Michael Feigelson - Executive Director Bernard van Leer Foundation

Michael Feigelson has spent the last 15 years focused on working with governments, civil society and business to improve opportunities for children and youth.

As a Thomas J. Watson Fellow, Michael documented the life histories and worked closely with educators on three continents serving homeless children. He then served as a McKinsey & Company consultant where he worked primarily in the media and pharmaceutical industries. While his passion to serve children and families ultimately led him to leave the firm, it was during this experience that he developed a strong belief in the value of engaging the private sector as a champion for change – something he continues to promote today.

Following his time at McKinsey, Michael became a street outreach worker at Melel Xojobal, a local not-for-profit (and former grantee of the Bernard van Leer Foundation) in southern Mexico where he worked directly with children and families displaced by violent conflict helping them gain access to education and healthcare. After serving in this role, he joined the organization’s leadership team helping to transform its ability to advocate for children with government and local business.
Michael joined the Foundation as a Programme Officer in 2007. He then held the positions of Programme Manager, Programme Director and Interim Executive Director. Over this period, Michael led the development of the Foundation’s advocacy and programming strategy across eight countries and internationally; has been featured in media such as the Financial Times, CNN, BBC and The Stanford Social Innovation Review; and has served as a strategic advisor to partners such as UNICEF, the World Health Organization and The Open Society Foundations, among others.

Michael has degrees from Wesleyan and Princeton Universities where he spent much of his time focused on understanding the impact of social and economic policies on children and families; and – most importantly – he is the father of a beautiful girl who reminds him every day of the importance, the challenges, and the joy that comes with a child’s early years.

Watch Michael Feigelson's Keynote If you could experience the city from 95 cm, what would you change?

Download Michael Feigelson's Keynote If you could experience the city from 95 cm, what would you change?

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