Global Philanthropy Forum 2007: Plenary 5

Uploaded by Google on 16.07.2007


FEMALE SPEAKER: Good afternoon.

Good afternoon.
I'm going to ask you to give us your attention for a
minute, or else I'm going to ask Charly Kleissner to start
clicking his glass.
Can you click it?
First of all, I just wanted to thank you so much for being
here, and ask you to join me in thanking the Google
catering team and waitstaff.

And also, last night you all got gifts from Pangea.
And Pangea is a project of the International Finance
Corporation that invests in social enterprises throughout
the developing world.
I know the gift on my chair came from Cambodia.
It ended up being a necktie that Larry Page actually wore
for about 10 minutes, the longest time that Larry Page
has ever been clocked in as wearing a necktie
as far as we know.
I also just want you to know that the arts and crafts
center in Armenia, thanks to Suzy Antounian, provided the
beautiful centerpieces that the flowers
are in on your tables.
So I thought you would enjoy those as well.
Now, we want to know how we're doing.
So we want your feedback throughout.
And there are two ways to provide feedback for us.
One is the quick feedback.
Right on your tables are little sheets of paper where
you can give us quick ideas, quick reactions.
Give them to a member of the Global Philanthropy Forum
team, or else put them in one of the boxes that are
distributed around.
This kind of feedback helps us make mid course corrections.
It guides us on the spot, but it also provides us
opportunities and ideas for next year.
The other opportunity for feedback is that in the back
of your programs you will find questionnaires, surveys.
One of the wonderful things about Global Philanthropy
Forum members is they fill in their
questionnaires and their surveys.
And the reason they do that, and we urge you to meet last
year's extraordinary returns, in fact, try to beat last year
in the number of surveys back, is that the answers you
provide us guide next year's program.
They go to use, and we really welcome that kind of help.
Now, to thank you for providing us that feedback we
have a special treat for you this afternoon.
And that is that, after Plenary 7, you're going to
hear the music of my favorite voice, Angelique Kidjo.
And what we're going to do is ask you to stay seated after
Plenary 7 while we set up the drums, et cetera, for
Angelique's performance.
You can stand, but we're asking you
to stay in the room.
And the reason for that is that outside chaos will reign,
because we'll be in the process of setting up for the
Meet the Social Entrepreneurs segment which you're all going
to enjoy this evening.
So we'll ask you to stay in the room after Plenary 7.
And also, of course, then to enjoy the Meet the Social
Entrepreneurs segment.
So I'm going to ask Steve and Jean Case to come up on stage
and join me.
These are two entrepreneurs from a private sector who
decided to be entrepreneurs in philanthropy as well.
Join me in welcoming them.

