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Center for Religion, Spirituality, and Social Justice

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Ali Brown 4

Fri, 2013-01-04 02:23 | By Anonymous (not verified)

Here we have another late report. Apparently Africa is still in my blood and I am still doing things slowly. I am back in the States. So is my luggage. So is Lauren. The latter two almost didn't make it. Just as my luggage was lost when I arrived in Lesotho last January, it was also lost when I left Lesotho this December. Just as Lauren realized her money belt was missing when we arrived at the Joburg airport last January, she realized her ticket was missing at the Joburg airport the day we were leaving this December. But in the end we and our luggage arrived back in the States. Now I am sitting here in a coffee shop with wireless internet trying to think about Africa while strong Wisconsin accents echo in my ears. Because the accents are so thick I have trouble understanding what the people are saying - it's almost like I'm still in Africa.

People keep asking me, "SO, how was Africa?" I haven't figured out how to answer that question in a clever and witty two to three sentences yet. I usually wait a moment or two, tilt my head upward toward the ceiling, put on my most profound-looking face and say, "It was good." At this point the other party decides that I have lost my command of the English language (which is not entirely untrue) and leaves me looking like an idiot studying the ceiling. At least they save me from saying, "Will you borrow me your pen for a moment?"

I've never lived in a place I had to leave knowing that I may never see it and its people again. Sure we all graduate from Grinnell and are sad to leave, but we know that we will be dragged back at some point. We know Grinnellians will continue to infiltrate our lives. But, I don't know about St. Rodrigue. Unless I can trick someone else into paying for the plane ticket, the chances are pretty slim that I will see Lesotho again in the near future.

Of all the things that I had to leave, I think it was hardest to leave the students - these students I have gotten to know, in whom I have invested my time, who have amazed me, made me want to cry, made me laugh - they are going to go on with their lives next year and I won't be there to see their struggles and successes. I don't know how teachers do it year after year, coming to know and care about a group of students only to say good-bye to them a year later. And there are routines and skills that took me a year to build, to develop and now I won't be there to sustain them. There are students who I know have a chance at making it to university and I want to be there to continue to encourage them. There are students who I know will never make it to university, but who I have watched gain confidence in themselves, become proud of things they have accomplished. I want to be there to continue to emphasize the value of their successes no matter how seemingly small. I suppose this is what it means to be a teacher.

Another question I have been asked, "So, was it worth it?" Another long pause and a contemplative look and I answer quite brilliantly, "Yes." Little scenes flash before my eyes. One example is the way that the students would sometimes alter their standard greeting when I walked into the classroom. Their usual greeting goes like this:

Class: Good morning 'M'e Aliiiii. (said with a drawn out raised intonation at the end of Ali)
Me: Good morning B2's.
Class: How are you, 'M'e Aliiiii?
Me: I am just fine. How are you?
Class: We are very well, thank you, 'M'e Aliiii.
Me: Good.
Class: (say little prayer)
Me: And you may be seated.
Class: Thank you 'M'e Aliiiii.

Now if on that day, let's say the students have found out that I have a visitor from "America" and I have not brought this visitor to meet them then the greeting will go as follows:

Class: Good morning 'M'e Aliiiii.
Me: Good morning B2's.
Class: How are you, 'M'e Aliiiii?
Me: I am just fine. How are you?
Class: We are NOT WELL!
Me: Good-What?!
Class: (say little prayer)
Me: And you may be seated.
Class: Thank you, 'M'e Aliiiii.
Me: Now what is the problem?

The class erupts into chaos as 45 students try to tell me how I have wronged them.

Now one particular day, let's say on Wednesday November 3, 2004, I went into class with my heart heavy (like most democrats, I would assume), and when they asked, "How are you, 'M'e Aliiiii?" I was the one to say, "I am NOT WELL!" It amused me to no end to see their startled little faces. Following my little outburst, we talked about the politics in the United States briefly and then they began to tell me about the politics of Lesotho. Virtually everyone had an opinion on the matter- a very strong opinion. I put an end to the discussion before any physical violence occurred. After school a few of them came up to me and told me some more about their political system. I loved to see them demonstrate knowledge about a topic in which they felt invested.

During my year at St. Rodrigue there were times I questioned whether the students were improving at all, whether my presence was helping or hindering them. A friend who has just finished her first semester teaching was telling me that she can't see any improvement in her students yet. I told her that I thought half a year was too soon to judge. So future Lesotho fellows take note, I know I saw small changes in the students by the end of the first term, but I couldn't have said that I thought their English was better, that they understood me better. But they were learning. By November I was coming home every couple days impressed with something my students had done that I know they couldn't have done a year before. My students put together a newspaper (full of errors but still readable). My maths class demonstrated through a competition that they knew how to communicate with each other, to work in a group. I found myself spending 3-4 minutes on directions as opposed to my 15-20 in the beginning of the year. I consider all of this progress when I remember that I started my year unable to communicate what I meant by, "What is your name? What should I call you?"

I find myself just wanting to write about various students' accomplishments. Some of these accomplishments might seem small, but the small accomplishments need to be celebrated. At some point while in Lesotho I realized that I had to adjust my expectations, expectations of my students as well as myself. No matter how much I would like to believe that all of these girls could go to University if they wanted to, the truth is that most of them won't. But that does not mean that they can't feel successful, or that they are failures. These students that I got to know are amazing. Some of them have gone through so much to be at school. Some of them are living with no parents. But every single one of them is able to take care of herself in a way that most American girls do not. The girls living at the hostel live on their own, cooking and cleaning for themselves every day. It is not just school that defines them. They demonstrate their abilities in many ways.

I am so glad to have had this opportunity to teach in Lesotho. While not always perfect, it was a wonderful experience. I think it is an exciting time at St. Rodrigue right now. In the last few years the students results on their tests have improved, the volleyball team won the national championship, and they now have a computer at the convent! Sister Armelina, the principal, is always looking for ways to improve the school. She is progressive and always open to new ideas. I found her to be an excellent resource, comfort, and partner in the effort to educate our students to the best of our abilities. People are often asking how they can help the school so I just wanted to mention some of the things that Sister Armelina is trying to work on for the school. She is trying to get funding for stoves for the girls' hostel, a school vehicle, teachers' housing, and a computer for the school. One of the things that she wants to try to change is the way the library works. She is looking for help on how to reorganize it and how to use it to run extra-help sessions during the day, almost as classes. I also think that the school would benefit tremendously from a school newspaper or newsletter and Sister Armelina is enthusiastic about the idea. If I was able to stay longer that is one thing I would want to continue to work on.

To those of you who have read my reports during the year, who have sent me mail and packages, who have answered my phone calls, and sent me good thoughts across the Atlantic, thank you. To those of you who are applying or going to St. Rodrigue, good luck and enjoy it!

Herrick Chapel

The chapel’s interior exhibits the timber-trussed vaulted ceiling typical of the spacious Perpendicular Gothic style. Also characteristic are the high clerestory windows, which admit more light than is the case in other church styles. Seating about 700 people (630 in the nave and 70 in the balcony), the chapel is in basilica form with a narthex or vestibule on the west, broad nave with a center aisle plus side columns and aisles, and apse at the east end. Above the latter area is a representation in stained glass of William Holman Hunt’s painting, "The Light of the World," and on the west side a rendering of Heinrich Hoffman’s “The Ascension.”

