Skoll Foundation Announces New Investments in Leading Global Innovators


- Forest Trends, Imazon and Telapak expand deforestation capabilities and expertise within Skoll portfolio

- One Acre Fund and Tostan support economic and social transformation in Africa

The Skoll Foundation announced its most recent investments in social entrepreneurs driving large scale change on critical issues around the globe. Recipients of the 2010 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship include three organizations – Forest Trends, Imazon and Telapak – working to tackle climate change through innovative efforts to preserve tropical forests in the Amazon, Indonesia and beyond.

Also receiving the Skoll Award are One Acre Fund, which provides an integrated approach to empowering rural farmers in Africa, and Tostan, which has developed an innovative method to leverage human rights as a framework for community development. As part of the award, each organization will receive a $765,000 grant. Joining Civic Ventures and Peace Dividend Trust, 2010 Skoll Award recipients announced earlier, these organizations will be honored at the Skoll World Forum taking place in Oxford, April 14-16.

"As we've grown the cadre of global social entrepreneurial leaders in the Skoll Foundation family, we're seeing increasing opportunities for cooperation and leverage among groups tackling similar challenges, " said Sally Osberg, President and CEO of the Skoll Foundation. "The addition of three organizations working on forest conservation strengthens an already strong group of environmental social entrepreneurs within the portfolio, increasing the potential for impact in this critical realm.

One Acre Fund and Tostan also bring new ideas for attacking the intransigent challenge of social and economic development in Africa, approaches that will be of great interest to social entrepreneurs and other innovators working on related problems."

Forest Trends

As a forester in Haiti and Brazil, Michael Jenkins saw the effects of extreme degradation of natural ecosystems on poor people and understood that traditional philanthropy alone was insufficient to solve the problem. At the MacArthur Foundation, he reoriented the sustainable forestry program to take a whole-systems approach that outlined the forest "value chain" and identified strategies to build financial and community sustainability within the system.

He founded Forest Trends in 1998 to highlight the market value of natural ecosystems to promote their conservation. Forest Trends is widely credited for advancing the concept and practical application of "payments for ecosystem services," an innovation that is gaining widespread momentum as a powerful conservation tool for forests and other natural ecosystems.


Adalberto (Beto) Verissimo and Carlos Souza, Jr., are recognized leaders in rainforest conservation, developing, in Imazon, the first independent deforestation monitoring system for the Brazilian Amazon. Beto co-founded Imazon in 1990, and Carlos joined shortly thereafter to head efforts in technical mapping and satellite imagery.

In 2008, the Brazilian government launched a new policy to control illegal deforestation, focusing on "hot spot" deforestation municipalities identified by Imazon. Imazon's partnership with public prosecutors' offices to monitor deforestation is facilitating enforcement of conservation law in 75 million hectares of conservation areas and indigenous lands.

One Acre Fund

After serving as a strategic consultant to Fortune 500 companies and spending time in Africa learning about the root causes of rural poverty, Andrew Youn launched One Acre Fund during his MBA studies at Northwestern Kellogg.

One Acre Fund takes an integrated value-chain approach to empowering rural farmers in Kenya and Rwanda, providing them with farming inputs, training and capacity building, and access to markets. In less than 4 years, One Acre Fund has helped triple the harvests and double the income per acre for subsistence farm families representing more than 100,000 of the world's poorest, with the goal of reaching millions more in the next 10 years in sub-Saharan Africa.


Ambrosius Ruwindrijarto (Ruwi) and Silverius Oscar Unggul (Onte) have led efforts to shift Indonesia from illegal logging to community-based logging. Ruwi co-founded Telapak in 1997, pioneering reporting on illegal logging in Indonesia's national parks to raise awareness of the issue, both internationally and domestically. In 2006, Ruwi, together with Onte, a community organization expert, transitioned Telapak's focus from raising awareness about the problem to rolling out solutions via community-based sustainable resource management.

The first organization in Southeast Asia to help achieve group forestry certification for logging cooperatives, Telapak is scaling its model nationally, with the goal of helping local communities to eventually manage millions of hectares of forest across Indonesia.


Since 1974, Molly Melching has lived in Senegal where she developed a scalable, cross-cutting model for community-led improvement and large-scale social transformation that became Tostan. Tostan implements a 3-year, non-formal education program for adults and adolescents that uses human rights as a foundation for community development, honoring community culture and knowledge systems, and paving the way for community-led social norm shifts.

Large-scale abandonment of female genital cutting has been a result of the program and a symbol of its success. Over 4,500 communities have publicly declared the end of female genital cutting and child marriage in Senegal, Guinea, Burkina Faso, The Gambia, and Somalia.

About The Skoll Foundation

The Skoll Foundation was created in 1999 by eBay's first president, Jeff Skoll, to promote his vision of a more peaceful and prosperous world. Today the Skoll Foundation drives large-scale change by investing in, connecting and celebrating social entrepreneurs and other innovators dedicated to solving the world's most pressing problems. Social entrepreneurs are individuals dedicated to innovative, bottom-up solutions that transform unequal and unjust social, environmental and economic systems.

The Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship is the foundation's flagship program. There are currently 66 organizations represented by 81 remarkable social entrepreneurs in the program, working individually and together across regions, countries and continents to deliver solutions to the world's most challenging economic and social problems. The Skoll Foundation connects social entrepreneurs and other partners in the field via an online community at and through the annual Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship.

The foundation also celebrates social entrepreneurs through partnerships with leading film and broadcast organizations such as the PBS NewsHour and the Sundance Institute, which help drive large-scale public awareness of social entrepreneurship and its potential to address the critical issues of our time.

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