Now Jean started by saying, now feel free to ask Steve the
first question.
I have no intention of doing so.
I'm going to show gender bias, just absolutely without shame,
and ask you, what are the qualities, Jean, that you
found, as an entrepreneur, useful in applying to the task
of philanthropy and social change in this manner?
Well first of all thank you, Jane, for having us.
It's a real wonderful opportunity to be here with
all of you.
That's a question we could probably throw out into the
audience and have answered too, but I'll try to do the
best job I can.
We have many great entrepreneurs in the audience,
and certainly that's been our background as well.
I think some of the key qualities that we see from
entrepreneurs are passion, are conviction, a sense of urgency
in what they're trying to take forward, focus on action, and
they're usually very results oriented.
And when you think about the things we're talking about at
this conference, all of those things can be used in more
supply, I think, in addressing the key social
issues of our day.
FEMALE SPEAKER: And Steve, when you were both at AOL did
you approach AOL as a mission driven organization?
STEVE CASE: Absolutely.
For AOL, we got started in 1985, but I first got
interested in interactive service in the late seventies.
So I always believed, even though by the time we got
started people thought I was a little crazy, they didn't
imagine the success of the Google's and the other
companies today.
Most people did not have personal computers, and the
few people that did have personal computers do not have
modems. And most of the personal computer companies
didn't believe it made sense to put a modem in a computer
because what would you do with it?
Real people have no interest in this wacky, hobbyist
computer stuff.
It was certainly rebuilding a business.
We someday hope to be successful and valuable.
But it was much more driven by a passion about the
possibilities of this new interactive frontier, and the
idea that if we got enough people online it would lower
the barriers to entry.
You didn't have to own a printing press to be a
publisher, you didn't have to own a satellite to be a
Everybody could participate.
So it was always a very mission driven, passion driven
idea that happened to be wrapped in a for profit
And one of the things we've learned over the past a
decade, trying different things, is there is a lot of
commonality between those concepts.
Sometimes the things you're pursuing may make sense to do
through a more grant centric, philanthropic prism.
Sometimes it may make sense to do it through a more for
profit, venture backed kind of prism.
And often there's a mix, something in the middle.
It really depends on the idea you're persuing, and it
depends on your interest and expertise.
But underlying all of them is the idea that there's some
passion, some mission that really is
driving this forward.
FEMALE SPEAKER: And that's very much the theme of this
conference, is the range from grants to mission investing.
Back to just the entrepreneurial skills, Jean.
One of the things an entrepreneur has to have is a
willingness to take huge risks, and to fail, and to
pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and try again.
Is that true in philanthropy too?
JEAN CASE: I definitely think it's true.
And philanthropy, and particularly the nonprofit
world, as we've heard time and time again at this conference,
doesn't have the traditional capital structures that are
needed to really drive great opportunities forward.
And we do see almost a different view of risk in the
philanthropic world.
Traditionally there's been an unwillingness
to take great risk.
But we are seeing some real seeds planted and blossoming
now in some of the early investments, particularly for
social entrepreneurs.
We heard about a bunch of them in some earlier
sessions this morning.
But the bottom line is, I think you're not
too different people.
When you're in business you're the same person you are, I
think, when you're trying to conduct your philanthropy.
And it's, I think, important to bring the same
principles to that.
And it's not necessary to have a different expectation or
avoidance of risk than you might have in the business
that made you successful and gave you the resources to go
forward in philanthropy.
FEMALE SPEAKER: There's been a big emphasis, of course of
late, on measuring results and showing results,
measuring the return.
I'm wondering, is there a balance?
Is there time sometimes when we become so focused on
demonstrating results that we're unwilling to take that
leap, make that risk?
Do we fall into the trap of doing only that which is
clearly measurable sometimes?
STEVE CASE: Yeah, but this is true in the
business world, too.
There are some parallels here, some of them good, maybe some
not so good.
I'd say the business world, right now, one of the concerns
many have, and I share, is that it's
too short term oriented.
There's such a quarterly results metric oriented focus
that it's more difficult for companies, particularly when
they're public, to be able to make longer term investments,
which is why there's been such a shift towards more private
equity and you make investments more in the
context of a private company.
So some of the critiques of some of the not for profit
enterprises, they're not metric enough driven, I think
that's true.
But you could also apply that critique of many companies
that are too metric driven, particularly when the metrics
are inevitably about short term financial results.
So I think in both cases it's a matter of balance, making
the right kind of investment so you're
here showing progress.
I think one of the things that is helpful to have clear
metrics that people can hold you accountable for, and
capital chases, good ideas, backed by good people who are
showing good results.
And it's harder to see that kind of result, often in the
not for profit sector, because the measurements and the
metrics aren't as clear.
At the same time, it's not simply taking the easy route
to short term performance and potentially ceding some of the
longer term possibilities.
So I think there's lessons to be learned on both sides.
JEAN CASE: I think I'd add to that.
Some of it is impacting and measurement, no question, and
I think all would agree more of that is
needed in the space.
But some of it is really just an issue of focus, or what we
might call mission creed.
If you don't have clear focus around what you're there to
do, or that focus starts to blur or gets bigger and bigger
and bigger to where you're really out of line with what
you started out to do, chances are you're not going to have
the impact that you started with.
And we do see that as a critical issue.
An often the thing that concerns donors, and
rightfully so, or concerns investors.
So I think some of it is measuring impact, but a lot of
it really is just about maintaining
a very clear focus.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Which in the foundation that you run, the
Case Foundation, provides it's grantees much more than money.
Do you help with business plans?
Do you help develop the metrics?
Tell us what more it provides to grantees.
And it's tied, a little bit, to your question on metrics.
Metrics can be about a lot of different things.
As long as you have the focus so you know what you're
looking for in the investment you're making, that's the key.
And because we spend a lot of our investment of time and
money at the foundation trying to help organizations scale,
sustain themselves, build new business models that can be
productive for them in the long term, the measurements
we're looking for are not necessarily end user
measurements, if you will, or end impact measurements.
They're really more about, did we help strengthen that
organization, or did we leave that organization in a
stronger place to go forward than when we
first came into it?
But no question, a big part of what we've decided where we
can play a role and was a need, where we felt there was
a comfortable slot for us to fit into, was to take the same
talents, the same skills, and the same resources that worked
for us in the business world and see if we might make them
available to the nonprofit sector, as well as to social
And so that's where we spend a lot of our time and effort.
FEMALE SPEAKER: One of the things we learned last night
was that Larry Page devotes any long vacations that he has
to go into the developing world to learning more about
the kinds of problems he hopes to solve.
Have each of you ended up spending a lot more time in
the developing world than you might have done a decade ago?
JEAN CASE: That's right.
So our foundation is 10 years old, and for about the first 5
years we largely did things on the domestic front.
But we knew that we would ultimately go into the
international markets, or into the developing world.
But just like we did at AOL, we felt like we had to cut our
teeth domestically doing this work before we could go out to
the broader, and somewhat harder and more confusing,
world of the developing world.
So we started to get into this work about five years ago.
We've participated in some things in the Middle East and
in Africa, particularly.
Our largest initiative today is the Clean Water
Initiative in Africa.
It really has what we call the tenets of what we like and
where we think we can uniquely play a role, and that is that
our foundation, as I said, has always been focused on
leadership, collaboration, and entrepreneurship.
And in this Clean Water Initiative we have, we
discovered it in South Africa.
It won the World Bank's program in 2000 on innovation.
It beat out 1,500 other contestants.
So it had been in our sights for awhile.
We went and looked at it in the field a few years ago in
South Africa and there were 700 of these
interventions at the time.
And it's a child's merry-go-round--

Well, I'll explain what it is.
It's a child's merry-go-round.
And the way it works--
Tell me when you--
I'll keep going.

