Inside the Case Foundation’s Impact Investing

Like many tech philanthropists, Steve and Jean Case believe that profit can be an incredible motivator, and that supporting for-profit organizations addressing some of today’s most critical challenges can reap some of the greatest returns. This is why they have recently ramped up efforts in an area they call "impact investing."

The latest recipient of the Cases’ philanthropy is The Global Social Enterprise Initiative (GSEI) at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, which recently received a $100,000 grant. This really shouldn’t come as a surprise, however, as Jean Case is currently serving as Executive in Residence at the school for 2013-14. 

The object of the grant is to explore new opportunities to grow impact investing, including the development of policy recommendations and collaborations with existing industry efforts. Both the Case Foundation and GSEI are already significant players in the field, and are working the U.S. National Advisory Board to the Social Impact Investing Task Force, which was established by the G8 last year; they hope to publish a report on their work in September, 2014.

“Georgetown, and the team at the Global Social Enterprise Initiative, have a deep understanding of the significant opportunity represented in new companies that are focused on solving some of the world’s biggest challenges,” said Jean Case. “As we look for opportunities to accelerate the growth of impact investing, GSEI is a perfect partner to help us develop a policy agenda that will help grow the space.”

The Case Foundation has been a major supporter of microphilanthropy, the use of technology to raise funds for important social causes, and encouraging volunteerism and activism. Some of the areas toward which they’ve applied their impact investing strategy involve bringing clean water to developing countries, and education in the U.S. Judging from the more than $5 million they’ve given to Playpumps International and Roundabout Water Solutions, they’re not afraid of innovation, or failure