As Graduation Nears: Recapping the 2013-14 Academic Year

This has been a year of ups and downs for the CASE team.  Most notably, this year marked the passing of our founder and dear friend, Greg Dees.  We are all still struggling to come to terms with his passing and miss him daily. However, we know that he is here in spirit, guiding what we do and, in his honor, we continue to drive CASE forward to provide leaders and organizations with the business skills needed to create lasting social change.  In that spirit, we wanted to celebrate some of the accomplishments from the past year.

This was a great year for our Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator at Duke (SEAD). We welcomed a second cohort of innovators that includes innovative solutions such as shipping container clinics providing healthcare to truck drivers across rural Africa, profitable health loans being offered to patients in India with no traditional collateral, and much more.  We now have 17 innovators working with SEAD to scale their impact and improve health outcomes. (Read more about our innovators here and here.) 

We are also engaging researchers (see the recent white paper, “Fundraising for Global Health Social Enterprises: Lessons from the Field”) and students (including the launch of our 1st case competition on scaling global health innovations and summer internships with SEAD entrepreneurs. (Read about Colby’s experience with Changamka in Kenya here and Zack’s experience with Vaatsalya in India here)

Finally, we hosted the 2nd annual Duke Symposium on Scaling Innovations in Global Health where over 200 attendees discussed social entrepreneurship and global health, including a keynote from the 2014 CASE Enterprising Social Innovation (ESI) award winner, Chuck Slaughter from Living Goods.

Collaborative Capitalism thumbnailThe CASE Initiative on Impact Investing (CASE i3) continued to provide thought leadership in the field of impact investing. We announced the publication of a new e-book, “Collaborative Capitalism and the Rise of Impact Investing” by Cathy Clark, Jed Emerson and Ben Thornley. And several other publications throughout the year included “Impact Investing 2.0 – The Way Forward: Insights from 12 Outstanding Funds” and the “Toniic E-Guide to Early-Stage Global Impact Investing.”

Our CASE i3 Fellows program had another banner year – 7 Fellows and 29 associates participated in the program, including 5 consulting projects working with clients ranging from the World Economic Forum to the Calvert Foundation. (read about one teams’ project here).

Entire group - session 1 (small for blog)

To increase our efforts to engage with practitioners, we launched the CASE Change Academy this year. Led by CASE Senior Fellow Dan Heath, six organizations – Teach for America, Year Up, Community Solutions Brownsville Partnership, United Way of Greater Toledo, YMCA of Greater Charlotte, and the Communities Foundation of Texas – have brought a real world challenge to the Academy and, through a 6 month program of training and peer consulting, are working to make an impact in their communities.  Their work ranges from creating jobs in one of the poorest communities in the US to tackling diabetes prevention and more.  (Read more about their work and projects here.)

Of course, we would be nowhere without our wonderful students.  Our Net Impact Club was awarded Gold Chapter status again and was also selected as one of the top 3 Graduate Chapters of the year from among the 300+ chapters worldwide!

FCCP group pic (for blog)

We had more than 100 students in our core CASE classes, including 29 students that participated in social impact projects through the Fuqua Client Consulting Practicum (FCCP).  FCCP projects ranged from a charter school collaborative in North Carolina to organizations in South Africa focused on global health, early childhood education, local entrepreneur support, and financial access/mobile banking.

We had three new CASE Scholars join the CASE family: Diana Vining, Loree Lipstein and Cristina Arellano. We had 8 CASE Fellows and 7 CASE i3 Fellows. We enabled students to work for nonprofit or government through the CASE Summer Internship Fund and alumni through the Fuqua Loan Assistance Program. Plus 48 students participating in Fuqua on Board, serving 24 local nonprofit organizations in the Durham community.


We continued to expand our 13th course sessions; launched a “CASE Pop-up” workshop on design thinking; and, hosted a multitude of speakers.  For example, we kicked off the year with 200+ students at the annual Day in Durham keynoted by Dan Heath.  The SBSI conference was a success with keynotes including Seth Goldman, TeaEO of Honest Tea, Maria Kingery, Co-Founder and CEO of Southern Energy Management; Paul Sansone, CFO of Better World Books; and Kevin Trapani, President and CEO of The Redwoods Group. We also welcomed Laurie Spengler, CEO of Enclude, Bill Eggers, Director at Deloitte and author of The Solution Revolution, Jonathan Goldstein, Founder of Imprint Capital Advisors, Rachel Wasser, co-founder of Teach for China, Leslie Crutchfield, Senior Advisor at FSG, and others.

Finally, the CASE team continued to grow (more on that in another post!) and be recognized for their efforts.  Some notable awards this year included:

  • Paul Bloom was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award for Social Entrepreneurship at NYU Stern’s Conference on Social Entrepreneurship.
  • CASE i3 Director Cathy Clark was selected to join the US National Advisory Board for the G8 Social Impact Investment Task Force.
  • CASE Executive Director Erin Worsham was selected as one of the “40 under 40” by the Triangle Business Journal.

And, as always, there is so much more!

Our team truly loves what we do and are so happy to be part of a dynamic, inspiring, hard working group of colleagues, students and friends.   A few more days until graduation – proud of what we’ve accomplished this year and excited to see our graduating students off to careers of impact!