Basically, the idea is to put a merry-go-round on top of a
borehole, and when the kids go out and play and they spin the
merry-go-round it pumps water.
They then store that water in a little tank.
They then sell little ads, billboard ads, around the
tank, which provides a recurring revenue stream, and
also a reason to go back to that village periodically to
change the ads.
But also to make sure that the water system is working.
So it seemed like a great idea that had been working out for
a decade in South Africa.
And we said, well how do we take this
to scale more broadly?
And our goal now is to get this to 10 million people in
2,500 villages by 2010.
We think that plan, given the track record of the past
decade, is doable.
And the core business model, going back to your point of
metrics, is because they had a track record here, it's pretty
clear what it cost to install a pump and pretty clear how
many people, on average, would be served by it.
So this initiative that we're leading is basically a $60
million effort that will get water to 10
million people in 3 years.
$6.00 per person for water seems like a pretty good
return on investment when, if you go to your mini bar in
your hotel tonight, you'll probably pay
$6.00 for bottled water.
But it was a proven idea that we thought was very creative
in terms of how it was leveraging simple
In this case, a merry-go-round, essentially,
is a windmill on its side.
It's only if you spin it around you
can generate energy.
In this case it can pump water.
And it's [INAUDIBLE]
the kids.
And often it's the girls, go walk two miles and don't go to
school because we need some water.
Now you can tell them to go outside and play.
We need more water, we need you to play some more.
It seems like a lot better way to do it.
But marrying that with the storage idea and the billboard
idea we thought was terrific.
So it was a perfect example of something that we felt put
more capital, but also assembled a team of people in
terms of some of the expertise and got other people
interested in joining us in this effort.
We can take that idea to scale and we're pleased
to be part of it.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Now this, Jean, now that you have a hand
held mike and we know that you can project, this is a public
private partnership.
Tell us something about your views of
partnerships as an approach.
And also, what are the complexities, or how do you
deal with the power and balances, et cetera?
What are the complexities associated with helping to
forge such a partnership?
Well I think it seems pretty obvious that if we're going to
solve the great social challenges of our day it's
going to take all of us pulling together.
And I think, traditionally, sectors have looked at
problems from within their sector lens.
So certainly we did this in business, more so.
If you're sitting in a business you think, well what
can business bring to this, or even, what can my company
bring to this?
If you're sitting in the nonprofit sector you looking
at the world from that lens.
And if you're in government you're thinking the same way.
But what we believe strongly is that these cross sector
opportunities exist in a really big way for everyone to
have an appropriate role.
So in Clean Water Initiative, for instance, as many of you
know, the administration has an historic commitment to
Africa for HIV AIDS, a large investment for about 13
countries in Africa.
When we were there we witnessed not only children,
young girls, who weren't able to go to school because they
had to wait to go retrieve the water before they were allowed
to go to school.
We went to HIV clinics and saw very clearly that we'd
invested in HIV therapies, but the water people were using to
drink those therapies with was dirty water
and was killing them.
And that doesn't really seem too smart, does it?
So we came back and we had conversations.
And similarly, our government built schools in Africa.
But when they build the schools they leave it up to
the governments to provide the water supply, and the water
simply isn't there.
So the foodstuffs that are there at the school can't be
made because there's no water to prepare the food.
So there were several examples of where the government was
making, in many cases, historic investments in the
very areas we all care about, but there was something
missing, some sort of plug in roll, if you will, that didn't
allow it to be fully leveraged.
So we came back with this commitment to go forward with
the Clean Water Initiative, the first thing we did was sat
with the US government and said, so
we love what's happening.
We're very excited by what's happening with the US
government investments.
And we'd like a private sector initiative to ride alongside,
to really drive that, and fully leverage it and reach
more people.
And now we have partnerships with other nonprofit
organizations throughout Africa who are doing similar
things at our same site.
So investing in sanitation, hand washing training, et
cetera, things that you provide almost a hub and spoke
opportunity, if you will.
But it's an opportunity for the private sector, for the
nonprofit sector, and the government to play a roll.
And we think these cross sector ways of looking at
things are where the really big
opportunities will come from.
FEMALE SPEAKER: What's interesting about Play Pumps
as an example is that the idea came from Africa.
It was Africa lead.
How important is that?
JEAN CASE: That's critical.
And Jane, thank you for reminding me of that.
Because it's a technology that was invented
in Africa for Africans.
And the manufacturing and distribution
takes place in Africa.
So really what the private sector in the US is doing is
really coming along as a champion and helping to really
drive it forward by bringing additional resources.
But this was invented in Africa for Africans, so it's
not something we're throwing over to that continent and
saying, isn't this great?
It's something Africans determined they needed and
wanted, and we're just helping them take it further.
STEVE CASE: It also highlights, and we see some of
this with some of the people attending this, the importance
of building bridges between these worlds.
One of the founders of Play Pumps used in
the advertising business.
So he said, billboards.
I'm not sure most of us, necessarily, would have said,
well let's build this water system and create a storage
tank and let's put billboards on.
We'll sell ads on water tank.
But he had that perspective, and for us that was one of the
breakthrough aspects of it because it did provide a
recurring revenue stream, as I said earlier, reason come back
to make sure the system's working, which is often a
problem with these products.
They're installed and then, for whatever reason, a few
years later they're working.
But nobody's back there to check on it.
FEMALE SPEAKER: We were talking earlier, over lunch,
about connecting the customer to the possibility of
philanthropy, the customer to the
opportunity for social change.
Say a word about that as a general matter, the kinds of
changes that you're seeing out there with Project Red, even
with American Idol.
STEVE CASE: Well, we're delighted to see more
mainstream applications hitting people when they turn
on the television or when they're shopping in a store,
because, again, blurring the lines between these worlds, we
think, is one of the real opportunities.
So we salute the folks at American Idol who are now
making, as part of the show, the top rated show in the
country every week, talking a little bit about American Idol
giving back.
And I think, in a couple weeks now, having the show that
dedicated that, raising money, partly from the corporate
sector, but also encouraging people to give.
And just as importantly, shining a spotlight on some of
those issues.
The people who are sitting there trying to decide do they
vote for Laquisha or Sanjaya, or what have you, are being
educated about some challenges, in this case in
Africa, and be given an opportunity to do something
that otherwise they wouldn't.
Or Project Red, I think it's great example of, again,
blurring the lines to get companies to create products
that can generate a recurrent revenue stream that provides a
level of sustainability in terms of investment, which is
one of the things for profit businesses often
are better able to.
It's not a new idea.
The Girl Scouts have been doing it for a century.
National Geographic has been doing it for a century.
They started with the goal of educating people about the
world, but instead of just having it done through the
prism of a philanthropic initiative they created a
magazine and a membership and over time television channels
and other kinds of things.
And now it's $1 billion businesses doing a far more
profound job of educating people about the world because
of those other business initiatives.
So trying to encourage that kind of
integration is important.
And looking for opportunities to really touch consumers
where they live, where they're having experiences, we think,
is very profound.
FEMALE SPEAKER: I have to tell you how impressed Jean looked
when she found out that you knew who were the finalists on
American Idol.
JEAN CASE: I was thinking, he's given it away.
We're watching.
STEVE CASE: I actually enjoy it.
I think it's a lot of fun.
We also have five kids, and they're pretty
interested in it.
So we're all familiar on the whole Sanjaya phenomenon.
If you'd like to ask questions about that I'd be happy to
give you our opinions.
FEMALE SPEAKER: We'll be sure to report back to your kids so
you're ready to field those questions.
I should note that Richard Curtis from Comic Relief will
be speaking tomorrow.
And it was Richard's idea to go to American Idol, not to
Comic Relief, and inspire them to use this as an opportunity
to spread the word to a much wider audience.
So yet another social entrepreneur at work.