There is a bronze plaque in the vestibule honoring the 11 Congregational ministers who, as the Iowa Band, founded Iowa College in Davenport. A large marble plaque in the northwest corner of the nave contains the names of a number of Grinnell students who, as enlistees in the Union Army, died in the Civil War. Also of interest is the reredos, or carved wooden screen, gracing the space behind the altar. Although its exterior looks solid and strong, with Gothic buttresses on the north and south sides, the chapel structure contrasts with the heavy stone walls and weighty arches and domes of the Romanesque-style Goodnow Hall.

The excellent acoustic properties of the chapel's interior make the building particularly suitable for concerts and recitals as well as for performances on the Aeolian-Skinner organ. Installed in 1948, the organ contains 4,000 pipes in 66 ranks and is considered one of the finest instruments of its kind in the Midwest. An adjunct of the organ is the Ethel L. Jones carillon, a Schulmerich instrument that rings out over the campus at every commencement, reunion weekend, and other occasions. Services are held each Sunday and at other times in the chapel, and it is also the site of lectures, panel discussions, and other activities. The building has undergone two renovations with accompanying rededications in 1949 and 1980.

Herrick Chapel is located on Park Street across from 7th Avenue. On-street parking is available nearby. Accessible parking is located in the lots behind Macy House and Harry Hopkins House. See Maps and Directions for more information.

Jerry' Greenfield's Keynote Presentation

Jerry Greenfield delivers the keynote speech at the Grinnell Prize Symposium in November 2012.

Credit: Blur MediaWorks

>>SARAH PURCELL: So it is my real privilege to introduce Jerry Greenfield this afternoon. I first met Jerry when he was here for the commencement of his son Tyrone Greenfield who was a Grinnellian from the class of 2011 and I was lucky to have Tyrone in class and I was pleased to meet Jerry and I knew that we just had to find the right opportunity to invite him to come back to campus and inspire us all with his great vision and enthusiasm and what better opportunity than the Grinnell Prize Symposium. The keynote for this symposium is intended to be a kind of matched set with our Prize winners. The Grinnell Prize honors people under the age of 40 who have made great strides for social justice and social change and then the idea of the keynote is to have someone who is a master figure in social justice who has made a longer lifelong contribution to social change and Jerry very naturally came to mind.

You all know him probably of course as one of the co-founders of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream. He met his friend Ben Cohen in junior high school actually so and they started Ben and Jerry's after Jerry had graduated from Oberlin College and they started their first ice cream store in a refurbished gas station in Burlington, Vermont in the spring of 1978. And their product was such an immediate hit that they began to sell ice cream out of Jerry's car and kind of driving around as an itinerant ice cream business and very soon afterwards they began to franchise Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream and the rest is kind of business history in the later 20th and early 21st century.

But from the beginning focused their business or part of their business on having philanthropic and social mission with a portion of the profits of Ben and Jerry's always being donated to the Ben and Jerry's foundation, which has participated in many many good works, many kinds of projects for social justice and progress in the United States. And they also are committed to things like fair trade and honest sourcing of goods for the ice cream. In 2000, they sold the company Ben and Jerry's to Unilever and they've been very touted for part of the agreement with Unilever was that they would continue to donate part of the profits to the foundation to continue their good work and Jerry in particular has also continued to have a hands-on role with the company since that time.

Jerry Greenfield personally, even aside from the company, has really been quite a humanitarian and a real source of social justice in the United States and other parts of the world, he's won a lot of recognition for those efforts including a James Beard Humanitarian of the Year Award and the Peace Museum's Community Peacemaker of the Year Award and we're always proud to claim him as a Grinnell parent, but today we're here to hear his inspiration and how he can help the social justice prize winners and all of us to be inspired. You've already had part of his talk, but he's here for "An Afternoon of Social Responsibility, Radical Business Philosophy, and Free Ice Cream," so please welcome Jerry Greenfield.

>>JERRY GREENFIELD:

Well, nice to see you all. How's everybody doing? Thanks for coming. I'm really honored to be here particularly as part of this symposium and I'm only sorry that I didn't get here earlier to listen to the prizewinners earlier today, but I'm going to speak with them later

>>AUDIENCE MEMBER: Your microphone is not working now, so speak up or I'll come fix it.

>>JERRY GREENFIELD: What should I do? Just talk louder right? [laughter] Yeah. Talk louder, I can do that. Yeah, right, this is better. Nice to see you all here anyway isn't it? Alright, well, so. I'm going to talk about Ben and Jerry's, how we started, how we tried to operate the company. You many notice Ben is not here so, I'll be able to tell some really good stories about Ben. Sarah also mentioned that Ben and Jerry's is no longer an independent company. It got bought in 2000 by this company Unilever, which most people haven't heard in this country. Unilever is this international company has brands like Ragu spaghetti sauce and Wishbone salad dressing. They have a very good sense of humor, on the same day they bought Ben and Jerry's, they also bought Slimfast.

[laughter]

So, can you guys hear me okay in the back or should I talk louder, because I can do louder too. No problem, so, and selling the company was not something we wanted to do. It was nothing about Unilever, we wanted to remain an independent company, but Ben and Jerry's was a public company at the time, and Unilever essentially offered so much money that the Board of [woo]... That's better? Thank you. That the board of directors could not find an alternative to having the company be sold. So Ben and I both still work at the company, unknown to Sarah, we actually are not involved at all in the operations or the management, which really kind of begs the question what do we do if you're not involved in management or operations [laughter]. And, even though I'm here before you, I'm not an official spokesperson for the company, it's pretty bizarre isn't it? So, after 30 years, Ben and I have achieved jobs where we have no responsibility and also no authority. So, something you all can strive for in your careers out there. So if you like what's going on at Ben and Jerry's you don't get to thank us, but if you don't like what's going on you don't get to blame us either.

So, Ben and I are old friends, we met in junior high school in Long Island where we were growing up, we met in 7th grade in gym class because we were the two slowest, fattest kids in the class, and we were running around the track together, you know there was this pack of kids in the front and then there was me and Ben in the back, coach was yelling at us, "Gentlemen. You've got to run the mile in under 7 minutes if you don't you're going to have to do it again." And Ben would yell back at the coach, "Gee coach, if I don't do it in under seven minutes the first time, I'm certainly not going to do it in under 7 minutes the second time." That was when I realized that Ben was somebody I wanted to know.

We went through junior high school and high school together, it came time to go to college, Ben did not want to go to college, but his parents wanted him to go. His father and his older sister filled out his applications for him. He selected Colgate in upstate New York because the brochure said they had fireplaces in the dorm rooms and Ben thought that was really cool. So, he went there for a year and a half and he dropped out of school, he went to NYU for a while, dropped out of there, he went to Skidmore College for a while, he dropped out of there, and then Ben signed up with one of these really progressive college programs called University Without Walls. So, at University Without Walls—this is even better than Grinnell—at University without Walls, you don't have to go to class because the world is your campus. And you don't have to take tests because you get credit for learning, and Ben dropped out of there too. [laughter]. Still a little too much structure for Ben.

