Participant Media Founder Jeff Skoll Launches Center for Social Impact at UCLA

The project was made possible by a $10 million gift from the entrepreneur

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UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television and Participant Media’s Jeff Skoll will the university’s new Skoll Center for Social Impact Entertainment. The Center is dedicated to promoting social change through entertainment and performing arts and was made possible by a $10 million gift from Skoll.

“I founded Participant Media in the belief that a story well-told has the power to ignite positive social change,” said Skoll in a statement to TheWrap on Wednesday. “This new center at UCLA TFT is an extension of that vision, with the goal of empowering a new generation, and elevating storytelling as a tool to create impact and empower people to connect to the social issues which can have a profound impact on our world.”

The Center’s work will focus on three pillars: global scale research, education and special initiatives, and public programming and exhibition.

“The new Skoll Center for Social Impact Entertainment at UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television builds on UCLA’s longstanding commitment to scholarship and programming that not only enlightens and inspires but also leads by addressing some of the world’s most challenging problems,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said. “This partnership between the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television and Jeff Skoll reflects a shared worldview of being impactful and expands a relationship that is already benefiting students.”

In 2013, Skoll and Participant Media also created the “Jake Eberts Fellowship for Social Impact Filmmaking,” which awards six UCLA TFT graduate students with paid positions at Participant. The fellowship is named in recognition of late filmmaker Jake Ebert, whose socially relevant films had an impact on the entertainment industry.

This is Skoll’s second endowed university program. A decade earlier, he endowed the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School.