather than annual grants tied to specific conditions.”
Said Skoll, “Me being an entrepreneur, I realized – that’s the surest
way to stifle innovation. So we decided to focus on social
entrepreneurs in the field, make long-term unconditional grants to them
and their organizations, connect them together so they could have
opportunities to meet and share and collaborate and to tell their stories … to inspire others.”
His foundation, The University of Oxford’s Skoll Center for Social
Entrepreneurship, is now the largest of its kind, supporting 74
entrepreneurial organizations in about 100 countries.
His latest venture, Participant Media, has produced a number of well
known films including academy award winners, The Help, An Inconvenient
Truth, The Cove, and Syrianna.
And he’s only just begun!