The Sundance Institute and Jeff Skoll's Skoll Foundation today announced a $3m, three-year partnership dedicated to exploring film's role in advancing knowledge about social entrepreneurship.

The grant will support the launch of Stories Of Change: Social Entrepreneurship In Focus Through Documentary, a new initiative spearheaded by the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Programme.

Stories Of Change builds on earlier work between the two groups exploring the potential of combining the art of storytelling with the impact of social entrepreneurship. The new partnership will help create opportunities for leading social entrepreneurs and documentary film-makers to collaborate and to create new projects that advance approaches in both fields.

Stories Of Change is the only multi-year, multi-million dollar grant awarded by the Skoll Foundation that funds both a new network of professional exchange, and the film projects which result.

There are several facets to the initiative: it includes a year-round network connecting social entrepreneurs and film-makers centered around annual meetings at events such as the Sundance Film Festival and the Skoll World Forum in Oxford, UK. It will provide $1.2m in film project grants to enable the seeding, development and creation of new films, expand the audience of documentary films concerned with social entrepreneurship, create an online resource for social entrepreneurs and film-makers to facilitate individual and community-level networking, collaboration and exchange of information, knowledge and expertise; and it will present case studies to frame and shape how those working in social entrepreneurship and film approach creative concept development.

'The challenges we currently face as a global society demand deep understanding and inspired solutions,' said Cara Mertes, Director, Sundance Institute Documentary Film Programme. 'This partnership is based on the belief that exemplary documentary storytellers and visionary social entrepreneurs have much to share, and more to learn from each other. We hope both good film projects, as well as creative possibilities in democratic practice which inform contemporary public thought will emerge through new networks created between the two fields.'

'Sundance Institute is an internationally recognized resource for the world's storytellers, and it has taken the lead in exploring the role of documentary as an avenue for cultural expression in the 21st century,' said Sally Osberg, president and CEO of the Skoll Foundation. 'The Sundance Institute Documentary Programme supports filmmakers who share a passion with our social entrepreneurs for effecting lasting, transformative social change, and they have a unique capacity to examine and amplify that passion for a global audience.'

eBay co-founder Skoll founded the Skoll Foundation in 1999 to invest in, connect and celebrate social entrepreneurs - individuals dedicated to pioneering new solutions that result in lasting improvements to complex social problems.