Jean Case

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Jean Case
Ray Chambers, Bill Clinton, Jean Case, Steve Case and Laura Bush at President Bill Clinton's Annual Global Initiative Conference in New York, September 20, 2006.jpg
Laura Bush announces a $60 million partnership between the U.S. Government and the Case Foundation at the Clinton Global Initiative conference in New York on September 20, 2006. With her, from left, are: Raymond Chambers, Chairman, MCJ and Amelier Foundations; former President Bill Clinton; and Jean and Steve Case.
ResidenceMcLean, Virginia
Other namesJean Wackes[1]
Jean Villanueva
EducationWestminster Academy
OccupationCEO, Case Foundation
Chairman, National Geographic
Board member ofAccelerate Brain Cancer Cure
• Brainscope
• White House Historical Association
•Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society
•Georgetown Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation
Steve Case (m. 1998)

Jean Case[2] (born 1959) is an American businesswoman. She is Chairman of the Board of National Geographic,[3] CEO of the Case Foundation,[4] and a philanthropist, investor, technology industry pioneer and author of Be Fearless: 5 Principles for a Life of Breakthroughs and Purpose (2019).[5] She, along with her husband, AOL co-founder Steve Case, created the Case Foundation in 1997 and they joined the Giving Pledge in 2011, committing to give away a majority of their wealth.[6]

Civic service[edit]

In June 2006, she was appointed by President George W. Bush to chair the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation.

In 2007, Case was asked by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to serve as a co-chair of the U.S.-Palestinian Partnership to promote economic opportunity for the Palestinian people, prepare Palestinian youth for the responsibilities of citizenship and good governance, and marshal new private investment in the West Bank.

In 2016, Jean gave a TedXMidAtlantic talk where she highlighted the importance innovators have played in the history of the United States and examined the state of entrepreneurship today. Case argued there is a tremendous opportunity to seize by expanding access to capital by investing in women and entrepreneurs of color and set forward a series of steps for all to join in on building an inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem that would give everyone an equal chance at unlocking the American Dream.[7]

In 2017, the 20th Anniversary of the founding of the Case Foundation, Jean and husband Steve, launched a year-long “Get In The Arena” campaign, calling on citizens to embrace the ethos of President Theodore RooseveltMan In The Arena” speech and to “Get In The Arena” by taking action on issues and challenges that mattered most in their lives and communities.

In 2018, in reference to the under-representation of woman-founded and African-American-founded companies as recipients of venture capital, Case stated, "One thing we know for sure is talent is evenly distributed. Opportunity is not."[8]

Board service[edit]

In February 2016, Case was elected as Chairman of the National Geographic Society's board of trustees[9] and also serves on the boards of Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure, the White House Historical Association[10] and Brainscope, as well as the advisory councils of the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and the Civil Society,[11] Georgetown University's Beeck Center for Social Impact & Innovation,[12] and the Brain Trust Accelerator Fund.


Case grew up in Illinois and Florida,[13] and attended high school at the Westminster Academy in Fort Lauderdale, graduating in 1978.[14]

Jean was at the forefront of the emergence of the interactive technology field, starting as a marketing manager with online information services Source Telecomputing Corporation (The Source) and joining a General Electric “team trying to drive disruptive innovation within a big company” at General Electric Information Services(GEnie). Jean then joined America Online (AOL) when it was a small startup and was at the table as it grew into the company that provided Internet services to about half of all U.S. homes with Internet access,[15] serving as Director of Marketing (October 1988), then Vice President, Marketing (August 1989) and Vice President, Corporate Communications (April 1993).[16] She left AOL in 1996.[17]

Jean Villanueva and Steve Case married in 1998 in a ceremony officiated by the Rev. Billy Graham.[18] Today they reside in McLean, Virginia, in a mansion that was the childhood home of Jacqueline Bouvier.[19]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Jean and Steve Case were named by Barron's Magazine as one of the "25 Best Givers" in 2011[20] and one of the "9 Most Generous Tech Entrepreneurs" by Fast Company in 2013.[21] They received the Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship in 2001. The award was given out by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.. Jean and Steve Case were honored with the Lifetime of Idealism Award by City Year in 2009[22] and honored as Citizens of the Year by the National Conference on Citizenship in 2011[23]

Jean was named the Washington Business Journal's Corporate Philanthropist of the Year in 2011.[24] In 2013 she received the Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award from Wake Forest University[25] and was a finalist for the Washington Business Journal's "Most Admired Nonprofit CEO." That same year she as a mentor for the Wall Street Journal's "Startup of the Year."[26]

In 2014, Jean received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy for her philanthropic work,[27] and in 2015 she received an honorary Doctor of Humane letters from George Mason University.[28]

In 2016, Jean was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


  • Case, Jean; Be Fearless: 5 Principles for a Life of Breakthroughs and Purpose ISBN 978-1501196348


Jean has long been a "leader in impact investing"[29][30] and was a cofounder of The ImPact, a membership network of family enterprises (family offices, foundations, and businesses) that are committed to making investments with measurable social impact and was a member of the U.S. NAB to the G7 Task Force on Impact Investing.[31]

Jean and Steve Case have personally invested in and leveraged new online platforms for social good, such as Network for Good,[32] Causes, and MissionFish. In 2011, she opened Early Mountain Vineyards, a 300-acre property in Virginia.


