Jeff Skoll made his fortune as the first president of eBay. Now he’s spending it at the movies. His company, Participant Productions, makes entertaining, issues-driven films that inspire real change — Murderball, Syriana, An Inconvenient Truth … Here, he talks about the people who’ve inspired him to do good, and about some upcoming films that will open your eyes.
About Jeff Skoll
Jeff Skoll was eBay’s employee number 2 and president number 1. He left with a comfortable fortune and a desire to spend his money helping others.
The Skoll Foundation, established in 1999, invests in, connects and celebrates social entrepreneurs — offering grants to people who build businesses, schools and services for communities in need. Every year, it presents the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford, and runs Social Edge, a networking site for social entrepreneurs.
His production company, Participant Productions, is what Skoll calls a “pro-social media company,” making features and documentaries that address social and political issues and drive real change. His film North Country, for example, is credited with influencing the signing of the 2005 Violence Against Women Act. Participant’s blockbuster doc, An Inconvenient Truth, is required viewing in classrooms around the world, and has unquestionably changed the debate around climate change. Upcoming for Participant are two films about Afghanistan, and a documentary about Jimmy Carter’s controversial 2006-7 book tour.