I on the other hand went to Oberlin College, as Sarah mentioned. I did four years straight, I was pre-med, I graduated. I applied to 20 med schools, I got rejected by 20 medical schools. I got a job as a lab technician in a biochemistry research lab so that I could fortify my resume, and I reapplied to another 20 medical schools, I got rejected from those 20 medical schools and then I got another job as a lab technician in a biochemistry research lab because I already had experience. So that's what Ben and I did, we were essentially failing at everything we were trying to do and we thought why don't we get together and do something fun and be our own bosses and since we liked to eat quite a bit, we thought we would do something with food.

We picked Ice Cream, didn't know anything about it. We learned how to make ice cream from a 5 dollar correspondence course from Penn State University, we were really broke at the time, so we split one course between us, $2.50 a piece. We got a one-hundred on all of our open book tests, and so we figured we were ready to make ice cream. Then we needed to find a place to open up.

You know, we want to live in a college town because college kids eat a lot of ice cream; we didn't want to be in a big city, so a rural college tow. And then we thought it would be good if it were warm. We're going to sell ice cream, whatever. We did this extensive research project, this is how old Ben and I are, this was before personal computers, so we did a manual cross correlation, we had Ben looking through the American guide to colleges on the one hand, and I was looking through the Atlas and the Almanac looking up all of the mean and median temperatures, and we merged these two lists together and determined all of the warm rural college towns already had ice cream parlors.

So, we discarded the idea of warm and we picked Burlington, Vermont beautiful place, home of the university of Vermont, its about an hour south of the Canadian border, and it was so cold all of the time there were no other ice cream parlors there We thought we would be better off in a place with no competition since we had no idea what we were doing.

So we moved to Burlington, and then we needed to raise some money. Ben and I had both saved 4,000 dollars, we had 8,000 dollars, and we were going to go to the local bank to borrow some money and as we thought about it, we realized the local bank might not be that excited about lending us money. Because we were young (we were 26), we had just moved to Vermont so we didn't have any real stability there, we weren't married, we didn't have families, so we, who knows what we seemed like. We didn't have any job experience, we didn't have any business experience, we didn't have any ice cream experience, we didn't have any assets, we didn't have any collateral. So we thought, alright, if we're going to go into a bank, we need to put together a really good business plan, and that will convince the bank that we're really serious about what we're going. But we didn't know how to write a business plan.

We have a friend Jeff Fernman, who used to work for the small business administration in New York City, and Jeff got us a copy of a business plan that was from a pizza parlor in New York and what Ben and I did was we copied the business plan, except every place where it said slice of pizza, we crossed it out and we wrote in ice cream cone and we submitted it into the bank with a loan request for 18,000 dollars. The bank intern, resubmitted the proposal back to the small business administration, to see if they could get what was called an SB guaranteed loan. If the SBA would guarantee the loan, the bank would be at no risk. So they send it to the SBA and the SBA approved the loan proposal again, apparently they really liked this business plan, but they approved it conditional on us finding a location that they thought would be suitable.

So we looked all around Burlington, and the place we fell in love with was this old, abandoned gas station as Sarah mentioned. It was one block off the main street in town, it was right across the street from a park, but we could only get a one year lease on the building, and the SBA thought that it didn't make sense to lend us money over a 7-year period if we only had a one year lease on a building. I guess that makes sense, right? So we didn't get the money, we went back to the bank, and they gave us 4,000 dollars to go with our 8,000 dollars so that gave us 12,000 dollars try to open up this ice cream parlor.

Because we didn't have all of the money we needed to make a few adjustments to the business plan. We bought all used equipment, the ice cream machine we bought was a used 5 gallon, rock salt and ice ice cream machine, which is kind of like a homemade ice cream machine, only it made 5 gallons at a time and it had a motor on it, so that was really good. We opened up in May of 1978. You guys were not alive in 1978 were you[laughter], but let me tell you it was a beautiful summer, we were making ice cream, we were scooping ice cream, everything was fabulous. On a good day, we could make about ten batches of ice cream, that was it.

And then the winter came, it was minus 20 degrees outside, sure enough people stopped buying ice cream cones. We even came up with what I think was the best promotion in the history of Ben and Jerry's. It was called popcdbzwe, which stood for Penny Off per Celsius degree below zero winter extravaganza [laughter]. So the way this worked was when the temperature got below freezing, 32 degrees Fahrenheit, but zero degrees Celsius, we started taking money off the price of an ice cream cone and the colder it got, the more money we took off the price of a cone, but not even that was enough to get people in the door. We got through the winter by selling ice cream to some of the local restaurants that had been asking for it.

The next summer came, another beautiful summer making ice cream, scooping ice cream everything was great. Winter came, couldn't figure what to do, it was then that we decided to use Ben's car, it was Ben who became the salesperson from Ben and Jerry's. I give you, sorry about all of these digressions, but we always had these sales people that would stop into our shop and they would sell us things like chocolate syrup or napkins or whatever, and Ben thought, "boy these sales people have a great job, they drive around in their cars and listen to music on these great sound systems and then they stop into a store and sell them a few things but then they get back into their car and they drive around and listen to some music some more. You know, Ben and I spent a lot of time driving around in our car.

So, Ben had this old station wagon and we built an insulated Styrofoam box that fit in the station wagon compartment, put a really nice sound system into his car and in the morning we would fill up this Styrofoam box with tubs of ice cream and then Ben would drive around Vermont as fast as he could trying to sell this ice cream to restaurants around Vermont before it melted and that's how we got through the next winter.

Eventually we started selling more ice cream than fit in the back of Ben's car, we bought an old, really old ice cream delivery truck with about 250,000 miles on it. Ben became our truck driver, put a really nice sound system into the truck, and Ben was driving around Vermont, delivering ice cream to restaurants, and the truck was just breaking down all over the place and it was costing us more money to repair the truck than we were making selling ice cream.

Ben had another idea, he thought if we could package the ice cream into pint containers, that way he could sell it to all these mom and pop grocery stores that he was passing by as he was going from one restaurant to another. So Ben started doing that and he got us, oh, I don't know, 30 accounts in a month and 50 accounts after that and that's how Ben and Jerry's stumbled into the ice cream manufacturing and distribution business. And we got a couple of other local ice cream distributers to start delivering Ben and Jerry's, one in upstate New York, one in New Hampshire. And then we got a really big break, we got a couple of really big ice cream distributers, one in Boston and one in Connecticut to start carrying Ben and Jerry's.

It was the first time we were going to be selling ice cream in major markets where we were not the guys next door, so it was a big challenge, and very soon after these distributers started carrying Ben and Jerry's, we got this urgent phone call from them one day. They called us up, they said listen, we need to talk, we can't do it over the phone, we need to meet somewhere really private. So we decided to meet in a dark corner of a restaurant at Logan Airport in Boston. So we sit down with these two distributers, they said we have some really bad news. Häagen-Dazs ice cream, which had just been bought by the Pillsbury corporation, had come to them and told them that if they continued to carry Ben and Jerry's on their trucks, they weren't going to sell them Häagen-Dazsanymore. And as these distributers told us, we like you guys, we like your ice cream, but Häagen-Dazsis the most profitable item we carry on our tucks, and we can't afford to be without it, so we're going to have to drop your product.

