How Jeff Skoll Approaches Climate Change

The philanthropy of Jeff Skoll has always been a bit mystifying to me. While his huge investment in social entrepreneurs is easy to understand and track, his more traditional grantmaking for specific issues and organizations is harder to get a handle on. 

Skoll oversees a substantial philanthropic infrastructure, which includes both the Skoll Foundation and an offshoot, the Skoll Global Threats Fund, which has an ambitious mandate to "confront global threats imperiling humanity by seeking solutions, strengthening alliances, and spurring actions needed to safeguard the future." The fund focuses on the real biggies: climate change, nuclear security, pandemics, water, and conflict in the Middle East. 

But here's the thing: Neither of these organizations has a typical grantmaking apparatus. There is literally not a single staffer with the title of "program officer," and nor is there information about grants or grants guidelines. 

Skoll has no shortage of money given a current net worth of $3.6 billion, but he hasn't done the usual thing of staffing up to pump out lots of big grants to groups tackling the issues he cares about. 

That said, grants do go out the door, and big ones, for the issues Skoll cares about, including climate change. 

This week, our environment and science editor, Tate Williams, took a close look at what Skoll is doing on climate change. He notes that a number of organizations have received large grants for their work on climate change, and that big focus of Skoll's efforts right now is improving climate advocacy through better sharing of information and learning.

See Tate's full piece on Skoll's climate funding here.