Skoll Foundation and UN Foundation Grants Fuel Partnerships between Social Entrepreneurs and UN Agencies

Oxford, U.K.

April 17, 2015


Megan Rabbitt

The Skoll Foundation and the United Nations Foundation today announced the winners of a unique set of grants—totaling US$1 Million—that will enable partnerships between social entrepreneurs and United Nations agencies, funds, and programs designed to drive impactful social innovations. This first-time grants application process encouraged Skoll Awardees to partner with UN agencies. This pairing combines the expertise of the world’s most successful social entrepreneurs with the multinational scale of UN agencies’ work.

The announcement of the Skoll Foundation / UN Foundation Scaling Social Innovation Grants was made at the Skoll World Forum, being held this week in Oxford. Three programs will receive grants that will enable the partners to scale up innovative programs to benefit people around the world:

Bringing Books to People with Print Disabilities – Benetech and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) will partner to use technology to bring written content to millions of visually impaired people in India. The partnership will support expanded production of books in accessible formats in local languages, and make accessible books available through the cloud-based Bookshare library and the International Book Exchange service of the WIPO-hosted Accessible Books Consortium (ABC).

Increasing Financial Inclusion and Social Protection for the Rural Poor – Fundación Capital will provide advisory services to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and government partners to implement models that enable the rural poor to build savings, increase incomes, and improve living standards. Fundación Capital has adapted and deployed these models with governments in 12 Latin American countries. Marking the first expansion of Fundación Capital’s work into Africa, this partnership will enable knowledge sharing between African, Latin American, and Caribbean governments.

Greening Procurement of Health Care Products —Health Care Without Harm, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the secretariat of the UN Interagency Task Team on Sustainable Procurement in the Health Sector, will collaborate to drive the procurement of sustainable health care products across the UN system, representing US$3.4 billion in annual health care purchasing. The grant will be used to develop tools to guide procurement of safer alternatives to hazardous chemical products in order to protect health care workers, patients, communities, and the environment.

Sally Osberg, President and CEO of the Skoll Foundation, said, “Helping social entrepreneurs increase the reach of their transformative innovations is central to the Skoll Foundation’s approach to driving solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. The ability of social entrepreneurs to see opportunity where others see only challenges, combined with the global reach of UN agencies, has the potential to tip the scale toward a more just, peaceful, and prosperous world.”

“Innovation and partnership are key to solving today’s biggest global challenges,” said Kathy Calvin, President and CEO of the United Nations Foundation. “The United Nations is working with innovators around the world to drive progress and improve lives. By bringing together entrepreneurs and the UN, we can scale up innovative ideas for a better world.”


About the Skoll Foundation
Jeff Skoll created the Skoll Foundation in 1999 to pursue his vision of a sustainable world of peace and prosperity. Led by CEO Sally Osberg since 2001, our mission is to drive large-scale change by investing in, connecting, and celebrating social entrepreneurs and the innovators who help them solve the world’s most pressing problems. Social entrepreneurs are society’s change agents, creators of innovations that disrupt the status quo and transform our world for the better. By identifying the people and programs already bringing positive change around the world, we empower them to extend their reach, deepen their impact, and fundamentally improve society.

About the UN Foundation
The United Nations Foundation builds public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and broadens support for the United Nations through advocacy and public outreach. Through innovative campaigns and initiatives, the Foundation connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The Foundation was created in 1998 as a U.S. public charity by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner and now is supported by global corporations, foundations, governments, and individuals. For more information go to