The Case Foundation, created by digital pioneers Jean and Steve Case, is a diverse and dynamic institution by design. We create programs and invest in people and organizations that embrace the Be Fearless principles and harness the best impulses of entrepreneurship, innovation, technology and collaboration to drive exponential impact. In particular, we focus on catalyzing movements and collaborating to bring forward ideas that have transformative potential and can lead us to uncover new, more impactful ways of addressing chronic social challenges. Learn more about our current work here.
We believe the world needs more fearless approaches to social change, so we take risks on new ideas and approaches, and partner across sectors with people and organizations that share our fervor to engage citizens and change the world for the better, today. We don’t limit ourselves to any one sector or issue, but instead let a set of core values drive all of our ventures.
Entrepreneurial approaches can make efforts to address social challenges faster, smarter, and more impactful. We work to use new technologies, collaborate with other risk-takers and accelerate innovative approaches to social change.
Collaborating across sectors enhances expertise and promotes solutions on which we can build. We explore a wide range of issues, industries and ideas to address chronic challenges. We share our expertise and experience openly – successes and failures alike – to accelerate collective learning and progress.
Innovation requires taking risks to discover new ideas and approaches that keep up with a rapidly changing world. We believe that trying and testing assumptions about what works, sharing the results of those tests and building a culture of courage are key to problem solving.
Working smart means acting with urgency, being open to change and embracing failure as the greatest learning moment. We insist on having fun by bringing passion and joy to our work. We remain ever humble, knowing greatness comes from the combination of many people’s efforts.
The Case Foundation team has a diverse range of backgrounds and skill sets, but we share a common passion for changing the world. We work hard to accomplish our mission – but we insist on having fun while doing it!
Jean and Steve Case created the Case Foundation in 1997 to reflect their family’s commitment to giving back. Over the years, they have used their investment capital, networks and experience in pursuit of a singular mission – to invest in people and ideas that can change the world. Check out some of the notable moments in the Foundation’s history:
- Case Foundation Founded – 1997 Special Olympics – 1998
- Power Up – 1999
Power Up - 1999
The Case Foundation helps to lead an effort to bring together high-tech companies, nonprofit organizations, and state and local governments to create PowerUP. Based in after-school settings in Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCAs, independent nonprofits, faith-based institutions, housing developments, and other community locations across the country, nearly 1,000 PowerUP computer technology centers provided underserved youth with access to a range of educational content and information. The program also linked up with local volunteer organizations to provide community service opportunities for youth and their families.
- Habitat for Humanity – 2000 City Year Comes to DC – 2000
City Year Comes to DC - 2000
Following the participation of Jean and Steve Case at the annual convention of City Year in Boston, the Case Foundation decided to help to bring a chapter of the national service organization to the District of Columbia. The foundation’s initial three-year grant helped launch City Year Washington, DC with 32 corps members. Today, the corps has grown to more than 150 members serving nearly 5000 students.Since 2000, the Case Foundation has provided more than $4 million in grants to City Year DC. In 2007, City Year DC honored Jean and Steve with a Lifetime of Idealism Award in recognition of their many contributions over the years.
- Share Our Strength – 2000
Share Our Strength - 2000
The foundation begins its relationship with Share Our Strength, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending childhood hunger in America. Over a period of seven years, the foundation provided nearly $700,000 in funding to Share Our Strength. In 2006, the Case Foundation and the Sodexo Foundation provided funding for the Partnership to End Childhood Hunger in the Nation’s Capital, an initiative led by D.C. Hunger Solutions, the Food Research and Action Center, and Share Our Strength to support the creation of a 10-year strategic plan to end childhood hunger in D.C.
- Venture Philanthropy Partners – 2000 ABC2 Founded – 2001
Venture Philanthropy Partners - 2000
With a $1 million contribution, the Case Foundation becomes a founding investor of Venture Philanthropy Partners (VPP), a philanthropic organization that invests in nonprofits serving the needs of children from low-income families in the National Capitol Region. The focus of every VPP investment is helping leaders build the strength of the organization behind their programs. In 2006, the Case Foundation renewed its commitment to VPP with a five-year, $1 million investment.
ABC2 Founded - 2001
ABC2 Founded (2001): Shortly after Steve Case’s brother, Dan, is diagnosed with brain cancer in 2001, Dan, Dan’s wife Stacey, Steve, and Jean create Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABC2). ABC2 currently focuses on increasing investment in additional areas of research, boosting the number of clinical trials, improving the level of collaboration among brain disease organizations and researchers, and otherwise inspiring new hope for a brain cancer cure. ABC2’s many accomplishments to date include awarding 95 investigator awards at 46 institutions that have led to new treatment approaches, helping bring more than 10 new treatments into clinical trials, and launching a groundbreaking multi-center program that enables patients to have their tumors fully profiled and then use that information to enable them get the most state-of-the-art treatment for their exact tumors. Jean and Steve Case both serve on the board of ABC2.
