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Duke's Fuqua School Of Business Launches Center To Help Maximize Social Impact

September 02, 2002

DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke University's Fuqua School of Business has created the Center for Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE), a research and education center dedicated to promoting entrepreneurial leadership in the social sector.

CASE is being financed by a $2.5 million grant over five years from The Atlantic Philanthropies, which will be matched over 10 years by $2.5 million from Fuqua's budget and money raised by the school. Atlantic is an international foundation that has supported social programs worldwide.

Fuqua Dean Douglas T. Breeden said CASE is indicative of the school's commitment to educating thoughtful business leaders worldwide. He said it also provides a unique opportunity for interdisciplinary cooperation among Duke's business school, law school, divinity school, Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy, and Office of Community Affairs.

Heading CASE as faculty director is J. Gregory Dees, Ph.D., an adjunct professor of social entrepreneurship and non-profit management at Fuqua. Dees came to Duke from Stanford University, where he co-founded its Center for Social Innovation. In the mid-1990s, he was recognized as an academic pioneer in the field of social entrepreneurship because of his similar work at Harvard Business School.

"In his first year here at Duke, after a distinguished career at Stanford, Greg has clearly tapped a rich vein of Duke student interest in the not-for-profit sector," Breeden said.

Dees said, "In a time when there are all of these questions about business, business schools are paying more attention to the social sector. We will be teaching people to bring an entrepreneurial mindset to social problems or issues. Entrepreneurship doesn't have to be just about starting a business.

"We do not presume to offer easy answers to society's problems, nor do we think the social sector should be recreated in the image of business," he said. "However, we do believe that social sector leaders, business school faculty and MBA students can all benefit by joining in a systematic search to find better ways to meet social needs."

Joining Dees as managing director of CASE is Beth Battle Anderson, a senior research associate at Fuqua who combines her MBA education from Stanford University with extensive nonprofit experience. She accompanied Dees when he was recruited by Fuqua to come to Duke in 2001.

"CASE will be working with social-sector leaders, Duke faculty and MBA students in several ways to further the field of social entrepreneurship and help create greater social impact," Anderson said.

Some of the planned activities include:

  • Developing six-to-nine-month strategy development programs for nonprofit organizations. Each program will be focused on a specific topic and will include both classroom and distance learning for the board members and senior executives of the participating organizations. The first program, called "Scaling for Social Impact," will be launched in fall 2003. Fuqua faculty and students will work closely with representatives from up to 15 organizations to help them develop a strategy for spreading their impact into new markets and communities.


  • Launching the Fuqua Board Fellows Program, which matches first- and second-year students with Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill nonprofit organizations. Students serve as non-voting board members and work to complete a consulting project over the course of the academic year.


  • Teaching students about and involving them in the social sector through a second-year elective on social entrepreneurship, as well as through related speakers and extra-curricular activities.


  • Providing financial support for faculty research designed to advance entrepreneurial leadership in the social sector.


  • Assisting with the development and administration of the Class of 2001 Loan Forgiveness Fund. The fund was a gift from the graduating MBA class of 2001. It assists graduates working in the nonprofit or public sectors with repayment of their student loans.


  • Working with the Social Enterprise Program of Duke's Start-Up Challenge, which creates a special category in the annual business plan competition for for-profit or nonprofit business plans whose primary mission is the creation of social impact. Participants learn about the unique challenges and opportunities related to creating social enterprises while competing for a $5,000 prize.

"CASE is founded on a deep respect for the talent, passion and dedication of people who are devoting their lives to working for the common good," Dees said. "We are committed to learning from and with them and helping them be successful."