So they told us this, Ben started laughing, he thought this was hilarious [laughter]. They said, "Ben this is really serious, why are you laughing?" "I can't believe that Häagen-Dazsis worried about little old Ben and Jerry's in Burlington, Vermont. But they were and it was a problem. First of all it seemed that what they were doing was illegal. That it was a restraint of trade under federal anti-trust law, which says that a company that controls a major part of the market can't use its power and position to keep competitors out. So we thought "okay, we'll sue Pillsbury, that'll be fun" [laughter]. They were a four billion dollar company at the time. Then we thought we could file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. But everyone we talked to told us the Federal Trade Commission had become Reaganized, that it was much more interested in helping big companies get bigger as opposed to helping small companies survive.

So we thought well, if we're gonna go down, we'll at least take our case to the people and so we started the "What's the Dough Boy afraid of" campaign. So, this was kicked off by me going out to Minneapolis to the Pillsbury world headquarters where I was a one person picket line. I had my little picket sign that said "What's the Dough Boy Afraid Of?" and I was walking up and down on the sidewalk in front of the Pillsbury building handing out leaflets to people as they walked by and nobody had any idea why I was there [laughter]. Then we started flying aerial banners around the sports stadiums in Boston that said, "What's the Dough Boy Afraid Of?" We took out signs on the sides of the transit buses in Boston that had these two pudgy white hands coming out from behind the sign, squeezing a pint of Ben and Jerry's that said, "Don't let Pillsbury's dollars strangle Ben and Jerry's." And then we said we're gonna take this straight to our customers, so we printed an 800 number, a toll free number on all of our containers and then Ben and recorded a phone message explaining the situation and asking people if they wanted to leave their name and address to receive a dough boy mailing kit.

So the dough boy mailing kit consisted of this original leaflet, there was a letter to the Federal Trade Commission, there was a letter to the chairman of the board of Pillsbury, which essentially said, "Why don't you guys pick on someone your own size". There was a bumper, this evil looking bumper sticker saying "What's the Dough Boy Afraid of?" There was a t-shirt offer, you could purchase a t-shirt on the front it said, "What's the Dough Boy Afraid Of?" On the Back it said, "Ben and Jerry's legal defense fund, major contributor." [laughter] They cost 10 dollars. [laughter]

So, we recorded this phone message, we hooked it up to these answering machines (that's how old we are) that were then connected to this toll free number on all the pint containers and we started getting all of these phone calls. We started getting several hundred phone calls a week mostly between the hours of midnight and 3 AM. [laughter]. And the story got picked up in the media; there was an article about in the Wall Street Journal, there was a big article about it in the New Yorker magazine, there was a cover story [woah], cover story [laughter]. Its ok, I can do this, I can do this. There was a cover story on the Sunday magazine section of the Boston Globe newspaper, and there was... because, because there was so much of a public outcry, Pillsbury and Häagen-Dazs backed down and they allowed these distributers to carry Ben and Jerry's on their trucks, right next to all of the other brands they carried. And that's really what permitted Ben and Jerry's to be distributed across the country.

Well so just after that, Ben and I looked at each other one day and said, "boy, what the heck is going on here. We're not ice cream guys anymore, we're becoming business men. [laughter] We're not spending our time making ice cream and scooping it over the counter to our customers, we're spending our time hiring people and firing people and writing memos and correspondence, and talking with lawyers and accountants and it was not really our idea of a good time. Plus, we had grown up in the 60's. You guys have read about the 60's [laughter]. Peace and love and all of that, that was Ben and me. We had all these negative thoughts about business; we felt like our business was just becoming another cog in the economic machine. And we didn't want any part of that and so we decided to get out. Who are you? [laughter]. You can hear, right? It's going okay, it's not ideal.

Yeah, so we had all these bad thoughts about our business decided to get out. And Ben ran into this friend of his, Maurice Perper. Maurice was kind of this older, somewhat eccentric restaurateur in southern Vermont down in Brattleboro. And Ben was telling Maurice that we were going to get out of the business and Maurice says, "Ben, the business is your baby, it's just starting to take off." And Ben said, "Maurice, you what business does, it takes advantage of its employees, it spoils the environment, it exploits the community." And Maurice said, "Well Ben, if there's something you don't like business is done, they why don't you just change it." And as Ben says, "that had never really occurred to him." [laughter].

So at that point, we decided to stay with the business and see if we could make it something that we were really proud that was really supportive of the community. Good job. At that time, old Ben and Jerry's was doing about 2 million dollars in sales, we were making ice cream in a 3,000 square foot facility, using WWII vintage ice cream makers. We couldn't meet our orders, we didn't have room for our ingredients or our finished goods; we were really bursting at the seams. And we were at the stage of a business where it needs to take in more money to get to the next level. And the normal thing for a business to do at that point was to take in venture capital. Money from a small number of well to-do individuals to invest in the business in the hopes that it will grow and they'll make a very good return.

And what we decided to do was to use this need for cash as an opportunity to make the community owners of the business so that as the business prospered, the community as owners would automatically prosper and not be dependent upon the business's kindness or generosity. And the way we found to do this was to hold what became the first ever in-state Vermont public stock offer, selling stock in the company to Vermonters, people who had been supporting the business since it began. Ben unearthed this obscure law that had never been used before. So you know we talked to all of our advisers and they said this is a terrible idea. First of all its never been done before, second of all you should take the money from the venture capitalists, because when you need more, there'll be more from where that came from. Also there're not very many people in Vermont, there's only 600,000 people and those who are there don't have very much money. It's not a wealthy state.

And we said we don't care. If we're going to grow our business, we're going to do it in a way that's consistent with our values. So we couldn't find anyone to underwrite the offering. The company underwrote it itself; Ben and I registered as stock brokers, if you can believe that [laughter] and we had a very low minimum purchase of 126 dollars so that people of essentially any economic situation could participate. You know, normally, public offerings are reserved for so-called sophisticated investors that have several thousand dollars, but that's not who we were looking for. We were looking for our neighbors. So we advertised it in the first section of the newspaper right next to the clothing ads and the supermarket ads. It said "get a scoop of the action". [laughter] At the end of the offering, which we sold out, we raised 750,000 dollars, one out of every 100 families in Vermont had become owners of Ben and Jerry's; we were very excited.

We continued to operate the company. About a year and a half later, we needed more money. At that time, we decided to have a national public offering, and in conjunction with that we established the Ben and Jerry's Foundation, which would receive 7.5 percent of the company's pre-tax profits, which was the highest percentage of any publically held company. The corporate average is around 1.5 percent. And the reason we chose such a high percentage was our feeling at the time was that a business is essentially a machine for making money, so that if we wanted to be as of much benefit to the community as possible, we should give away as much money as possible. So we had this stock offering, we set up the foundation, the company started funding the foundation and in no time at all, the foundation was overwhelmed with grant requests from non-profit organizations doing incredibly worthwhile work. Issues like hunger, housing, what have you. And the foundation could only fund a miniscule percentage of the requests that we heard.