When you look at something like that, Jean, you're going
to have to be measuring the impact in the long term.
But how important is broadening philanthropy itself
in that way?
JEAN CASE: I think it's huge, this issue of recognizing that
the greatest power we can tap into is consumer
and business spending.
It's a big idea.
And these are some of the first
efforts that we're seeing.
We have traditionally seen some that Steve mentioned as
well, but we think it's an idea whose time has come.
I told Jane earlier today that I came back
from Europe last week.
And when I was going through customs the woman said, what
was your purpose of your travel to Europe?
And I said, philanthropy.
And she said, what?
And I said, philanthropy.
And she said, what?
She said, what's philanthropy?
And our kids have asked us the same question.
We talk in this space in a language that the average
person doesn't understand.
Even if you've been educated in this nation, we still use
words and phrases you'd never use in consumer marketing.
It's not how you talk to people if you were really
trying to get them to buy your product or become aware of
what you're trying to do.
So I think there's a whole language set and a whole way
of looking at where we're telling our story and who
we're trying to reach that just needs to change for this
true potential to fully be tapped.
And it's something I think we're committed to do in
looking at ways that we can partner with others around new
initiatives that will really aim to do just that.
And tap some of the trends around social networking, some
of the technology revolutions we're seeing still taking
place in this day.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Langauge is just one of the barriers to
the process of blending the private
and the social sectors.
Say something, Steve.
You've done a lot of public speaking about the importance
of taking philanthropy beyond philanthropy 1.0.
And Judith Bowden started our conference on that topic.
Say something about what philanthropy would it look
like if you succeed in your advocacy.
STEVE CASE: I think, for the reason Jean said, that maybe
20 years from now there's a different word for it.
It's more about giving or helping or what have you, and
less institutional.
But it's more having these blurred lines between the so
called businesses and the so called philanthropic
I think that's where the biggest opportunity is.
If you asked me 10 years ago I'd say, well, the way it
works here, if you're entrepreneurial and you start
a company and if you're lucky enough to be successful, at
some point that company should create a little foundation to
do something to supplement what they're doing.
And at some point if you made a lot of money personally, you
probably should create your own foundation, do something
privately, which is what we did.
We got AOL started up, then we had AOL Foundation and we had
a Case Foundation.
And I think that's been terrific.
The kind of things we've been able to do through each of
those has been constructive.
But having a more integrated view of it seems to be the
better answer.
Not simply creating a foundation which in too many
companies is a little bit of a silo of some people off on the
side with often somewhat limited budgets trying to do
some interesting things.
It really should be more built into the company's mission.
And the company's core businesses should be looking
at ways to drive that port.
American Idol happened to be a current example of that.
It's not something off on the side with the American Idol
It's American Idol gives back, front and center, to 40
million people every week.
So if you're looking at ways to try to get the most from
each of these I think there's a role to be made through
private contributions.
Sometimes it doesn't make sense for the company to take
the role directly, given the nature of the issue or the
amount of capital it has and people
doing it more privately.
I think it makes sense.
But in the long run, blurring the lines between those
worlds, we think, is going to be helpful.
And it ultimately comes down to what are
you trying to change?
What impact are you trying to achieve, and what's the best
way to achieve that impact?
And in some cases it will be through this prism, and in
some cases it will be through that prism.
In many cases it will be through more of an integrated,
hybrid prism.
So it's less about make the money over here and throw it
over the wall and try to give back, and more trying to live
it and breathe it every day in a more integrated kind of way.
And really using whatever tools are in the arsenal.
Sometimes it's a hammer and sometimes it's a saw and
sometimes it's something else, to have the kind of impact
you're hoping to achieve.
FEMALE SPEAKER: And we're seeing a lot of that in the
information technology space and, obviously,
in the health space.
Big pharmaceuticals providing vaccines and treatments for
the diseases of the poor.
But what's happening in the financial community when
Goldman Sachs makes the environment part of a deal?
Are you starting to see a real shift in the world
of finance as well?
STEVE CASE: Well, I think it's a broader corporate shift.
I wouldn't limit it to finance.
I think it's driven by a recognition that people want
to do business with companies, and work for companies, that
have more than just this quarterly
profit target in mind.
There is a purpose to it, or a mission to it, or some kind of
calling to it.
And in a global battle for talent, attracting people who
want to be part of that effort is very important.
In a global battle for customers, having people want
to do business with your company, obviously the core
benefits of the product or service you're providing have
to be there as well, but there's something more that
the company stands for.
I think there's a recognition that we're
moving into that era.
The next wave of capitalism, if you will, will have that
aspect to it.
And I think the savvier companies are trying to get in
front of that and take positive steps.
I think a lot of it is because they really do believe it