- Network for Good – 2004
Network for Good - 2004
The foundation makes its first investment in Network for Good, an organization and web portal that helps nonprofits expand their reach, connect with more people, build stronger communities, and improve their effectiveness at fulfilling their public interest missions. Network for Good was established in 2001 by a coalition of companies, nonprofits, and associations working to transform an earlier e-philanthropy initiative known as Helping.org. In 2007, the Case Foundation provided $1 million to Network for Good to help support the creation of a next-generation donation processing platform. To date, Network for Good has processed more than $1 billion in donations to nonprofit organizations.
- First Casefoundation.org Website Launch – 2005 Buxton Initiative – 2005
First Casefoundation.org Website Launch - 2005
The Case Foundation launched its first website in 2005, recognizing the potential of the platform for open, transparent communication about the organization’s programs, grantees, and lessons learned. Since the first launch, the Case Foundation team has innovated on its digital engagement strategy, leveraging its website, social media and other digital communication tools to connect, inform and activate the Foundation’s partners, the non-profit sector and the greater public.
Buxton Initiative - 2005
The foundation begins incubation of the Buxton Initiative, a nonprofit borne out of a series of interfaith dialogues implemented by Ambassador J. Douglas Holladay, a business leader, and Dr. Akbar Ahmed, a leading Muslim scholar, shortly after Sept. 11, 2001. The Buxton Initiative currently facilitates candid discussion among people of different faith traditions and life experiences to help build understanding, friendship, and trust.
- Case Foundation Moves Offices – 2006
Case Foundation Moves Offices - 2006
In 2006, the Case Foundation moved to its current office, located at 1717 Rhode Island Ave., NW, in Washington, D.C. The office space, which was designed to inspire collaboration, has been a site for hundreds of brainstorms and convenings for both the Foundation and many other nonprofits looking to take a fearless approach to tackling some of the world’s biggest challenges.
- Citizens at the Center – 2006 CF Cat joins the team – 2008
Citizens at the Center - 2006
The foundation publishes Citizens at the Center: A New Approach to Civic Engagement, a report authored by Dr. Cynthia Gibson which suggests that if people are going to get engaged and stay engaged in their communities, they must be given more chances to connect with one another and figure out how they can work together for the common good. Based on interviews with researchers and experts in service/civic engagement, politics, and marketing, the paper offers specific recommendations for giving citizens the tools they need to identify problems and develop solutions — and warns against top-down solutions that require people to “plug into” existing programs or campaigns (audio highlights of some of the interviews that informed the paper).
- Make It Your Own Awards – 2007
Make It Your Own Awards - 2007
The Foundation launches the Make It Your Own AwardsTM, an online grants program challenging people from all walks of life to discuss what matters most to them, decide what kind of community they want, and take action together. The program involved the public in nearly every aspect of decision making and design and used the latest web 2.0 tools to empower applicants to raise funds and supporters. After receiving 4,641 applications from a diverse group of individuals from across the country, a team of community-based reviewers selected the Top 100 semifinalists, who were invited to submit more detailed proposals. A panel of judges then selected the Top 20 finalists, each of whom received $10,000 grants to help turn their ideas into action. The online community then voted to determine the Final Four $25,000 grantees.
- US Palestinian Partnership – 2007 Social Citizens – 2008
US Palestinian Partnership - 2007
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice asks Jean Case to co-chair the U.S.-Palestinian Partnership (UPP), a new public-private initiative launched by President George W. Bush and U.S. business leaders to facilitate progress toward a two-state solution. Chaired by The Aspen Institute president and CEO Walter Isaacson, UPP focuses its efforts on sustainable economic development, job creation and training, and youth education and leadership development. The partnership is developing a number of quick-impact projects, such as an information communications technology venture capital fund, that will promote an engaged youth population and a sustainable Palestinian economy. UPP also encourages investment opportunities through Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s Palestine Investment Conference and the Palestinian Business and Investment Forum.
Social Citizens - 2008
The foundation publishes Social CitizensBETA, a new discussion paper about the potential impact of the Millennial Generation on the civic landscape. By encouraging feedback and discussion both online — at the Social Citizens Blog — and offline, the foundation dedicates itself to examining the impact that new technologies and strategies can have on engagement and activism by Millennials in our country and around the world. In the years that followed, the Foundation has supported a number of initiatives focused on the next generation of social changemakers – including development of the Social Citizens Ambassadors group and support of the Millennial Impact Project, which includes the annual report and convening.