And as we thought about it, we realized that all of the foundations in the country are in the same situation. There are these tremendous unmet human needs and not nearly enough money to go around. We started to wonder why that was, and because we found ourselves in business, we started off by thinking about business and really the definition of business. Now, this is no business school. I didn't think so. There's the same business school at Oberlin [laughter]. You know, the normal definition of business is that business is an entity that produces a product or provides a service. Well, at Ben and Jerry's, we started to define it differently. We said that a business is a combination of organized human energy plus money, which equals power. In fact it's become clear that business is really is the most powerful force in our society today. And it's a relatively new phenomenon; it didn't always used to be the case. Originally the most powerful force was religion. And then it came to be governments. Nation states. And today its business and you can see that reality echoed in the buildings in the major cities around the worlds. The oldest, big ornate buildings are religious buildings, the second oldest big ornate buildings are governmental buildings and today, the big ornate buildings being built are commercial buildings.

And, as this most powerful force, business has incredible influence on our country and the world. Has incredible influence on elections through campaign contributions and with the recent Supreme Court decision about Citizens United there are no longer any limits on how much money individuals and corporations can spend to support a candidate. And they don't have to disclose it. What a beautiful system! [laughter] Business controls legislation through lobbying. Business controls all the mainstream media through ownership and business has a huge impact on how we're all treated, as consumers and as employees. And, the interesting thing about all this influence that business yields, is that business uses... we'll try this. [laughter]. Thank you.

Business uses all this influence in its own narrow self-interest, which is to make more money. And that's the big difference with business as this most powerful force and religion and government because religion and government have always had as part of their purpose, looking out for the common good, but that's never been the purpose of business. I mean, it's not that business is bad or evil or I mean, I'm a business guy, look at me. But it's just that business has a very clear purpose and it's kind of self-serving.

Well, what we started learning at Ben and Jerry's is that there's a spiritual aspect to business, just as there is to the lives of individuals. As you give, you receive. As you help others, you are helped in return. You know I think most of us as individuals believe there's a spiritual part to us. For some reason, when we gather together as a group and call ourselves a business, we throw that idea out the window. Well you know, Ben and I, we speak to business groups occasionally, and this idea of spirituality in business, it's not your normal business rap. And even though it's a return to very traditional values, it still meets with incredible resistance. Schopenhauer the philosopher said that all truth passes through three stages: first it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed, and third it is accepted as being self-evident. So this idea of spirituality in business is somewhere along that path.

You know several years ago, Ben and I got invited to go to a CEO weekend workshop at Emory University in Atlanta and there were CEOs there from some of the biggest, most successful companies. There was the CEO from UPS, from Home Depot, from Sears. Ben and I were not exactly sure why we were invited. Maybe they thought we would bring dessert. [laughter] Which we did! [laughter] But we were there and after spending a weekend with these folks, what we learned was that the people running these very successful businesses by and large are really good people. They have strong social values, they contribute their own time and their own money to causes they believe in, and so the question arose to us, "well if business is this most powerful force, and the people running these businesses are these good caring people, why isn't business doing more to help address the growing social and environmental problems in our countries?"

And the reason we came to understand is that you only get what you measure, and in business what we measure is profitability. How much money have we made or how much money is leftover. And its really, a double edged sword, on the one had, it keeps everyone in the business focused and working together with a common goal, but on the other hand it can put blinders on people so that you don't always see the enormous social and environmental impacts that a business is having in this single minded pursuit of profit. You know, its kind of like when you're on a diet. Its important to measure how you're doing. You watch what you're eating, you see if you're getting exercise, you occasionally, you see how your clothes fit, you occasionally weigh yourself and if you're doing well, you keep up what you're doing and if you're not then you make some changes. But it's that act of checking in and measuring how you're doing that keeps you on target and in business it's exactly the same.

Well, so we said, boy if the problem is how we measure our success, why don't we just change it? And so that's what we decided to do. We decided to redefine the bottom line to have a two-part bottom line at Ben and Jerry's so we would measure our success not just by how much money we made, but by how much we were able to improve the quality of life in the communities where we operated. And if you look at the annual reports for Ben and Jerry's going back to 1988, you'll see that's there's a social report that's right next to the financial report.

So we called an all-company meeting. And you know, it was a room just about this size, with about this many people, Ben and I got up in front just like I am now, and we said "ok from now on, we're going to have a two-part bottom line. We're going to measure our success not just by how much money we make, how much we were able to improve the quality of life and everybody stood upped and cheered. It was a very popular idea, people loved it and then everybody went back to work. And, not too long afterwards, some of our managers came to us and they said "we have a problem." And we said, "oh?' And they said, "yeah, that two-part bottom line, that sounded great, but we find that when we take company energy and resources to give back to the community it takes away from our ability to make money and vice-versa. And we said, "Huh. That is a problem." And we thought about it, we realized that the solution to that dilemma was to choose those courses of action that have a positive impact on both of those bottom lines.

And you know when we first thought of it, probably when you first hear it, when anyone first hears it, it sounds all nice and warm and fuzzy, and then you think about it and then you think you can't really do that. And the reason we all think that is because that's the way we've been brought up, that's the way we've been conditioned to think. That if you want to make some money, you do it over here with some business and if you want to some good you do it over here and you can't combine the two. But what we've been learning is that that's simply a mindset. And that if you're able to get rid of that mindset, the opportunities to address both of those bottom lines are essentially limitless.

And I'll give some examples of how the company has been able to do it. I think it's very helpful to know that when we first started trying to do it, we had no idea what we were doing. So it was a matter of coming up with some ideas, trying some things, sometimes they worked, most often they didn't work and you tried to learn from that and make improvements and try again. And in that regard it's really no different from any other process of innovation of figuring out how to do something. I mean, its like new flavors at Ben and Jerry's. You know most new flavors don't make it, they never get out of the lab. They never see the light of day. You guys know the expression, many are called, few are chosen. We have, "many are cold, few are frozen." [laughter].

So, it's the field in which we labor and the way we approached it was to think, "How can we integrate social and environmental concerns into our normal day-to-day business activities so that they don't become add-ons or adjuncts to what we're doing, but they're central to the functioning of the business. So we tried to look at things like source of ingredients, marketing, finance, the entire range of things that the company does.

So we said well, new flavors! We do need to come up with new flavors! Ben and Jerry's became aware of a bakery, the Greyston bakery, outside of New York City, and the Greyston bakery worked with people who are out of the economic mainstream, people who had problems with substance abuse or legal problems, problems with homelessness and they provide jobs. And so we thought, "I wonder if there are baked goods that the Greyston Bakery makes that we can put into an ice cream flavor." And we learned they made some really good brownies and so Ben and Jerry's came up with a flavor called Chocolate Fudge Brownie which has become very popular and very profitable. So simply by purchasing brownies from the Greyston Bakery, Ben and Jerry's gets this incredibly good flavor, and Ben and Jerry's now uses the brownies in Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream, in frozen yogurt, in the perennial college favorite, Half-Baked. And, I think Ben and Jerry's bought over 8 million dollars worth of brownies last year from Greyston's.

