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Penthouse Symposium No. 15: Rethinking Philanthropy.
Sorrento Hotel
Seattle, WA
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Penthouse Symposium No. 15: Rethinking Philanthropy.
An evening of conversation with 6 of our countries most compelling young World Changers: Adam Braun (Pencils of Promise), Ellen Gustafson (Feed Foundation and 30 Project), Sean Carasso (Falling Whistles), Neil Blumenthal and David Gilboa (Warby Parker), and Matthew Segal (Our Time).    

Adam Braun. As a college student traveling across the globe, Adam asked a small boy begging on the streets of India what he wanted most in the world. The answer: A pencil. The promise that came in handing out that first pencil led to the sharing of thousands while backpacking through 50+ countries, learning from locals about the need for a nonprofit that built schools based on a model of community ownership and empowerment.

Pencils of Promise was founded in October 2008 with a mere $25 in hopes of building one school in Laos. The movement that grew out of the PoP approach of nonprofit idealism and for-profit business accountability soon encouraged Adam to leave his job at Bain & Company and work exclusively on realizing the PoP dream. Today, that dream has manifested into more than 40 schools in Laos, Nicaragua and Guatemala. In creating a dedicated community of over 250,000 members, PoP has become a leader in social media engagement, sustainable development, youth empowerment and digital innovation.

Ellen Gustafson is the Founder and Executive Director of the 30 Project, a campaign to address global hunger and obesity as one global malnutrition problem and to develop long-term solutions for food system change. The 30 Project is hosting and inspiring dinners around the country and world to promote a new dialogue and new solutions to a better food system.
She is the Co-Founder of FEED Projects and the FEED Foundation, a company and non-profit that create good products which have helped provide over 60 million school meals to children globally. Prior to FEED, Ellen worked at the UN World Food Programme, ABC News and the Council on Foreign Relation. She has a BA from Columbia. She was one of Fortune's 2009 Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs, Inc's 2010 30 Under 30, has given a TED talk, and is a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Sean Carasso. An avid adventurer, Sean left college early to travel the world with John Paul DeJoria and with every step wanted to see more. In 2008 he went to South Africa on a TOMS Shoe Drop and traveled north into the Democratic Republic of Congo. There he learned of children sent to the front lines of war, armed with only a whistle.  

That night he wrote a small journal called Falling Whistles that was forwarded around the world. He received thousands of emails asking, what can we do? The Falling Whistles campaign was born with a simple response - make their weapon your voice and be a whistleblower for peace.  Out of his garage-office in Venice California, FW has partnered with local leaders in Congo to rehabilitate hundreds of women and children and is creating a global coalition for peace in our world's deadliest war.  

Neil Blumenthal loves helping people see. Determined to radically transform the eyewear industry, Neil and three friends launched Warby Parker ( Warby Parker designs and sells vintage-inspired frames and prescription lenses for $95 whereas comparable quality glasses cost $500. And, for every pair sold, a pair is given to someone in need.

Neil had been the Director of VisionSpring, a non-profit social enterprise that trains low-income women to start their own business selling affordable eyeglasses to individuals living on less than $4 per day in South Asia, Africa and Latin America. He was responsible for developing VisionSpring's award-winning strategy (Fast Company Social Capitalist Award '08, '07 and '05) and expanding VisionSpring's global presence from one to 10 countries. In 2005, Neil was named a Fellow for Emerging Leaders in Public Service at NYU Robert F. Wagner School for Public Service. Prior to joining VisionSpring, he worked with the International Crisis Group and attended the Institute for International Mediation and Conflict Resolution in The Hague, Netherlands. Neil received his BA from Tufts University and his MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania where he was both a Social Enterprise Fellow and a Leadership Fellow.

Matthew Segal co-founded OUR TIME ( in 2011 to channel the consumer power and voting strength of Americans under 30 in a united membership organization. In building OUR TIME, Matthew merged the Student Association for Voter Empowerment (SAVE), a voting rights campaign he founded in college, with Declare Yourself, a national civic engagement organization founded by Norman Lear, which registered nearly 4 million young Americans to vote.

In early 2009, Matthew co-founded the 80 Million Strong Coalition, the largest campaign of organizations in the United States that addressed youth unemployment and other economic challenges facing individuals under 30. In this capacity, Matthew spearheaded a national jobs summit of hundreds of young leaders, provided testimony to the House Education and Labor Committee, and was the only youth representative invited to attend President Obama's conference on jobs and economic growth. Matthew is a contributing writer to the Huffington Post, is frequently quoted in the press, appears regularly on CNN and MSNBC.


Sorrento Hotel (View)
900 Madison St.
Seattle, WA 98104
United States


Other > Charity

Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


Owner: Sorrento Hotel
On BPT Since: Oct 02, 2009
Kerri Benecke

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