Make Big Bets and Make History
The easy road in any undertaking is to set comfortable, realistic goals. But if we're truly going to Be Fearless — and find breakthrough opportunities to change the world, we must set audacious goals.
Jean Case is an actively engaged philanthropist, investor and a pioneer in the world of interactive technologies. Her career in the private sector spanned nearly two decades before she and her husband, Steve Case, created the Case Foundation in 1997. A passionate believer in all things digital and the amazing potential of technology to change the world for the better, Jean and her team focus the efforts of the Foundation around many of the same entrepreneurial approaches she and Steve cultivated throughout their business careers. The Case Foundation is recognized for its innovative efforts to address significant social challenges, harnessing the best impulses of entrepreneurship, innovation, technology and collaboration to drive exponential impact.
Before co-founding the Case Foundation, Jean spent her career as a technology executive in the private sector. As a senior executive at America Online, Inc. (AOL), Jean directed the marketing and branding effort that launched the AOL service, directed the communications strategy for taking the company public, and helped establish AOL as a household utility. Before joining AOL, she held strategic marketing positions at GE’s Information Services Division and at The Source, the nation’s first online service.
In addition to her role as CEO of the Case Foundation, Jean is Chairman of the National Geographic Society Board of Trustees and also serves on the boards of Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABC2), the White House Historical Association and BrainScope Company, Inc. She sits on the advisory boards of the Harvard Business School Social Enterprise Initiative, the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, Georgetown University’s Beeck Center for Social Impact & Innovation, the Brain Trust Accelerator Fund, and the George W. Bush Presidential Library Center’s Women’s Initiative Policy Advisory Council.
Jean was an advisor to the U.S. National Advisory Board to the Social Impact Investing Task Force established by the G8 and served in two appointed roles leading strategic public-private efforts, including the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation, to which she was appointed as Chair by President George W. Bush, and as Co-chair of the U.S.-Palestinian Partnership.
Jean and Steve joined The Giving Pledge, started by Melinda and Bill Gates and Warren Buffett in 2010, and publicly reaffirmed their commitment to give away the majority of their wealth to fund worthy charitable causes. In recognition of their innovative work in philanthropy, Jean and Steve have received a number of accolades, including Barron’s “25 Best Givers”, the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) Citizens of the Year, and Washingtonians of the Year. Jean was also named Corporate Philanthropist of the Year by the Washington Business Journal, which also named her as a finalist for “Most Admired Nonprofit CEO” award, and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Harvard Business School Alumni Association of Washington DC. Jean was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2016. She has also received honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees from Indiana University and from George Mason University.