It's not just opportunistic.
But there's some aspect that also is recognizing that's
where the puck is going.
Wayne Gretzky was a great hockey player not because he
looked at where the puck was, he looked at
where the puck is going.
And the puck is going, in the business world, towards
companies doing more than just making money.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Jean you've had, as part of your
foundation strategy, funding hybrid models, Play Pumps
being an example.
Is Kick Start also an example of a hybrid?
Kick Start's a good example of a hybrid model.
Kick Start, for those of you that are not familiar with it,
is an effort, again largely in Africa, focused in Africa.
They are pumps that are affordable to small African
farmers that are irrigation pumps.
Treadle pump is what it's called.
What's the exercise machine you use that does that?
I can't think of the name of it right now.
STEVE CASE: Stair stepper.
JEAN CASE: Stair stepper.
It's like a stair stepper that you
stand on, and it irrigates.
If you have a hectare of land, now you have the opportunity
to irrigate that land.
Suddenly you can get a lot more, sell that produce, and
get two hectares of land.
So it's really taking economic development to a new scale
across Africa with a small intervention on farms. That's
another hybrid model.
And what we loved about that was they're
selling to small farmers.
They'll save all of their family's meager, meager
earnings for a long, long time to buy this pump.
The whole family will use it.
Often your cousin will take it when you're not using it, and
your neighbor's going to pay you to use it on Saturday.
And it's a way that we're seeing some real economic
development progress happen.
Someone said in an earlier session, you really shouldn't
always be so focused on the millions and millions that you
need to get to in scale.
There are some small opportunities.
This started as a small opportunity, but we're seeing
it take hold across Africa and we're very excited by it.
But this idea of the blended model is something, again, in
terms of big ideas, getting out of
that old way of thinking.
Today you're doing philanthropy, so you do these
things, and tomorrow you're doing business, but asking,
what are your core assets and skills?
If American Idol had formed the American Idol Foundation
and it sat off to the side and they were, anybody want to
donate to us?
They wouldn't have nearly had the impact of taking their
core competency, what they're good at, their strategic
assets, and applying them in the space.
And so I think that's the blended world.
And Steve's new company is a great example of a blended
world as well.
In that particular situation he's focused on health care.
That could have been a foundation initiative, but it
probably wouldn't have been very successful as a
foundation initiative.
We're thinking that the best bet is to make that a for
profit bet to address the health care needs.
Another example of how we view this blended world.
FEMALE SPEAKER: I'll turn to you and ask you about
Revolution, but first the stair master reminds me that
when I was in the policy world in Washington D.C. they always
used to say that stair master was the
ultimate Washington exercise.
It was a stairway climbing to nowhere,
this perpetual process.
And so here's an example of something that is climbing to
social change.
But tell us about Revolution.
Because here's an example of putting a company to the
service and a social objective.
STEVE CASE: It was a mix of things coming together.
I started Revolution about three years ago with the idea
that there's always going to be things that are best done
through the Case Foundation prism, including health care.
One thing that we're doing, I don't know if any of you knew
my brother Dan.
He was an investment banker here and took a lot of
companies public, and he died from brain cancer
about five years ago.
And so we funded a not for profit initiative called
Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure, to look for therapies and
drive more collaboration and innovation in that space.
And we feel like we're making some progress.
And we then, more recently, created a venture fund focused
on brain diseases, because that is an opportunity to do
actually make some money as well as doing some good.
Not just right brain cancer, but also ALS and Alzheimer's
and other kinds of things.
But for me, the real opportunity became trying to
drive the health care system, particularly in this country,
to be reorganized more around the consumer.
Really put the patient back at the center of
the health care system.
For 60 years, given that the way payments were set up after
World War II, it's really been an institutionalized system,
and consumers are really not part of it.
They're part of it when they're doing
things to say well.
There's a whole business about fitness clubs and nutritional
supplements and getting a massage that really is,
already, very consumer centric.
But when you get a cough or your knee hurts you move into
some other system that's called health care but it's
really sick care.
And that's organized in a fundamentally different way.
And my belief and my hope is in the next 10 or 20 years
that will change and it will become more about consumers
choosing, and therefore building a company which we're
calling Revolution Health that gives consumers more choice
and control and convenience is the core idea.
We're launching a website a
week from today, and that's the beginning
of a broader strategy.
So for that it was more about building a set of businesses.
We committed over $100 million of initial capital, mostly
from us but also from other co founders including Jim
Barksdale, many of you knew because he ran Netscape.
And Carly Fiorina, and Colin Powell, and others, together
created this company and said, we're going to try to build a
company that really can be a disruptive force and can be a
change agent.
And we hope that it will be successful and
someday very valuable.
But we also hope it will help push the system to be a little
more consumer centric.
So that particular instance, there were some things where
it goes back to this issue of there's a spectrum.
And it kind of depends on what problem you're trying to
solve, and therefore what the right tool is.
In some cases, in terms of driving innovation around
brain cancer, a philanthropic effort seems best. In terms of
trying to create more capital flowing to companies that are
doing interesting things related to brain diseases,
either therapies or technologies, a venture fund
seemed like the right thing to do.
In terms of building a trusted consumer brand that, over
time, can have a broader impact on the health care
system, having a company seemed like the
best thing to do.
There's not a right or wrong answer.
It really depends on the situation, but also I think it
depends on your own interest and strengths
Not everybody can play basketball, not
everybody can do ballet.
Some people have skills other people don't have. And trying
to leverage your own skills in the most constructive way
makes sense.
There's not a lot things I do well, but one of the things I
do well is start companies.
And so starting companies that can change the world is really
what Revolution is all about.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Larry and Sergei have a great idea for a
maxim for Revolution, it's focus on the user and the rest
will follow.
STEVE CASE: That counts for a lot.
FEMALE SPEAKER: I'm going to steal that idea.
Let me just say, so much of what we have focused on in the
last day and a half, and will be focusing on, is the whole
question of mission investing.
And you've just talked about a huge investment that the two
of you have decided to make.
This notion of using your assets, on the one hand
philanthropists think about how they use the draw down
from their endowments to make grants.
So this is the whole question of using your assets to make
investments that will advance your social goals.
How large a part of your lives has that
become, mission investing?