  1. ^ "Spectrum (newsletter for employees of GEnie, includes 1986 photo of Jean Wackes)" (PDF). GE Information Services Company. August–September 1986. Jean Wackes (Senior Communications Specialist, Advertising and Sales Promotion)... Wackes (who had worked for The Source)...
  2. ^ National Geographic Society: About Us - Council of Advisors: Jean N. Case
  3. ^ "Exclusive: From AOL Exec to Antarctic Explorer, Meet Nat Geo's First Female Chairman". Fortune. Retrieved 2017-10-31.
  4. ^ "Our Team". 2019-01-09. Retrieved 2019-01-09.
  5. ^ "Simon & Schuster to Publish Jean Case's Be Fearless in January". 2019-09-20. Retrieved 2019-01-09.
  6. ^ "Steve and Jean Case pledge half their wealth - Washington Business Journal". 2010-12-09. Retrieved 2014-05-02.
  7. ^ TEDx Talks (2017-01-10), Unlocking the American Dream | Jean Case | TEDxMidAtlantic, retrieved 2017-02-07
  8. ^ LaRoche, Julia (2018-03-27). "Venture capital has yet to unlock this powerful economic opportunity". Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  9. ^ Jean Case Elected Chairman of National Geographic Society Board of Trustees Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ Coleman, Lauren deLisa. "Hold Onto Your Seatbelts, Jean Case Has Her Eye On Disrupting Tech Investment Patterns". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-10-31.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-03-06. Retrieved 2015-03-05.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ [2]. "The Cases ... in their home states of Hawaii and Florida"
  14. ^ O'Connor, Lona; Hirschman, Bill (2000-10-17). "Gift Of Learning: School Gets $8 Million". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  15. ^ Madrigal, Alexis C. "The Fall of Facebook". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2017-10-31.
  16. ^ Information for Jean N. Villanueva from SEC filing for America Online Inc. 1996-10-31.
  17. ^ "AOL exec takes leave". Washington Business Journal. 1996-10-18. Jean Villanueva, vice president of corporate communications for America Online Inc., said she will take a six-month leave of absence from the company.
  18. ^ "Digits: "You've got married"". Wall Street Journal. 1998-07-09. Archived from the original on 1998-07-09. Steve Case ... has tied the knot with companion Jean Villanueva ... the top public-relations official at AOL until she left the company in 1996. Officiating at the small ceremony was the Rev. Billy Graham.
  19. ^ Eisler, Kim (2007-02-01). "Second Coming". The Washingtonian.
  20. ^ McGee, Suzanne (2010-12-06). "The 25 Best Givers - Barron's". Retrieved 2014-05-02.
  21. ^ "The 9 Most Generous Tech Entrepreneurs | Co.Exist | ideas + impact". 2013-09-19. Retrieved 2014-05-02.
  22. ^ "City Year DC Honorees Include Governor Frank Keating and Brian Sasscer". Case Foundation. Archived from the original on 2014-04-23. Retrieved 2014-05-02.
  23. ^ "Jean Case and Steve Case to receive 'Citizen of the Year' Award". NCoC. Archived from the original on 2013-08-06. Retrieved 2014-05-02.
  24. ^ "Washington Business Journal honors corporate philanthropists - Washington Business Journal". 2011-05-12. Retrieved 2014-05-02.
  25. ^ "2013 Excellence in Entrepreneurship Banquet Keynote Speaker | Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship | Wake Forest University". 2013-04-11. Archived from the original on 2014-05-11. Retrieved 2014-05-02.
  26. ^ "About the Mentor: Jean Case - WSJ Startup of the Year 2013". Retrieved 2014-05-02.
  27. ^ "Three to receive honorary degrees during IUPUI commencement". IUPUI Newsroom. Retrieved September 18, 2015.
  28. ^ Preston Williams (November 25, 2015). "Case, Roth will address Mason winter graduates". George Mason University.
  29. ^ Sullivan, Paul (2018-03-16). "How to Invest With a Conscience (and Still Make Money)". Retrieved 2018-12-31.
  30. ^ MacBride, Elizabeth (2018-05-17). "A new multibillion-dollar investment revolution is being led by this woman". Retrieved 2018-12-31.
  31. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  32. ^ "1 Billion Reasons to Celebrate with Network for Good". Case Foundation. Retrieved 2014-05-02.

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