What Happens When You Infuse Philanthropy With Tech Entrepreneurial Spirit?

Steve and Jean Case are finding success with their foundation by doing things a little differently from the rest of the philanthropy world.

High-tech iconoclasts Steve and Jean Case embody the evolving role of technology entrepreneurs in philanthropy. They are bringing the same sensibility they brought to creating AOL to their current investments in people and ideas that can change the world. Partnerships, often between divergent groups and across sectors, are at the core of their philanthropic approach.

Laying the foundation for the Internet required a wide range of partnerships. As Steve Case, the co-founder and former chairman and CEO of AOL, forged ahead with getting America online by sending us all hundreds of CDs, he and his team pursued partnerships across sectors with software, communications and content companies as well as PC manufacturers.

"The whole story of AOL and the growth of the Internet was basically around partnerships," Steve says.

It's not surprising that having lived that and seen the power of that, that we took that same approach to our philanthropy, a network-based approach. There's a great African proverb that animates a lot of our work: 'If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, you must go together.'