JEAN CASE: It's, I think, become a big part of my life
particularly because I've been running the
foundation now for 10 years.
So it's what I focus most of my time on.
And I have to say, we went into it knowing that there was
a lot more that we didn't know than we knew.
I'm not sure how far down the line we are
as we sit here today.
I think it's still really, really hard to figure out, or
to find, really great opportunities for investment.
And when we do we realize that what they need most is a
spotlight so other people know that they're great
opportunities for investment.
And we heard this today in the conference, which was there is
capital available.
How do people learn about it?
So it's something we're really focused on.
But I can tell you, I think it is a lot easier for both of us
to find great business investments and feel good
about those than it still is today to find great social
It doesn't mean they're not out there, I'm just simply
saying that they're still harder to find today in my
view than great opportunities to
invest in strictly business.
STEVE CASE: But some of that goes back to this issue of
capital structure and capital flow, because one of the
reasons that the hybrid approach has a lot of legs is
the reason people are often eager to invest in a new
company it is they believe that if they write that check
they'll not only get that money back, but they might get
a lot more back still.
On the other side, typically on a not for profit side, the
recognition is you write that check, you're actually not
getting any of it back and almost certainly going to be
asked again to make another contribution.
So it's the reverse case where, basically, if I start
writing checks then I can't stop writing checks is one of
the lesson we learned 10 years ago.
We'd make a grant and realize that there's almost an
expectation that that will continue.
Then we started creating longer term, five year grants
and made it very clear, there is no sixth year.
We're trying to jump start this, but were not going to be
there forever.
And so looking at models where there's a little bit more of a
hybrid and there is the ability to leverage capital,
it is very powerful.
AOL, we built a $100 million company on the back of $10
million in venture capital, including Alan Patricof,
obviously in the front here, is one of our venture
So we took a relatively modest amount of capital, at the time
we were competing against Prodigy.
They had $1 billion from IBM and Sears.
We had a passionate team that really believed in this idea
and were able to build a significant franchise on that.
And the people who invested in that got a lot of return,
financially, and also felt that they helped create a
And even more recently, I mentioned some of the things
that we're doing on the health care side.
People I know, including some of this audience, they think
I'm calling to ask them for a donation to Accelerate Brain
Cancer Cure, and they're like, ugh.