- America’s Giving Challenges – 2007
America's Giving Challenges - 2007
The Case Foundation launched America’s Giving Challenge in 2007 in partnership with PARADE, Causes, Network for Good and Global Giving. America’s Giving Challenge was a first-of-its-kind national online competition that enabled passionate individuals and nonprofit organizations to easily leverage their online and offline personal networks to increase awareness, attract new donors, and encourage people to get and stay involved with causes they care about. In 2009, the Foundation launched the second America’s Giving Challenge, which incorporated learnings from, and built upon the first initiative.
Efforts by the Case Foundation and its partners over two separate Giving Challenges brought together hundreds of thousands of people, encouraged nearly 200,000 people to donate and raised nearly $4 million for thousands of causes. In addition to the dollars raised from the public, the Case Foundation and its partners awarded more than $1 million to the causes that recruited the most donors and were most successful in using online and offline strategies to mobilize support.
- Playpumps – 2005 Jean and Steve Case join the Giving Pledge – 2010
Playpumps - 2005
On a trip to South Africa, Steve and Jean Case first encounter the PlayPump® water system, a child’s merry-go-round attached to a water pump and storage tank that provides safe water to rural and peri-urban African schools and communities. The following year, the Case Foundation helped establish the nongovernmental organization PlayPumps International – U.S., and joined USAID, MCJ Foundation, and First Lady Laura Bush at the 2006 Clinton Global Initiative to announce a $16.4 million cross-sector partnership to install PlayPump systems in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2010, the Case Foundation made the difficult decision to sunset the PlayPumps International organization and turned the remainder of the PlayPumps inventory to Water for People, an organization it continues to support today.
Jean and Steve Case join the Giving Pledge - 2010
Jean and Steve Case join the Giving Pledge, an initiative created by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet, reaffirming their commitment to giving more than half of their wealth to charitable causes. From their commitment letter: “We hope the Giving Pledge will inspire many others, and we stand ready to do whatever we can to share what we learn and shine a spotlight on the extraordinary commitments millions of people make each and every day.”
- Startup America Partnership Launches – 2011
Startup America Partnership Launches - 2011
In January 2011, at the White House, the Case Foundation partnered with the Kauffman Foundation to launch the Startup America Partnership, an effort to celebrate and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship in the US. Recognizing the critical role that entrepreneurs play in driving job creation, ultimately creating healthy communities, the initiative focused on fostering the development of healthy startup ecosystems in regions throughout the country. Recognizing the need to continue the initiative beyond its original three-year commitment, the Startup America Partnership joined forces with Startup Weekend to create UP Global, an organization committed to growing entrepreneurship in the US and abroad.
- A Billion + Change Relaunches – 2011 Be Fearless Campaign Launches – 2012
A Billion + Change Relaunches - 2011
The Case Foundation’s work to expand the movement for corporations to provide skills-based pro bono to nonprofits began in 2008, when A Billion + Change was launched as a public-private partnership by the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation, which was chaired by Jean Case.
The initiative was reinvigorated in 2011 with expanded leadership under the honorary chairmanship of Senator Mark Warner, and is now housed and managed by the Points of Light Institute. A Billion + Change has a goal to inspire more than 5,000 companies to commit to providing over $5B in pro-bono service to nonprofits.
Be Fearless Campaign Launches - 2012
In honor of its 15th anniversary, the Case Foundation launched its Be Fearless campaign in 2012, based on the belief that those of us finding and funding solutions to social challenges should embrace risk, make big bets and learn from (and share) our failures. As part of the campaign, the Case Foundation released its “To Be Fearless” report outlining five key principles of a fearless approach to social change; hosted Fearless Forums for thousands of social sector leaders and practitioners; received 25,000 pledges from fearless individuals; and conducted the “Finding Fearless” campaign in partnership with Microsoft and REI to identify and award emerging changemakers. The Foundation’s efforts to evangelize the Be Fearless message continues today through the development of the Be Fearless Action guide.
- Impact investing $2 billion Commitment – 2014
Impact investing $2 billion Commitment - 2014
On June 25, 2014, the Case Foundation took part in a White House event that marked a milestone moment for the impact investing space, when a group of leading corporations, banks, foundations and individuals—including Prudential, the Omidyar Network, and Capricorn Investment Group—committed to invest more than $2 billion in new capital into companies and funds that strive to generate positive financial and social returns.
- Jean Case receives honorary degree from IUPUI – 2014
Jean Case receives honorary degree from IUPUI - 2014
In 2014, Jean Case was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from the Indiana University Lilly School of Philanthropy. In the words of the school’s founding dean, Gene Tempel, Jean was chosen for the honor as “one of the most visionary, forward-thinking leaders in philanthropy today.”