Through her stylish and socially conscious goods, Lauren Bush Lauren has set out to end hunger one meal at a time.
In every field there are game changers. The Michael Jordans, the Apples, and now, the Warby Parkers. Led by co-founders Neil Blumenthal and David Gilboa, Warby Parker is forever altering the way people think about buying glasses and giving back. Inspired by their work, we partnered with WP to recognize other outstanding socially conscious organizations in our second annual Visionaries Series. These are the innovators who aretangibly changing our world for the better. Check back weekly to meet the complete Class of 2013. May the way they see the world inspire you to do your part this season.
The Person: Lauren Bush Lauren
The Business: "FEED's mission is to create good products that help FEED the world. We aim to help people who are hungry around the world and here in America. FEED is a conduit for people to become donors and advocates in helping to end world hunger."
The Idea: "I was inspired to start FEED after traveling around the world with the UN World Food Programme as a student. Approximately 870 million people around the world are food insecure, which means they don't necessarily know where their next meal is coming from. I wanted to find a way in which I could help the people I had met on these travels and also create a way for others to engage in the issue of world hunger, which is extremely large and overwhelming. At the same time, I was also taking fashion design classes. The idea for the first FEED bag came to me as a way to galvanize support to help feed children in school in the poorest countries around the world. For each of the original FEED 1 bags sold, we are able to make a donation to feed one child in school for one year. And from this first bag, FEED began."
The Goal: "My ultimate goal is for FEED to go out of business because the hunger problem around the world would be solved and there would be no need for our support any longer."
The Impact: "FEED's first big partnership was with Whole Foods Market, who came on board to sell our FEED 100 bag across the country. With just that one partnership, we were able to provide school meals to all the schoolchildren of Rwanda for a year. To have such a large impact through a simple bag idea and a great partnership was extremely gratifying, especially early on when FEED was just starting. During this partnership, I visited Rwanda. There was a girl at one of the schools we visited in a rural and very poor region of Rwanda. She was going to school and getting an education, in part because at school she was receiving this free school lunch everyday. When I asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, her answer really took me aback. She said, "I want to be the first female president of Rwanda". I love that my work with FEED was in a small, but important way, supporting her big dreams for her life and for her community and country."
The Inspiration: "I am inspired everyday because I get to be an entrepreneur, which is always exciting and different; because I get to work with people who are dedicated, creative, and thoughtful; and because ultimately, we get to provide people with the essential food and nutrition that everyone needs and deserves."
The Surprise: "I have been happily surprised with the power of a simple idea and a line of bags and accessories to have provided over 75 million meals to people around the world. It still amazes and delights me to see a stranger carrying a FEED bag down the street."
The X-Factor: "I think FEED's success can be attributed to our simple model. Every product we sell has a number clearly printed on it, which signifies the amount of meals given per each sale. Therefore, the impact we have through each sale is very tangle and meaningful for customers."
The Future: "I envision FEED continuing to evolve our product offering and customer engagement, and therefore, continue to have a large impact in the meals we are able to give to people in need around the world as well as invest in sustainable development programs that are working to end hunger, including expanding our work with artisans."
The Visionary in Her Eyes: "I have great admiration for Professor Muhammad Yunus, who not only created the idea of micro-credit for the most poor, but is also the father of Social Business, which is the idea that you can do business with the core purpose of giving back and making the world a better place."
The Message: "Treat your neighbor as you would like to be treated. Be creative and use your talents to better the lives of others. And buy FEED bags!"