If we are fortunate, our lives will intersect with individuals of immense character, integrity and vision, and, through those intersections, we will derive not just inspiration, but wisdom and spirit. James Schine Crown was such an individual.
Jim’s prominence as an elite corporate leader is well established. But at the root of this success lay characteristics that transcend business and shine a light on the remarkable essence of Jim Crown.
Jim believed that the world, despite its flaws and sorrows, was reparable, and he felt deeply an obligation to pursue those repairs. He immersed himself in the things that brought people together, brought people forward and bettered the lives of those on the edges. Through it all, he viewed the world with compassion and curiosity.
In 2007, Jim and his daughter Hayley accompanied me on a week-long trip to India to visit a number of Global Fund for Children’s innovative community-based partners. During this trip, Jim connected with the directors of these organizations, and, more significantly, with the children served by them. I vividly remember Jim sitting on a dusty old floor, cross-legged in a circle, at SUPPORT, a GFC partner in Mumbai that works with street boys recovering from drug addiction and facilitates social and familial reintegration. Jim sat rapt, listening to former street boys, thoroughly engaged with these young souls. He questioned them, he learned from them, and, in the end, I believe they inspired him as much as he might have inspired them. After that visit, the rest of us took some down time to rest, but not Jim. He quietly went to meet with a CEO of a major bank and told me he would be back by dinner. His energy was remarkable.
Jim believed in people, both collectively and individually. His warmth was contagious, stemming from an innate respect for the integrity of everyone he met. His support and sponsorship catalyzed the efforts of so many people he encountered, who had ideas but needed guidance, strategic counsel, or just the validation of someone believing in their work. For twenty years, Jim was a mentor, a sponsor and a wonderful friend who provided me wisdom and support. He introduced me to The Aspen Institute, where ideas flourish, and nominated me for the Henry Crown Fellowship, which gave me the gift of a powerful and wonderful community. He, his wonderful wife, Paula and Hayley backed me and they never failed to offer their best view of what I was about.
But above all, Jim cherished his family. He was a loving husband to Paula and a marvelous father to four remarkable children—Torie, Hayley, W. Andrew, and Summer – devoted grandfather and wonderful son to Lester and Renee. My and my family’s heart are with them.
The world has lost a remarkable human being imbued with the rarest traits of optimism, energy, and that most precious of attributes, hope. Jim’s was a life well lived and based in the highest humanistic ideals, a life that will continue to inform and inspire. May all those whose lives he touched find peace in the warmth of memory.
President & CEO
Society for Science
Executive Publisher, Science News
Photo credit: The Aspen Institute
Global Fund for Children (GFC) UK Trust, created in 2006, is a UK registered charity (UK charity number 1119544). We work to generate vital income, create new fundraising opportunities, and raise awareness of the invaluable work of GFC’s grassroots grantees. Our aim is to extend the reach of GFC in the United Kingdom, Europe, and beyond.
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