Another thing an ice cream company needs to do is to sell ice cream. Ben and Jerry's has about 250 franchised ice cream shops in this country and 14 of those are what we call partner shops, they are shops that are owned and operated by non-profit social service agencies who work with at-risk youth. So for Ben and Jerry's, the company makes the same amount of money selling ice cream to those shops as any conventionally owned shops, and for those agencies, any money they make from their stores goes back into funding their programs and they provide job training and job experience for the young people they work with.

Also in terms of ingredients, Ben and Jerry's has made a commitment to become 100 percent fair trade globally. So fair trade, you guys probably know fair trade, but it's a system by which small farmers in developing countries are guaranteed a fair price for their products no matter what the market price is. And in addition to that they're paid a social premium that they're able to invest in their communities, in actually whatever they want to do, but they typically do it in terms of healthcare clinics or education.

In terms of finance, Ben and Jerry's developed a relationship with the South Shore Bank in Chicago, which was the first bank that was set up to green line, where as most banks red line. They set up a bank inside a decaying urban area and took deposits from outside that area and invested in the area whereas what banks do traditionally is take money outside of urban areas and invest it in the suburbs.

Well, so those are a few examples, you know its somewhat ironic, several years ago, Ben and Jerry's started to get criticized in the media that we were cynically trying to manipulate our customers into buying more ice cream by doing good deeds. [laughter]. And our response is that our actions are based on deeply held values and in addition we understand that true marketing is an integrated and holistic attempt to meet another set of our customer's needs: our customer's needs to have business be addressing the growing social and environmental issues in our country. We find that this way of doing business has so many benefits for the company, it provides added value, it's a unique selling proposition, all these marketing buzz words that companies are striving to find. It helps with recruiting employees, it helps with retaining employees and best of all it helps with customers. What we've been learning at Ben and Jerry's is that there is a spiritual aspect to business just as there is to the lives of individuals. As you give, you receive. As you help others, you are helped in return. And just because the idea that the good that you do, comes back to you is written in the Bible and not in some business textbook, doesn't mean that its any less valid. We're all interconnected. For business and people, its all the same.

Well thank you so much for your kind attention, I think we have time for a few questions, but we don't need to ask question, we can eat more ice cream! Thank you guys so much!

[applause]

 

Grinnell Prize Awards Ceremony

>> PRESIDENT KINGTON: Good Evening. As President of Grinnell College, I am pleased to welcome you to the presentation of the 2012 Grinnell College Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize Winners.

The Grinnell Prize honors individuals under the age of 40, who have demonstrated leaderships, creativity, commitment and extraordinary accomplishment in effecting positive social change. As we begin this evening's programs, I want to thank each of you who have helped make tonight possible – from the passionate Grinnellians who supported the creation of the Prize two years ago to those who evaluated hundreds of applications this year, to the many faculty and staff and students involved in the planning of this week's Grinnell Prize events. Thank you for supporting the cause with your time and effort and collaborative spirit.

Tonight, we honor some of the world's most remarkable and innovative young minds dedicated to affecting social change. They are living role models for Grinnellians ideals. World citizens who, to quote our mission, are prepared in life and work to use their knowledge and their abilities to serve the common good.

Ever since Grinnell was founded by social reformers one hundred and sixty-six years ago, our students and graduates have immersed themselves in the major social issues of our nation - from the Civil War to Civil Rights to the computer age. At these pivotal moments, there were always Grinnellians who stepped up and took action to shape a better world. Our becoming one of America's great liberal arts colleges is due in no small part to the commitment to education and service of society.

The College's history is replete with examples of Grinnellians who championed that ideal in ways that make them precursors to the Young Social Innovators we are celebrating tonight. A few of the familiar examples from our past, during the Great Depression, Harry Hopkins, class of 1912 and Roosevelt's close adviser, became an outspoken advocate for economic justice and the government's obligation to care for those in greatest need. His passion and vision fueled the creation of The New Deal, which shaped public policy in this country ever since. Later this semester, we will celebrate the centenary of Hopkins' graduation from Grinnell and his legacy of social justice and action.

During the 1950s, Louise Rosenfield Noun, class of 1929, rose to prominence as a civic leader in Des Moines. As President of the Iowa Civil Liberties Union in the 1960s, she used her significant political clout and later her personal wealth to support the cause of student's First Amendment rights. Her cause was achieved in the landmark case of Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District, in which the US Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional for schools to ban student's non-disruptive, free expression. Louise Noun continued her activism in the 1970s, helping to found the Iowa Women's Political Caucus, the Des Moines Chapter of the National Organization of Women and philanthropic organizations devoted to helping women and girls. Last month, Astrid Henry was installed as the Louise R. Noun Chair of Women's Studies here at Grinnell, a professorship created by Louise's brother Joe R. Rosenfield to honor her lifelong activism.

Since the 1980s, a successful hematologist and oncologist Vincent Anku, class of 1965, has invested in Africa and contributed to community development projects there, supporting especially self-help projects in the Volta region of Ghana, where he was born. The projects are as wide-ranging as the community's needs including rural electrification, road improvement, kindergarten and primary care education, a community library, women's income generation and improved water and sanitation.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Katie Mears, class of 2003, traveled to New Orleans on a relief volunteer trip. She was so transformed by her experience that she founded the ReNew group here on campus and then later relocated to become the Gutting and Rebuilding Program Coordinator for the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana. There are not many people with that job title – Gutting and Rebuilding Program Coordinator. Since then, Katie has helped Haitians rebuild their homes after the devastating earthquake and is now working on the Superstorm Sandy recovery. That is also where Team Rubicon is working, which is why they are being recognized tonight in absentia, so that they could devote themselves fully to the recovery effort there.

People like Harry Hopkins, Louise Noun, Vincent Anku, Katie Mears live our Grinnellian passion for social justice every day. Our College works hard to waken and nurture these passions in all of our students. We bring these concepts into our classroom through courses like Tim Dobe and Suchi Kapila's upcoming class on the Theory and Practice of Gandhi and Resistance and we also encourage our students to apply what they learn in the real world. The Expanding Knowledge Initiative or EKI is one example, which supported curricular innovations in the study of environment, human rights, and human dignity. Through our Liberal Arts in Prison Program, one out of every seven Grinnell students, as well as many of our faculty and staff, is now involved in teaching incarcerated adults and helping them prepare to make a successful transformation to life after prison.

Social Entrepreneurs of Grinnell, a student run microfinance organization, provides loans internationally and in our local community for small projects to combat rural poverty and to promote economic development. It was named by the White House, last year, as one of the Top Five Winners of the Award for Campus Champions of Change Challenge.

The Joseph F. Wall Alumni Service Award, supported by gifts from our alumni, offers significant financial support to Grinnell graduates who engage in projects, programs and organizations that improve the lives of others. And the Grinnell Corps gives graduating seniors the opportunity to work for a year in education, conservation, and anti-poverty programs in the US and around the world.

