Matthew Bishop, The Economist's New York Bureau Chief, and co-author of the highly acclaimed book Philanthrocapitalism talks with Lauren Bush, of FEED Projects, Charles Best, of DonorsChoose.org, and Scott Harrison of charity: water.
The conversation aims to spark ideas on innovative ways to give this season.
Charles Best leads DonorsChoose.org, a nonprofit organization which provides a simple way to address educational inequity. At DonorsChoose.org, public school teachers create classroom project requests and donors can pick the projects they want to support. Charles launched the organization twelve years ago out of a Bronx public high school where he taught history. DonorsChoose.org is one of Oprah Winfrey's "ultimate favorite things" and was named by Fast Company as one of the "50 Most Innovative Companies in the World," the first time a charity has received this recognition. For three years, Fortune Magazine has named Charles to its "40 under 40 hottest rising stars in business."
Matthew Bishop is the U.S. business editor and New York bureau chief of The Economist. His new book, The Road from Ruin: How to Renew Capitalism and Put America Back on Top, with Michael Green, was published by Crown in February 2010. Philanthrocapitalism, his previous book (also with Mr. Green) was on the global revolution under way in philanthropy. Mr. Bishop is also the author of Essential Economics, The Economist's official layperson's guide to economics.
Lauren Bush Lauren
Lauren Bush is the CEO, Creative Director, and Co-Founder of FEED Projects, as well as the Chairman of the Board and Co-Founder of the FEED Foundation. Lauren started her work as an Honorary Spokesperson for the World Food Programme (WFP) in 2004, when she helped to launch their Universities Fighting Hunger initiative. Over the past four years Lauren has traveled to many countries with WFP and UNICEF including Guatemala, Cambodia, Lesotho, Sri Lanka, Chad, Tanzania, Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, and Honduras to learn about the realities of poverty and hunger firsthand. Inspired by her travels, in 2005 she conceptualized and designed the initial FEED 1 bag, which feeds one child in school for one year through WFP, as a way for consumers to give back in a tangible and meaningful way.
In 2007, she started FEED Projects, LLC to sell FEED bags, and, in 2008, she co-founded the FEED Foundation to increase FEED’s impact in the fight against hunger. To date, FEED has partnered with companies like Whole Foods Market, Barnes & Noble, the Gap, HSN, Lord & Taylor, Pottery Barn, Bergdorf Goodman, Harrods, and many more. Through the sale of eco-friendly products, mainly bags, FEED Projects, in partnership with the FEED Foundation, has donated over $6 million dollars to the WFP’s school feeding program, which equates to over 60 million meals to school children.
In 2008, Lauren launched a new fashion brand, Lauren Pierce Atelier. By sourcing fabric that is handmade by women artisans around the world, as well as eco-friendly fabrics, this women’s wear line lives up to high environmental and humanitarian standards. Most of the fabric sourced to create the line has been hand-dyed by women in the Congo, thus making each piece beautiful and one-of-a-kind while also supporting women’s livelihoods. The line has been sold in stores around the world, such as Barneys New York. Lauren was born in Denver, Colorado, and grew up in Houston, Texas. As a model, Lauren has carved her own niche in the fashion world and was featured on the cover of various publications such as Vogue Australia, Glamour, Tatler, W, and Town and Country. Lauren graduated from Princeton University in 2006 with a B.A. in Anthropology and certificate in Photography. She now resides in New York City, where she works on FEED, Lauren Pierce, and other socially conscious and eco-friendly projects. In 2008, she was given the Marie Claire Prix De La Moda Humanitarian Award for her work with FEED. In 2009, she was honored as a Fortune Most Powerful Woman Entrepreneur, and in 2010 she was included on Inc.’s “30 Under 30” List and given the Accessory Council’s Humanitarian Award.
Scott Harrison spent 10 years as a New York City party promoter, throwing fashion and music events at top nightclubs for the likes of MTV, VH1, ABC TV, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Universal Records, Island Records, Bacardi, and Anheuser-Busch. In the fall of 2004, he returned to his childhood Christian faith and left nightlife to volunteer with a team of humanitarian doctors and surgeons onboard a hospital ship in Liberia, Africa. Armed with a pair of Nikons, Harrison spent eight months as the ship's volunteer photojournalist, documenting the incredible need he saw there.
Returning home to New York City a year later, he produced a large exhibition in Chelsea of more than 100 photographs and videos from the journey. The show gathered major media attention and brought in more than $96,000 in donations for medical procedures and freshwater well projects in Africa.
Following another six-month journey on the ship to West Africa, he returned to New York City to found the non-profit organization charity: water. Turning his full attention to the global water crisis and the 1.1 billion people without clean water to drink, he and a small team created exhibitions in galleries and outdoor parks, online campaigns, and nationally-aired public service announcements.
In three years, with the help of more than 60,000 donors from 200 countries and 300+ media mentions, charity: water has raised not only massive awareness, but more than $10 million, funding more than 1,400 water projects in 16 developing nations. Those projects will provide over 700,000 people with clean, safe drinking water.
Janera Soerel is the Founder and Publisher of JANERA.com. Born and raised on Curacao by Surinamese parents, Janera started college at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. and finished her undergraduate degree at the London School of Economics. She then obtained a Masters in Monetary Economics from Erasmus University in Rotterdam.
Economics degree in hand, Janera Soerel worked in investment banking on cross-border corporate finance deals in Italy and The Netherlands. Realizing that finance was not her life's work, she enrolled at Columbia University, graduating with a dual MBA/MIA degree in business and international affairs.
She subsequently spent time at a communications and branding firm in New York, where she learned about the power of the Web, images, and design.
Piles of unread issues of The Economist triggered an idea to create an attractive multimedia, content-driven global community Web site with a unique perspective on global politics and culture, for the mix of urban, educated, global gamechangers.