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90th Anniversary Observances

Look Who's 90 | Lectures, Panels, Symposia | 90th Anniversary Party | Gathering in Washington | Carrying Forward the Spirit of the Senator

Carrying Forward the Spirit of the Senator

Social entrepreneur Lauren Bush Lauren is the first recipient of the Maxwell School’s new Moynihan Spirit of Public Service Award.

To celebrate its anniversary and extend its legacy of public service, the Maxwell School last fall created the Moynihan Spirit of Public Service Award. Inaugural honoree Lauren Bush Lauren, founder and CEO of FEED Projects, received the award at Maxwell’s 90th anniversary event on November 20.

The award honors those whose life and work reflect a creative and passionate commitment to public service, to understanding complex issues, and to translating ideas into action — qualities that characterize the career of longtime U.S. Senator (and former Maxwell faculty member) Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

Lauren Lauren kneeling in the red earth of a Kenyan playground and smiling at a Kenyan schoolgirl
Lauren Bush Lauren (left) in Kenya

“. . . the kind of pragmatic yet effective strategy that was so characteristic of Senator Moynihan’s approach . . .”

Lauren has dedicated herself to developing innovative ways to engage the public in the fight to end world hunger.  In 2004, after traveling in Asia, Latin America, and Africa as an honorary student spokesperson for the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP), Lauren conceptualized the idea for FEED Projects, which develops products such as burlap tote bags, handbags, apparel, jewelry and dishware, the sale of which benefits anti-poverty initiatives.

Thanks to partnerships with companies like Target, Disney, Pottery Barn, Whole Foods, and Gap — as well as sales through the FEED website — the social business has donated more than $10.4 million and provided nearly 84 million school meals globally through the WFP and Feeding America. FEED has also supported nutrition programs around the world, providing vitamin supplements to more than 3.5 million children through UNICEF.  Forbes magazine calls FEED “a for-profit venture with a social conscience.”

Dean James Steinberg applauded Lauren’s emphasis on widening public awareness and innovative mechanisms of financial support. “It’s the kind of pragmatic yet effective strategy,” Steinberg said, “that was so characteristic of Senator Moynihan’s approach to public policy and public service.”

This article appeared in the winter 2015 print edition of Maxwell Perspective; © 2015 Maxwell School of Syracuse University. To request a copy, e-mail