The Grinnell Prize is another way that we infuse the educational experience of our students with these principles. By bringing exceptional, young social innovators to campus, we hope to inspire our entire community to live up to a similar standard of creativity in service of commitment. Last year, the Grinnell Prize winners mentored students who wanted to know everything from how to start a non-governmental organization to how to persevere when dealing with intractable problems. Tonight, and in the days and weeks to come, our new group of Prize winners are generously offering us their time, ideas and advice.

Altogether, the 2012 Prize honors five young individuals representing three organizations. They were selected from a pool of 300 nominations from 45 countries. The nominees were involved in work on a wide range of issues from the environment, economic justice, social entrepreneurship, business, the arts, refugee rights, immigration, education, fair housing, gay rights, restorative justice and global peace.

Our selection committee has chosen winners who have demonstrated a new standard of excellence and leadership. The recipients each identified huge unmet social needs then worked vigorously and creatively to address them. Each of the winning individuals or teams will receive a cash award with half going to them and half going to an organization of their choice. This is yet another way that the Prize is designed to spark innovation toward a more just world.

On the stage with me tonight are members of two of the recognized organizations. As noted in the publicity materials, the two individuals from the third group, Jacob Wood and William McNulty of Team Rubicon, asked if they could be allowed to absent themselves from this week's activities to organize their largest ever mobilization for the Hurricane Sandy effort in New York and New Jersey. This is exactly what they founded Team Rubicon to do – unite the skills and talents of military veterans like Jacob and William with medical first response teams in disaster areas. The last thing we would want us to do is for our Prize ceremony impede the work they were called to do. So we, of course, said go with our blessings. Jacob and William will come to campus in the spring instead and when they do I think that we will all benefit greatly from their reflections on their experience with Hurricane Sandy. In the meantime, we wish them well and thank them for their service to those in need.

Happily, we do have a group of extraordinary young innovators here tonight to receive their honors. Introducing and conferring the awards will be Rehka Basu, a syndicated columnist from the Des Moines Register, recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Grinnell– so officially a Grinnell alum, and a member of our Prize Committee. And Eliza Willis, professor of Political Science and the incoming chair of the Selection Committee. Rehka and Eliza.

[applause]

>>REHKA BASU: Thank you, Raynard. It's such an honor to be here tonight for this wonderful occasion and to introduce the first Prize recipient.

One of the sad ironies of journalism today is that the more vehicles we have for receiving news, the fewer different stories we actually seem to get. Instead, over a 24-hour news cycle, the same handful of stories are relentlessly regurgitated through print, broadcast, and Google News – then fleshed out by commentaries from news analysts with questionable credentials but really nice hair.

It might be the natural disaster, the high-level sex scandal, the minute-to-minute updates about which candidate is up or down in the polls. And then, for variety perhaps, the warm and fuzzy story about the little kid who's crying because she's sick of hearing the same stories about Mitt Romney and Barack Obama – and they're still not getting the message.

As for newspapers, you can travel anywhere in America and the local paper's front page looks strikingly similar to the one across the country with the same few wire services and syndicates offering up the same stories and perspectives. Blame it on lack of imagination, lack of concern with what is happening beyond our borders or lack of enterprise to find out.

But then, once in a great while comes a journalist like Cristi Hegranes and it tends to restore your faith in the power of meaningful journalism to educate, uplift and bring about social change. What Cristi has done is remarkable on so many levels. She's found promising women in the developing world, educated them in journalism techniques and then employed them - sending them out to tell stories from their own communities where they have credibility. Then she makes those stories available throughout the world by dispatching them out on the wire.

She does all this through the Global Press Institute of which she is founder and Executive Director. It started out in two countries, Nepal and Mexico, but now has news desks in over 25 and employs over 100 women. Its newswire gets about 20,000 readers a month and the stories are picked up by UPI, Reuters, NPR, BBC and a variety of other major news outlets.

Cristi started out in Nepal as a reporter, telling the stories of people overlooked by mainstream media. But then, she wanted to equip them with the tools to tell their own. She wanted to empower women by giving them concrete skills including literacy training and computer training and then employment. But perhaps, most importantly, by giving them voice and the outlets to communicate the realities in their worlds. Sharing stories on issues like domestic violence across the globe makes it possible to connect communities with common concerns everywhere and it has led to real social change on everything from civil rights in Nepal and Zimbabwe to maternal health in Mexico.

Cristi has a Masters Degree in Journalism from NYU and has won more awards than I can mention including the Ida B. Wells Award for Bravery in Journalism and she was named one of Twenty One Leaders for the Twenty First Century by Women's eNews.

As I was looking over Cristi's biography in preparation for tonight, I noticed some parallels between us that I had missed as a member of the Selection Committee. We're both journalists with graduate degrees from J schools in New York. We've both taught at the college level and written for alternative newspapers and for the Indian Press. We're both concerned with giving voice to the voiceless. And we even share the same birthday, which was last Tuesday, Election Day by the way. Cristi, I hope it was as good to you as it was to me.

But while my career deposited a South Asian woman into a mainstream media job in Iowa, Cristi's spirit of enterprise took an American woman to South Asia to create an entirely new paradigm for journalism. And she did that, by the way, when she was 25 years old. She's only 32 now. I can't even imagine what she'll be doing at my age but I'm certain that it will be big and transformative.

So, for her work in international journalism and women's economic empowerment, I'm delighted to present the 2012 Grinnell Prize to Cristi Hegranes.

>>CRISTI HEGRANES: Thank you so much. These are beautiful. Thank you so much first and foremost to the Grinnell College community. It is absolutely an honor to be here and I hope that you all know what an extraordinary thing it is you are doing for young entrepreneurs and, in fact, what an extraordinary thing you are doing for the world. Just envisioning, creating and implementing this Prize, this community too has really solidified its place as social justice innovators in this world, so thank you.

It is of course also a huge honor to be here representing Global Press Institute, which not so long ago was just a figment of my imagination. And it's been just – I can't even – there is not an adjective strong enough to describe watching it transform from that to this.

And, of course, there have been many amazing people along the way that have helped us get here. My parents, first and foremost, all of whom traveled to Iowa - you have to know - for this week. Probably just cause they knew that I would be in one place for seven straight days so wanted to take advantage of that. But they've supported Global Press Institute from the very beginning. The Global Press Institute Board of Directors is represented here tonight as well by Mary Carderis. Mary represents absolutely the best of the Global Press Institute Board, which is a dedicated group of men and women who give of their time, their talent and their resources to ensure that Global Press Institute continues to thrive. And I'm so happy to stand here before you today to report that we are in fact thriving, thanks in no small part to this Prize but also in no small part to Mike Berkowitz our Senior Strategist and his team at Third Plateau. Mike, your strategic contributions to this organization cannot be overstated. We are all so, so grateful for everything that you guys at Third Plateau have done for us.