Some have, but not that many people have called me and
said, I'd like to write a check.
But when I announce Revolution Health I had bunch of people
calling me that said, will you take my check?
And the reason is because they thought there was some
possibility that there would be a significant return here,
and it was less clear there.
So that's the challenge in terms of the sectors.
How do you use capital strategies?
And ultimately it comes down to sustainability and
scalability, taking a little bit of money and turning it
into something big.
And that's one of the challenges we're
trying to focus on.
FEMALE SPEAKER: And you'll hear this afternoon that Alan
Patricof is still up there.
He's now thinking about establishing a SME fund, a
small and medium enterprise fund, focused on Africa, to
build sustainable economy there, to build successful
enterprises there.
You've talked a lot about the ABC2 effort.
And one of the findings of the foundation's strategy group,
when they took a look at the question of what makes for an
effective philanthropist, was it those who had experienced
the problem they were trying to solve were sometimes the
most effective?
Did you find that your experience with your brother
transformed you as a philanthropist?
STEVE CASE: Transforming me is fine, probably a little broad,
but absolutely the experience of understanding the
difficulties of that disease.
And specifically, we got a call six years ago in the
middle of the night.
He had a brain tumor, and don't worry about it.
Didn't know a lot about brain tumors, but knew you probably
should worry about it.
And then he got his diagnosis after surgery two weeks later,
and was basically told that given the stage of that he
probably had six months to live.
So he started asking basic questions.
What causes brain tumors?
Nobody knows.
What are the therapies available to treat tumors?
Not many.
None of them work particularly well.
What's the prognosis?
It's a death sentence.
And he said, being an entrepreneur who helped build
Genentech and Electronic Arts and Apple and many other
companies, that's not good enough.
And that really led to the creation of this initiative,
trying to put more focus on this and try to build it up.
I would also say, though, more broadly on health care, some
of it is informed by our own personal experiences of having
five kids who get real sick every once in a while.
And one of the businesses we're funding is a convenient
care clinic business we're doing with a partnership with
Walgreens and Walmart and others, because people have
kids that get sick on Sunday mornings, and right now they
have two choices.
One is they go to the emergency room and wait around
all day, it's a complete waste of that resource to do that.
Or the other is they wait until Monday morning and pick
up the phone at 7:31 hoping they'll get an appointment.
It's like calling Ticketmaster to get U2 tickets.
Busy, busy, and if you're lucky enough to get through
and lucky enough to get an appointment, inevitably it's
two in the afternoon and you're going to
miss a day of work.
And the question was, is it a sore throat or a strep throat?
It's not that hard.
And so creating a network of clinics, and someday there
should be thousands of them.
There's 12,000 Starbucks.
Shouldn't there be a few thousand
convenient care clinics?
We think there should.
And so that's based on that kind of experience, or our
experience of dealing with the system and the whole issue of
medical records, and how crazy it is and how
complicated it is.
That personal experience informed the opportunity to
create that business, no differently than the personal
experience we both had 20, 25 years ago just sensing there
was something in this interactive world some way
that, maybe some day, this would be more of a mainstream
Because when we got on and were using it we thought it
was pretty cool We didn't understand why 99% of people
in the country, at the time, were not
connected to these services.
Someday we believed it would be a mass market.
So I think there's always some personal dynamic that makes
you particularly passionate about a particular idea,
whether it's a business idea or a philanthropic idea.
And that passion, I think, is critical for the success of
any venture.
But the only other point I'd make, which is
critical, is execution.
There are a lot of good ideas out there.
There's not a lot of great execution out there.
This is true across all sectors.
And Ellen said that vision without execution is a

All of us have heard all kinds of great ideas, most of which
don't succeed.
And it's not that they weren't great ideas.
They probably were great ideas.
They didn't have the capital, or didn't have the talent,
didn't have the team, didn't have something.
So it's not enough to say, I have a great idea.
You have to then figure out how to put that into action
and what are the strategies to do that?
And some of it is about aggregating talent.
Some of it is about aggregating capital, and a lot
of it is about hard work.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Well some portion of us hallucinate.
Jean, could you say a word, right now?
Is there a particular passion right now that is driving you
and driving your philanthropy?
Are you feeling like you're on the track you need to be on?
Or is there something that's propelling you?

JEAN CASE: Well, I'd probably remove it just a little bit
from me personally, and more say that I think there is a
sense that we're at a point in time where we all recognize
big problems in the world and in our communities.
The same old way isn't going to get us there.
That's just the bottom line.
So I think we're all passionately searching for
what are the few levers, few approaches, we might use to
really change things.
I mean really start to have impact in ways we haven't been
able to before.
And I'm not so convinced that it really, ultimately, comes
down to just a money problem.
That's why we're so excited.
Following up on what Steve just said about vision and
execution and going back to your earlier question about
the role of other sectors.
In this small little clean water space,
opportunity was there.
The model had been proven.
We're sitting in Washington D.C. in the United States.
What the heck are we going to do about execution on the
ground in Africa?
Turn to the US government, and we had a way to actually scale
this thing.
There's boots on the ground.
In fact, the Navy is a partner with us now.
FEMALE SPEAKER: The Navy is a partner?
But it's this understanding that if we work together and
we all brought our core competency and our unique
skills and assets, well then if everybody does a little bit
you can really get far.
But if we'd come back and said, oh this is about us, it
never would have worked.
It's not about us.
It's about looking out and being smart and picking
partnerships and collaborating with all the sectors so
everybody is doing what they do well, and that can ensure
execution beyond the vision.
The vision thing is so easy.
The execution thing is so hard.

I wanted to just underscore something that Steve said,
because it's maybe easy to understand how he might have
received phone calls when he started Revolution, but I
think just in the little brain cancer world, as we've talked
about, this brain cancer initiative we've had for some
time now, we also noted that there was a
real gap in the market.
And our philanthropy couldn't address that gap, just because
of the way the weird structures work between what
you can do as a business and what you
can do as a non profit.
And it was specifically investing in small companies
with great ideas, or maybe some molecules that show great
promise, that could lead to therapies in the space.
But the philanthropy couldn't invest in it for a lot of
different reasons.
And we couldn't because of our role in the nonprofit.
And it wasn't something the traditional drug companies
wanted to do because the risk was too high.
So going back to this whole issue of how people think so
The same people that we knew had been touched by brain
cancer that hadn't invested in our brain cancer initiative,
when we went to then and said, OK, but we're going to have a
brain trust fund, and the first tranche of a $25 million
fund that we're putting together.
And it's a really high risk deal.
These are high risk investments.
But if they pay off they're going to pay off big and they
might actually be a therapy for brain cancer, which
doesn't exist today.
People were just jumping into that opportunity.
And so these hybrid models that we're talking about, I
guess the reason we're so convinced they make a lot of
sense is because when people write a $1 million check into
that fund we've said to them, you may not ever see that $1
million again.
But if they'd done it on the brain cancer nonprofit they
know they wouldn't see it again.
There's no chance they'll see it.
They're writing it, it's gone, and somebody
else is spending it.
But over here on this fund there's some chance they may
get it back.
They may get it back handsomely.
And they know they're making a big difference.
So the whole hybrid side, we think,
is just really powerful.
And I think that excites us greatly in this day.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Did you want to add something?
I wanted to just close with a thought, and that is, number
one, you made me think the old maxim that those who don't
seek credit are those who end up being the most powerful in
achieving their goals.
So this collaborative message, I think, is such
an important one.
But your offices are now six blocks from the White House.
You have the US Navy as your partner.
So we know how to get there, at least through the Panama
canal, from here.
Tell us something about the importance of the convening
power of the philanthropic world and how
that might be used.

