Adam Lowy; Photo Credit: Dear World

BHSI Fellow Update: Adam Lowy

Applications for the 2014 Bluhm-Helfand Social Innovation Fellowship are now open and over the next month, we’ll be profiling the social innovators, civic leaders and creative thinkers who make up the ranks of BHSI alum.  And if you’re a social entrepreneur 35 years old or younger with a civic venture that is helping re-shape our society for the better, apply to be a 2014 BHSI Fellow here.

2011 BHSI Fellow Adam Lowy, Executive Director of Move for Hunger, caught us up on his organization’s growth, the inspiration he took from CIW and where he sees Move for Hunger in the next few years 
Move For Hunger has an innovative approach to assisting food banks.  Can you tell us more about how Move For Hunger works and the types of success you’ve seen?
Move For Hunger works with relocation companies to pick up the unopened, non-perishable food items when people move and deliver them to local food banks in need.  In under 5 years, Move For Hunger has grown to work with over 600 movers and 5,000 realtors in 48 states and Canada.  Together, we have delivered enough food to provide over 2,000,000 meals to individuals in need.
What did you gain from your experience as a BHSI Fellow?
It was an incredible experience that helped create new friendships, ideas and innovations.  The experience helped me grow both personally and professionally and has truly had an impact on the growth of my organization.  My highlights were dinner with Scott Harrison of charity: water—an organization that I truly admire—as well as our breakfast with Livestrong’s Doug Ulman. I’m pleased to share that Move For Hunger launched a Race Team this year so people can literally “Move” for hunger (yes, I love puns). After speaking to Doug about the power of crowdfunding in the endurance market, I’ve been trying to find a way to work this in.  It’s a perfect fit, and best of all, we’ve been able to rescue all the leftover food from the races we participate in!
Tell us about your next steps.  What do you have planned for Move for Hunger in the coming year and how can the CIW community help?
We’re continuing to grow our network and reach to educate and mobilize more people to take action against hunger in their communities.  We plan to launch a student program later this year to get more young people involved in our hunger fight.  Additionally, we are looking for new channels within our industry to rescue food without creating work.  Making hunger relief part of a process that increases our partners’ business is how we’ve found success. 
What advice would you give future BHSI Fellows and CIW attendees to ensure they get the most out of Ideas Week? 
Meet everyone.  There are so many amazing speakers and individuals that attend CIW. Try to get to know them.  Most importantly, don’t try to sell yourself or your organization.  If you go into the week trying to give more value than you receive, you’ll be surprised at all the amazing conversations that happen organically.  Let your guard down.  Learn something new. Create something that can change the world.
Q&As are edited for clarity and length.

Erin Robertson is managing editor at Chicago Ideas.

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