Social entrepreneur Lauren Bush Lauren named Moynihan Spirit of Public Service Award winner

Bush-Lauren,-LaurenThe Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University is pleased to announce that Lauren Bush Lauren, the founder and CEO of FEED Projects, is the inaugural winner of the School’s Moynihan Spirit of Public Service Award, named for the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan.  She will receive the award during a celebration of the School’s 90th anniversary in Washington, DC, on November 20, 2014.

For more than 10 years, Lauren has dedicated herself to developing innovative ways to engage the public in the fight to end world hunger.  In 2004, after seeing the effects of poverty and hunger firsthand while 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.  The organization was launched in 2007 with the sale of a reversible burlap and organic cotton bag, reminiscent of the bags in which food is distributed by the WFP.

Since then, FEED has gone on to forge successful partnerships with companies like Target, Disney, Pottery Barn, Whole Foods, Gap, west elm, and TOMS Shoes, working together to design and develop co-branded products such as handbags, apparel, jewelry, and dishware.  Some of these items are sold through the FEED website; others are available through partner stores.

Every item sold has a set donation added to its price and, to date, the social business has been able to donate more than $10.4 million and provide 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.” 

The Moynihan Spirit of Public Service Award is given by the Maxwell School to an individual or organization whose life and work reflect a creative and passionate commitment to public service and to translating ideas into action — qualities that characterize the exceptional career of Senator Moynihan as a thinker, teacher, and leader.  Winners also embody the Maxwell School’s dedication to understanding complex issues. 

“Lauren Bush Lauren’s work reflects a remarkable commitment to addressing the daunting challenge of world hunger through widening public awareness and developing innovative mechanisms for facilitating financial support. It’s the kind of pragmatic yet effective strategy that was so characteristic of Senator Moynihan’s approach to public policy and public service,” said Maxwell School Dean James Steinberg. 

Statesman, diplomat, scholar, intellectual, historian, and politician, four-time U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan was a highly respected leader in the worlds of politics, academia, and public affairs. His extraordinary capacity to convert insight into action mirrors the blending of theory, policy, and practice that is distinctive about the Maxwell School and Syracuse University, where Senator Moynihan twice belonged to the faculty. His career exemplified the values of enlightened and engaged citizenship that are embodied in the Maxwell School’s name.

Founded in 1924, the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs is among America’s top graduate schools in public affairs; it is consistently ranked number one in that category by U.S.News & World Report.  Alongside its professional degrees in public administration and international relations are PhD programs in the social sciences (e.g., political science, geography, anthropology, history, sociology, and economics); undergraduate teaching in the social sciences – including a new Citizenship and Civic Engagement major -- and topically focused interdisciplinary research institutes.

In this, the School’s 90th anniversary year, Maxwell is launching its Tenth Decade Project to develop and fund further initiatives in citizenship education, scholarship, and engagement. When completed, the project will allow Maxwell to approach its 2024 centennial with a range of new programs ideally suited to the future of both the School and the world at large. 10/15/14