And by 'we all' of course, I mean 133 of the world's greatest citizens. I can't even tell you what an honor it is to be a 25-year-old kid, an idealistic journalist and to have a little idea about how to maybe change a few things and then watch – as the world's women stand up, stand out and come together to help you build that dream into a reality. It has been the most amazing honor of them all. So thank you Grinnell College because more than anything, by bringing me here tonight, you honor the journalists of GPI. And those women are committing deliberate acts of social justice with every word they write. Thank you.

[applause]

>>ELIZA WILLIS: Well I want to thank all of you for coming out on this cold night but for this auspicious occasion.

In deciding among the many of the excellent nominees that make it through the initial evaluation of the campus community, the Grinnell Prize Selection Committee examines each project with three questions in mind. Is the project innovative? Has the project had or will it have a significant impact? Does the project advance the goal of social justice? Embrace, founded by our Prize recipients Jane Chen and Linus Liang, scored perfect ten's on each of these criteria.

Let me begin by describing Jane and Linus' innovation. Embrace produces and distributes a low-cost infant incubator for use by families in developing countries. This product was truly innovative. It was a new and creative invention that solved a problem and responded to a previously unmet need. The need of babies born prematurely or with low weight who are likely either to die or suffer adverse health effects from hypothermia. And as impressive as the invention itself has been Jane and Linus' ability to make the incubator accessible to large numbers of poor families in several developing countries.

Founded in 2008, Embrace grew out of a class project. This was very nice to hear as a professor. Jane and Linus were enrolled in a class at Stanford titled Entrepreneurial Experiences in Extreme Affordability in which their major assignment entailed designing an extremely low-cost incubator to be used in rural conditions across the globe.

They met that challenge by inventing an infant warmer that cost just 1% of a traditional incubator and deciding to take their invention into the real world. Jane has a background in management consulting and business while Linus has expertise in computer science and tech startups. They were able to draw on their complimentary skills to found and lead the organization they created.

Their spirit of interdiscplinarity and collaboration even extends to their business model. Jane and Linus recently co-founded a for-profit partner organization, Embrace Innovations, with Jane serving as the CEO. The for-profit arm enables them to raise venture capital to sustain their work so that they can continue providing infant warmers to parents in need and apply their creative energies to developing other affordable health products for poor communities.

Embrace also scored perfectly according to the criterion of impact – measured both in terms of those whose lives have already been transformed and with respect to the tremendous potential this invention has for changing the lives of millions of low birth weight and premature babies born every year primarily in the developing world. Currently, Embrace widely distributes their infant warmers in India where they have saved the lives of hundreds – and probably thousands by now – of premature babies. They have recently begun distributing the warmers in China, Somalia, Zambia, and very soon will make them available in Afghanistan.

Finally, through Embrace, Jane and Linus have fully met the goal of social justice understood as the principle that every living being deserves equal rights and opportunities. There is no more basic universal human right than the right of the born to live and thrive. Without life and health, there can be no justice or opportunity for equality, no building of capabilities or exercising citizenship. Embrace has found the means for evening the playing field of survival for those born prematurely to families in the poorest countries.

For their work to improve maternal and child health, I am pleased to present to 2012 Grinnell Prize to Jane Chen and Linus Liang.

[applause]

>> JANE CHEN: Thank you so much. This is an incredible, incredible honor. I wanted to first and foremost thank Grinnell, thank the college and thank President Kington for this amazing vision to bring us this Prize and give us young entrepreneurs the resources to be able to take our work to the next level.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I came here – I've never been to Iowa before – but have been so impressed by the students, by the faculty, the campus, by Grinnell as a whole and it's been incredible energetic for us to interact with everyone here. I think we're probably getting more out of being on campus than you guys are getting so thank you so much for that.

We were in a lunch panel today and one of the students asked the question of what keeps us going. And for me, it's really about the lives that we impact. Every baby we see in our device – it never gets old. On Saturday, before getting on my flight from India where I'm based to come here, I was in a village in South India visiting some of the families who are using our product. I went into one home and there was a mother who was completely illiterate. She had no education. She had given birth six weeks previously to a three - pound baby boy and had been using our product. So when I went back, we brought a little scale with us, we weighed the baby and he was now at a healthy weight, thanks to the product. And the smile on that mother's face was absolutely priceless.

We hope to be able to affect many more women, and their babies and their families with this product. Embrace has helped over 2000 babies to date and with this Prize money; we hope to be able to help many thousands more babies. This will help us to expand into new countries, expand our project, and buy more infant warmers. Our goal over the next 5 years is to impact a million lives with this product so thank you for giving us the opportunity to make this possible.

>>LINUS LIANG: Jane said pretty much everything I wanted to say but I wanted to say thank you again to Grinnell to everyone here who put this together and really supported us through this prize. It's been very touching and heartwarming to win this and it's quite an honor.

I was just telling several people today that I've only been here for two days but just in these two days I already feel like I'm part of a community and already have the support and that is very touching because that is what keeps us going. We live in very difficult environments. We have a very difficult problem to solve and it's been a hard couple of years. But it's people like you, its prizes like this and visions that keep us going, that really make me believe that there are people out there that really want to change the world and make it better. So thank you very much for the support.

[applause]

>>PRESIDENT KINGTON: Thank you. In the spring, our college President Emeritus, George Drake, class of 1956, who chaired this year and last year's Selection Committee, will confer the third and remaining Grinnell Prize on Jacob Wood and William McNulty of Team Rubicon.

Cristi, Jane, Linus, Jacob and William have taken on large problems with courage and creativity. They have been innovative in their goals and in their business plans. In the process, they have had to fight apathy, cynicism, and entrenched interests. In conferring the Grinnell Prize, I urge all of us to take inspiration from their work.

To learn even more about these advocates for social justice, you're invited to join us for the remainder of the Prize Symposium which continues all this week. The Symposium is co-sponsored and organized by the Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights and is directed by History Professor and alum Sarah Purcell. The events are listed in your program and include a keynote address by Jerry Greenfield of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream. I'm sure you'll notice that Jerry has arranged to provide free ice cream after his speech. We're prepared for 800 so I expect to see people there.

Jerry's keynote, as well as the winner's presentations, will also be live streamed this year for the first time – although without the ice cream obviously. You can view a schedule of the streamed events by visiting the Grinnell Prize page on the Grinnell College website by clicking on the Live Streaming tab. However, if you are on campus or within range of Grinnell, I encourage you to attend. Not only is it essential for our winners to see the community's support and enthusiasm, but we all stand to gain from the opportunity to sit down with these extraordinary individuals, to get to know them, ask them questions, and to gain the strength and understanding that you need to lead your own efforts for change.

Before we adjourn, I would like to thank George Drake, whom I consider one of my strongest mentors here, chair of this year's Selection Committee, Eliza Willis, Rehka Basu and the seven other members of the 2012 Grinnell Prize Selection Committee for their hard work and wonderful selections. And also thanks to Sarah Purcell, who through tremendous effort puts this all together amidst her working load of teaching, advising, publishing her own scholarship and baking blue ribbon brownies. Sarah is a role model for our own campus and we appreciate her as well as Melisa Chan, Caroline Saxton and the many Communications and Alumni Relations staff who gave so much time to make this happen.

So thank you all and we hope to see you at the Symposium events throughout the week. Good night. Thank you.

[applause]