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, an 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 on many of the same entrepreneurial approaches she and Steve cultivated throughout their business careers. The Case Foundation is recognized for its leadership in leveraging new technologies and applying innovative approaches to increase giving; catalyze civic and business participation; and promote innovation, collaboration and leadership in the nonprofit sector.
Prior to 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 has 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 serves on the National Geographic Society Board of Trustees and on the boards of Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABC2), SnagFilms and BrainScope Company, Inc. She also serves 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 U.S. National Advisory Board to the Social Impact Investing Task Force established by the G8.
Jean and Steve joined The Giving Pledge, started by 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, and in the same year were named to Barron’s “25 Best Givers” list. In 2013, Jean was named a “Most Admired CEO” by the Washington Business Journal, which in 2011 named her Corporate Philanthropist of the Year. Jean and Steve were also honored by the National Conference on Citizenship as the 2011 Citizens of the Year. In 2014 Jean was conferred an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
When Jean isn’t spending time with her awesome team at the Case Foundation, she is preparing something tasty for the big family she loves, trying some new “out there” fitness routine (or so her kids might say), reading a new book or exploring a new corner of the planet.