We are mourning the loss of our board member and dear friend, Jim Rogers. Jim was the former Duke Energy CEO and was an iconic leader in the electric utility industry for almost 25 years. Jim saw basic electricity access as a human right. In 2015, he authored “Lighting the World: Transforming Our Energy Future by Bringing Electricity to Everyone,” in which he advocated for energy access for the 1.2 billion rural poor with the use of renewable energy. He was a key supporter for renewable energy programs at Duke University, including the Duke’s Energy Access Project, in collaboration with the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. He also co-founded Global Brightlight, a foundation which distributed solar lanterns to rural communities in Africa and South America.
We met Jim after reading his book, Lighting the World, and hearing him lecture at UC Berkeley. He generously spent an entire morning in our office learning about We Care Solar and within a week had agreed to join our board.
For We Care Solar, Jim was a champion for our energy education program. As a strong supporter of STEM education, Jim brought our We Share Solar Suitcase program to Charlotte in partnership with Wells Fargo. This year, he spent National STEM Day building Solar Suitcases side-by-side with eighth graders at the Kennedy Middle School in Charlotte. “We Share Solar makes science real,” he told reporters, “I’m impressed with how intensely [students] are at building suitcases!” With his kind, sensitive demeanor, he treated the students with the same respect he gave adults
Jim was a wonderful mentor and friend, offering sage advice with warmth and a tender humility. He cared deeply about our mission and was a strong advocate for our healthcare and education program, providing inspiration and strategic mentorship.
We are grateful that Jim shared himself so generously with our organization, and we are heartbroken that the world has lost this amazing bright light.
We send our condolences to his wife, M.A., his son, Ben, and the rest of the Rogers family.
An obituary from the New York times is linked below: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/21/obituaries/james-rogers-dead.html