Jim Schorr, a treasured friend and colleague who was a pathbreaking leader of social enterprise, passed away on February 11, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee surrounded by friends and family.
Jim believed deeply in the transformational power of social enterprise and spent his life developing institutions to catalyze the growth of the field.
We will be co-hosting a Bay Area memorial for Jim and will post more details on this space soon.
While a student, Jim co-founded Net Impact, a nonprofit dedicated to making social issues a relevant forceful presence in business schools across the US. He became CEO of Juma Ventures, one of the most well-respected, large-scale social enterprises in the country. He was at various times Board Chair, Board member, and CEO of the Social Enterprise Alliance (SEA), influencing the organization’s strategy and field development initiatives over many years. He also chaired the Social Enterprise World Forum, helping to inspire leaders around the world through international convenings. And he was a Professor at Vanderbilt University, founding the school’s social entrepreneurship program.
Jim was a member of REDF’s Advisory Council. On a personal note, I had the pleasure of garnering Jim’s advice and counsel on many occasions. He recruited me to the Board of SEA, making the case for the critically important role of SEA in building out what he saw as the most vital segment of the US economy – social enterprise. When I saw Jim, the first thing he always wanted to share with me was a story about his students – their interests, their creative ideas, their efforts to create social enterprises that would really make a difference. And he urged me always to think expansively about the role of REDF, and of social enterprise.
Jim wrote a blog for REDF a few years ago. You can see his enthusiasm shine through.
A while ago, he sent me a box of cards with quotations made by a social enterprise, as he was coming to grips with the turn in his health. He highlighted one he liked a lot in a recent email. In simple form, this quote was Jim. The best way to remember him today is to continue on in his spirit.
How do you say “thank you” for sunshine
or health…for clear days or gentle rains,
for happiness, joy, or love?
You say it by sharing what you have.
You say it by making the world a
better place in which to live.
– Thomas Willhite