STEVE CASE: We have to convene among ourselves to decide
who's going to answer the question.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Neither wants credit.
STEVE CASE: It was a learning process for all of us.
One lesson we learned early on is that if you're too front
and center and it's not a big enough tent it's not as
interesting to as many people.
We started, almost 10 years ago now, an initiative called
PowerUP, which was designed to bridge digital divide.
It was successful in that we created
1,000 technology centers.
And Cisco and Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, and others
joined us on the effort.
And we did Boys and Girls Clubs and a lot
of different things.
But to get that started we said we'd
provide most of the capital.
So we invested tens of millions of
dollars in that venture.
And people thought it was the Case's thing.
And we realized that it'd be better to have a broader tent
and get more people involved.
So that was one lesson.
A second lesson, and it was a little bit bizarre.
But it was even though the Case Foundation's capital came
from AOL, which helped make the internet a mainstream
phenomenon, when we launched the Case Foundation we didn't
have a web site.
We only did one three years ago.
The reason is we really want to talk about
what we were doing.
We just wanted to quietly do it.
We didn't want to be beating our chests.
What we learned was that we were being selfish.
That our attempts not to be out there, in terms of
declaring what we're doing here, what we're doing there,
actually was depriving the organizations we cared so
passionately about with the ability to shine a spotlight
on what they were doing an potentially attract the
interest of others.
So we did launch a site that really is
designed to do just that.
We're looking at, Jean mentioned, ways to expand it.
So we recognized that one of the assets we bring to bear is
some brand name or credibility or a network,
or what have you.
And how do we use that in an appropriate way to try to get
behind some of the ideas that we really think are powerful.
And that also ties, in terms of Washington D.C. We've been
there for over 20 years.
AOL was one of the big business success
stories of the area.
We got to know a lot of different people.
And how do we leverage that, again in an appropriate way,
to try to get traction around some of these ideas and create
an environment much like what you're trying to do here,
where people can get together and kick
around different ideas?
We learned it's less about us funding it, even less about
what spotlight we chose to have or didn't choose to have,
and more of leveraging that convening ability, or that
networking ability, or that ability to generate attention,
and so forth, to try to drive some of these ideas forward.
FEMALE SPEAKER: If you had one piece of advice, either of you
can give, to those newest philanthropist in this room,
what would it be?
JEAN CASE: I'd probably say recognize who you are and what
you are and what you bring to the party.
And use that most effectively, because chances are that's
where your passion and your talents and your skills are.
Don't reinvent yourself when you think about philanthropy.
Take what you already do well, what you already have, and see
how you can use it in the space, because that's where I
think you'd be most effective.
STEVE CASE: I'd say the same thing, which is focus on the
things that you really are passionate about, that fully
leverage your skill set.
I think too often people think they should be playing some
other role, wearing some other hat.
And it doesn't necessarily play fully to their strengths.
So try to leverage that, particularly in terms of
people that are younger and came into money from Google or
some other a company.
Get out there and try things.
Don't be afraid to fail.
It's a learning process.
We described some of the learning we've done.
I think you have to get started and have to start
walking down that path, and it will iterate over time.
Some doors will open and some doors will close.
You just have to keep going down that path.
The last thing I'd say, which is a pet peeve we both have,
is to try not to reinvent the wheel.
I think there's a tendency, and we've also fallen into
this, if you want to do something, to start something
new to do it.
And one real problem in the sector is there's, I think,
too many things out there, and it's too fragmented.
If there's something you're passionate about and
somebody's already doing it, take a look at backing them
before you start some other kind of initiative and use it
as an opportunity to accelerate.
Obviously the person who gets the hall of fame award for
this is Warren Buffett, who basically said, look, I'm
pretty good at creating capital.
I don't know if I'm so good at investing that on a not for
profit side.
I think these Gates folks over there seem like they're pretty
sharp and probably will be around for a while and seem to
have a pretty good team.
I'm going to throw my lot in with them.
And he didn't say, oh, I'll do this if you'll rename it the
Gates Buffett foundation.
He said, here's $40 billion, whatever the number was.
That's pretty impressive.
He basically was saying, I want to make a
difference in the world.
I think the best way for me to make a difference is to hand
that baton to somebody else who can run that next few laps
better than I can.
I think there's a lesson we all can learn from that, in
terms of focusing on what you're great.
And maybe somebody else is better at something, and maybe
it's better to back them as opposed to
create something new.
FEMALE SPEAKER: And Warren Buffett does have a pretty
good track record of picking winners.
STEVE CASE: He does, he does.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Well, Jean and Steve Case, thank you so much
for applying your prodigious talents to social change.
And thank you for sharing your lessons learned
with the rest of us.
I know this group is going to be asking questions--