The University of California, Los Angeles has announced a $10 million gift from former eBay president Jeff Skoll in support of a new center aimed at encouraging students to create socially conscious entertainment projects.
In keeping with the goals of Skoll's own production company, Participant Media, which produced the films An Inconvenient Truth and The Help, the Skoll Center for Social Impact Entertainment at the School of Theater, Film and Television will host workshops, lectures, visiting artists, and screenings of socially conscious feature films and documentaries.
The collaboration between UCLA, Skoll, and Participant Media began in 2013 when Skoll's production company created and funded the Jake Eberts Fellowship for Social Impact Filmmaking, a program designed to provide six graduate film students with paid experience at Participant. With the launch of the new center, Participant executives plan to work closely with students and faculty at UCLA to identify potential movie and television programs.
"It started to dawn on me that in order to get maximum impact across society across the world, it couldn't be just one little company doing these socially minded films," Skoll told the Los Angeles Times. "But if we could start infusing writers, actors, directors and producers with the bug for social change as part of their art, we might have a greater impact."