A Chat With Lauren Moore, eBay Foundation's Executive Director
By: Lauren Moore
What is The Opportunity Project?
It’s a new eBay Foundation program that is a natural extension of our belief in creating opportunity and making a difference in the world. It’s an opportunity to bring together our Foundation resources, our business expertise, and the passion of our people to create positive impact in communities where it’s most needed. Our business does these things already, and The Opportunity Project just extends that even further. We’re interested in helping people who are ready to participate in the economy, but are experiencing some barrier that prevents them from doing so.
At eBay, we have so much experience in creating economic opportunities. The Opportunity Project lets us share our expertise even further.
How does The Opportunity Project differ from eBay Foundation?
The Opportunity Project is a program of eBay Foundation. The Foundation was created to provide social and economic well being in our communities. The Foundation currently has two main areas of focus: supporting our employees in providing grants and doing volunteer work in their local communities, and our new strategic program called The Opportunity Project. The Opportunity Project will support and help scale organizations that are creating economic opportunities and generating employment for people who otherwise face barriers to participating fully in the global economy.
You launched the project in a partnership with Ashoka’s Changemakers, which fosters change in communities through collaborative efforts. What has come of that partnership?
We partnered with Ashoka’s Changemakers team because their specialty is hosting online, global, social innovation competitions. The Changemakers.com website is one of the world’s most robust spaces for launching, discussing, and funding ideas to solve the world’s most pressing social problems. Changemakers, through their network, has the ability to do feasibility work, help us track issues and themes, and identify organizations that will be great partners for our work.
What is eBay’s investment in The Opportunity Project?
The Opportunity Project is an enterprise wide initiative that is being launched with a competition with Changemakers. The competition will pay out $250,000 – $50,000 each to the five winners. But these are just the first steps for us. We anticipate that some of the winners in the competition will become long-term partners. We are also looking for partners outside of the competition for additional investments. During our first year, we anticipate dedicating $1 – $2 million in Foundation resources to organizations doing great work.
How are employees currently responding to the project, and what do you expect to see from them over time?
What’s interesting is that we already have an employee population committed to community efforts and volunteer work. What’s different about this program is we’re asking them to provide their skills and expertise to help support and scale organizations we partnering with. As we’ve reached out, it’s been amazing to see how many emails we’ve gotten from employees saying they’d really like to get involved. We’ve gotten great responses from employees all over the world.
Can you tell us about your own background and how you feel about The Opportunity Project personally?
I’ve been at eBay for two years now, and what I find exciting about the company is that we already have the culture and values in place, with great people and businesses doing some pretty amazing things. To be able to work with our Foundation team to create a new strategic initiative that supports communities but also showcases what the company is all about, is such a great opportunity. I really enjoyed the process of designing a program that will hopefully do great work and make our employees proud to participate.
I think The Opportunity Project helps highlight what makes eBay special. In many ways, we don’t know yet what great things the project will be able to do, but for me, to work on an effort like this with a great team and an inspiring group of employees is a true privilege.