Fourth annual Feigenbaum Forum to highlight social innovation

Publication Date

Three entrepreneurs who are addressing important challenges through creative social enterprises will headline the fourth annual Feigenbaum Forum on Innovation and Creativity.

“Social Innovation: Food Insecurity, Recidivism and Barriers to Social Opportunity,” is the title of the forum, which will be held Thursday, March 7, at 5 p.m. in the Nott Memorial. It is free and open to the public.

Vanessa Kirsch, founder and CEO of New Profit, a venture philanthropy organization, will provide opening remarks.

President David R. Harris will moderate a discussion with Kirsch; Curt Ellis, co-founder and CEO of FoodCorps; and Marcus Bullock, founder and CEO of Flikshop.

A question and answer session will follow.

Pictured left to right: Vanessa Kirsch, Curt Ellis, Marcus Bullock

Left to right: Vanessa Kirsch, Curt Ellis, Marcus Bullock

For 20 years, New Profit has provided growth capital and strategic support to social entrepreneurs. Before founding New Profit in 1998, Kirsch launched two other social enterprises, Public Allies and the Women’s Information Network (WIN). She was named “Entrepreneur of the Year” by Ernst & Young and has been recognized as a leader of her generation by Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report and Forbes.

Ellis is a leading voice in America’s food movement. “King Corn,” a film he co-created, shaped policy debate about the Farm Bill and earned a George Foster Peabody Award. He has been recognized as a Draper Richards Kaplan Fellow, a Claneil Foundation Emerging Leader, a Kellogg Food and Community Fellow and a New Profit Social Entrepreneur. He was also a recipient of the Heinz Award and Pearl Award.

Flikshop is a free mobile app that enables incarcerated people to receive personalized postcards from their families, building community and decreasing recidivism. Bullock also founded the Flikshop School of Business, a program that teaches life skills and entrepreneurship to returning citizens. He is an inaugural cohort member of Techstars Anywhere 2018 and John Legend’s Unlocked Futures Business Accelerators.

The innovation forum is supported by the Feigenbaum Foundation, created by brothers Armand V. Feigenbaum ’42 and Donald S. Feigenbaum ‘46, longtime benefactors to Union.

Acknowledged world leaders in systems engineering and total quality control, the brothers founded General Systems Co., a Pittsfield, Mass.-based international systems engineering firm that designs and helps implement operational systems for corporations and governments worldwide. Armand died November 2014; Donald, March 2013.

For more than a dozen years, the brothers hosted the Feigenbaum Forum, a gathering on campus at which academicians discussed characteristics of a new generation of leaders and how better to integrate liberal arts and other studies. The current series builds on this event by bringing in prominent speakers who have revolutionized their fields of endeavor through contributions deemed innovative and creative.

Previous speakers have included Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist and author Thomas Friedman; John E. Kelly III ’76, a senior vice president at IBM; Howard Gardner, an internationally-renowned psychologist; and distinguished artist and designer Maya Lin, whose work includes the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Civil Rights Memorial.

Videos about the speakers' organizations: