Michael Feigelson

Chief Executive - Van Leer Group

Michael Feigelson (@mfeigelson1) 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; he served on the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Behaviour; 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.

Blogs, articles, opinion pieces

“The Need to Double Down” Stanford Social Innovation Review (2018)

“Why Walking Is So Good for Parents, Toddlers, and the Cities Where They Live” Stanford Social Innovation Review (2016)

“Interview with Michael Feigelson”: Alliance Magazine (2015)

“Why we need to Talk to Babies More”: co-authored with Marcos Nisti, The World Economic Forum (2014)

“Leverage: Just Another Fancy Word?”: Stanford Social Innovation Review (2014)

“Investing in Young Children Makes Good Business Sense”: The Guardian (2014)

“Accelerating the New Macho”: co-author with Lisa Witter, Stanford Social Innovation Review (2014)

“The Business of Play”: co-author with Michael Renvillard, Huffington Post (2013)

“Condom Companies Should Focus on Violence Against Women”: TriplePundit (2013)

“Ending Violence in Children’s Lives”: Huffington Post (2013)

“The Citizen”: Bernard van Leer Foundation (2013)

“Address Social Roots of Gun Violence”: co-author with Gary Slutkin, Baltimore Sun (2013)

“Rally the Voices of the Community”: Financial Times (2012)

“Defending Children’s Rights Means Defending Their Mothers, Too”: co-author with Mallika Dutt, Huffington Post (2012)

“Stopping it before it starts: strategies to address violence in young children’s lives”: United Nations Secretary General’s Special Representative for Violence Against Children (2012)

“¿Qué hace Blanca Nieves por aquí?”: book chapter, Fundación Santillana (2009)

“Como Aprendí a Trabajar”: animated short film, Melel Xojobal (2005)

“Stalel Stuk”: digital training course for educators, Shine a Light (2004)

“Una Tierra para Soñar Cuentos”: book of children’s stories, co-author/editor, Melel Xojobal (2003)