Helping the Field Solve Global Challenges – CASE Year in Review

Another year has come and gone here at CASE.  Our students have graduated or are off to summer internships and so, amidst the quiet hallways and empty classrooms, I find myself reflecting once again on the year at CASE and all that this amazing team has accomplished.

To start, CASE was profiled as one of the top 5 centers in the world on social impact by Bridgespan and the Skoll Foundation in, “Onward: Accelerating the Impact of Social Impact Education.” We were awarded the 2016 Outstanding Specialty Center from the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers. We were ranked #5 in Net Impact’s “Business as UNusual: Top 50 Schools for Social Impact.” And we were written up in articles about “universities paving the way in social entrepreneurship”, highlighted in US News and World Report, featured in Fortune and SSIR, and much more.

But while the accolades are nice, that is not why we do what we do.  We are committed to pursuing our mission of preparing leaders and organizations to change the world.  I’ve included a list of this year’s work below but wanted to first recap my top 4 highlights from the year:

    1. The launch of Scaling Pathways

      We partnered with the Innovation Investment Alliance – a funding and learning partnership between the Skoll Foundation and USAID’s Global Development Lab, with support from Mercy Corps – to tackle the critical question of what does it take to scale social impact? We dove deep with three IIA-funded, internationally-recognized social enterprises – Imazon, VisionSpring, and Evidence Action – and shared lessons about what works and what does not on the path to scale. We traveled around the world, hosted a session at the Skoll World Forum, facilitated a 300+ person webinar, and published Pivoting to Impact (a capstone paper that distills common roadblocks, and strategies to avoid them, on the path to scale) and three in-depth Case Studies that tell the scaling stories, successes and failures of Imazon, VisionSpring, and Evidence Action. Read more and download the reports at
    2. The launch of Smart Impact Capital
      After a year of beta testing Smart Impact Capital – our new, cutting edge, online tools for social entrepreneurs seeking impact investing capital – with 250 entrepreneurs in 13 countries, we formally launched in 2016. We are already seeing the great results these tools are having on social entrepreneurs seeking capital to scale their impact. For example, of the SOCAP entrepreneurs using the platform, 95% reported improvement in their overall ability to raise investment capital and the net promoter score for users of the tools was 75, compared to common scores for software of around 40. Read more about our results on the SOCAP blog and get more information about the tools at
    3. SEAD
      25 global health social entrepreneurs raised over $56M in our program and in turn helped millions of beneficiaries. From improving women’s heath education in East Africa to utilizing mobile phone technology to increase tuberculosis treatment adherence, SEAD Innovators are making an impact on global health challenges across the globe.SEAD has also been involved in a number of publications over the past year, including a look at the healthcare landscape in East Africa, a series of toolkits for global health ventures to effectively evaluate and communicate their impact, the effects of low-cost interventions on a network of primary care clinics in Nairobi, and more publications coming soon. The accelerator program has also given students the opportunity to work with SEAD Innovators, through FCCP and summer internships, as well as internship opportunities at USAID.
    4. Shaping the Next Generation of Business Leaders
      361 students engaged with CASE this past year at Fuqua. That is 361 students that are better prepared to have a positive impact on the world, whether through social impact careers, nonprofit board leadership, or as intrapraneurs, consultants, investors and more.It is often hard for us to articulate the impact that our student programs have on the field, so I offer one example from this year. In September, DC Water, Calvert Foundation, and Goldman Sachs announced the launch of the nation’s first Environmental Impact Bond. Instrumental in the formation of this exciting new product were Beth Bafford and Jacqueline Westley, alumni who worked closely with CASE and our CASE i3 program while at Fuqua and who now work at the Calvert Foundation.  And this launch occurred just three years after the publication of the CASE i3 working paper, “Environmental Impact Bonds,” written by CASE i3 MBA student David Nicola and edited by CASE i3 Director Cathy Clark.

      It is wonderful to see our students, such as David, using their time at Fuqua to stretch their own thinking and use their training from CASE to think of creative new impact solutions. And then to see that work influencing other students who apply those learnings in their own impact careers to drive innovation in the field, improving environmental outcomes while reducing government expenditures.  Learn more about the DC Water Environmental Impact Bond here and the impact it will have.


Read on for lots more highlights from the past year at CASE.  We’re looking forward to another great year to come – more cutting edge work on scaling social entrepreneurship and impact investing, more training of incredible MBA students, alumni and practitioners, and the celebration of CASE’s 15th anniversary!

With gratitude for the CASE team and for all of our partners and supporters,

Erin Worsham


Scaling Pathways WebinarWe taught fantastic classes – from Social Entrepreneurship to Impact Investing to various consulting practica – to over 200 students. That included 79 students that participated in our FCCP and CASE i3 Consulting Practica, working with clients and completing 17 strategic projects and apprenticeships. Learn more about those projects – from education initiatives in South Africa to foundations in North Carolina to leading investment firms –in our project roundup.

Outside of the classroom, we hosted exceptional programs. Over 10% of the first-year class started their year with our Social Impact Starting Line program.  46 students served on the boards of 23 local nonprofits and attended workshops on board best practices through our Fuqua on Board program. 15 CASE Fellows and 11 CASE i3 Fellows participated in our fellowship program (read about the Fellows here). 165 students participated in our Duke Global Challenge.  Four new CASE Scholarship recipients joined our family: Manuel Costa; Tiffany Hsieh; Stephen Seed; and, Hannah Ford.  We awarded summer internship funding to 21 students working in the impact space.  Those students had transformational summer experiences including working on social impact bonds, balancing mission and money in the nonprofit sector, and working within the education system. Finally, second year Tim Scales won our CASE Launch Pad and received funding and mentorship to launch CivicRise.


SBSI Jean CaseIn addition to the work on Scaling Pathways and SEAD, we welcomed many practitioners to campus including Debra Schwartz, MacArthur Foundation; Maya Ajmera, Founder of Global fund for Childen; Wendy Kopp, Founder of TFA; Jacob Harold, CEO of Guidestar; and, Aaron Walker, CEO of Camelback Ventures. We hosted sessions on women in social entrepreneurship (read more here); race in social innovation (read more here); and dozens of speakers (and more than 500 registrants) at the “best yet” Sustainable Business and Social Impact (SBSI) conference.  SBSI included engaging keynotes from Jean Case, CEO of the Case Foundation (here) and Teju Ravilochan, Founder of Unreasonable Institute (here) as well as TED style talks from Fuqua alum and CEO of Sightlife and Sightlife Surgical, Monty Montoya (read more and watch his talk), CASE board member and founder of Upstart Co-Lab, Laura Callanan (watch her talk), and founder of PlanetWalk, John Francis (watch his talk).

Our CASE Chat – 4-5 minute video interviews with leading social entrepreneurs and impact investors continued with:


CASE continues to contribute to thought leadership efforts in the field, here is a sampling from the year: