Austin College Lecturer Advocates Civic Engagement

By: By: Austin College
By: By: Austin College

SHERMAN, TEXAS—Author and civic engagement advocate Lewis Feldstein will visit Austin College on March 1, offering a lecture on the issue of social capital, inequality, and youth at 4:30 p.m. in Wright Campus Center, Room 231. The lecture is free and open to the public. Feldstein also will meet with classes during his visit, including “Active Citizenship,” taught by Don Rodgers, associate professor of political science, who coordinated Feldstein’s visit.

Feldstein served for 24 years as the CEO and president of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, the state’s largest foundation. During his tenure, the foundation’s assets grew from $25 million to almost $500 million, becoming one of the largest community foundations in the nation. Feldstein several times was selected among the 10 most influential people in the state.

Before taking on his role at the foundation, Feldstein worked with the civil rights movement in Mississippi, served for seven years in senior staff positions to New York City Mayor John V. Lindsay, and was provost of the Antioch University New England Graduate School. For 10 years following the fall of the Soviet Union, he played a lead role in building community foundations across Europe, and for seven years worked on the World Bank leadership team as the bank invested in and tested the role of community foundations and private philanthropy in the developing world. He has been listed among the Top 50 of nonprofit executives by the NonProfit Times and holds honorary doctorates from seven universities.

Feldstein has co-chaired the Saguaro Seminar, “Civic Engagement in America,” with Robert Putnam at Harvard University, who is his co-author of Better Together: Restoring the American Community. The book, published in 2003, analyzes the grassroots development of civic engagement in the United States and offers a positive message with stories of community renewal and social activism. Feldstein is a graduate of Brown University and holds a master’s degree in law and diplomacy from Tufts University.

In his personal life, Feldstein’s achievements include a seven-year tenure as the MC of the International Zucchini Festival and a stint as wine steward and personal assistant to John Wayne on his yacht in the Mediterranean.

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