I could scarcely believe my eyes when I read about the death of my friend Jim Crown on Sunday in Aspen. He was celebrating his 70th birthday with his family. A superb athlete and true competitor, he lost control of a race car on a turn and crashed into the wall, a fatal event.
Jim had just completed a deeply important piece of work for the Civic Committee on a public-private partnership on gun control. The goal was a stunning 80 percent reduction in gun violence in the next decade so that Chicago can be comparable to Los Angeles and New York City. He marshalled Corporate Chicago behind a jobs program for those most at risk of committing gun violence. He identified five pillars including scaled community violence prevention, policing and criminal justice reform, more hiring from under invested areas and investing directly into those areas. He recognized that business was late to the party but was the swing factor in turning the tide on guns.
Jim was the successor to his father Lester in the family business. Always understated and deeply effective, Jim was on the board of JPMorgan and General Dynamics. He was responsible for the turnaround of Aspen Highlands ski resort. Nobody understood better the positive role that business can play in society.
Jim’s work will not be in vain. I spoke earlier this week with Pastor Corey Brooks who founded Project Hood in Chicago. He told me that gun violence is unabated in the city, sharing multiple stories of the destruction of teens’ lives at the hands of guns. The youth of Chicago need Jim’s work to push on.
We will carry the torch that was lit by Jim Crown. Thank you pal, you will be missed immensely by all of your friends and family.
Richard Edelman is CEO.