Fellow Philanthropists: Princeton In Africa's Annual Benefit


Feeling a little confused, we sidled off into the corner where we were introduced to off-the-wall and dynamite entrepreneurial philanthropist Andy Bryant, a former fellow who was also serving as the guest speaker. We asked him what, exactly, it was that he did. “I spend about four months of the year traveling to Africa, and the rest of the year waiting to travel to Africa,” he offered.

Before the dinner and award ceremony in honor of Lauren Bush Lauren, we had an opportunity to speak with the CEO and founding member of FEED. “I don’t know how people are meant to feel when they get an award, but I’m humbled to be honored by Princeton In Africa,” said the newlywed.

What does the award-winning philanthropist think about the recent media attention?

“I don’t consider myself and nor do I aim to be a celebrity, but I understand the value of raising attention,” said Ms. Bush Lauren. “I genuinely hope that if people support me it’s not because I made the bag [which is the signature of her company] but because it’s a product they like and a product that resonates with them.”

While fumbling for a better view of the stage, we fell into Sharon Bush, mother of Lauren and advocate of FEED. “I’m wearing her dress, the necklace she made and her bag. I’m a good supporter,” Mrs. Bush said before becoming distracted. “Sorry, I’ve got to watch this. I don’t want to be rude.” The Observer looked to see Mr. Bryant and Ms. Lauren Bush giving their speeches as they emphasized the unique spirit of Princeton fellows.

Last on the schedule was the auction, a happy coincidence as enthusiasm and support for the fellows was at an evening high. Will Mr. Person be bidding on anything? Perhaps a week in Paris or the private dinner with Toni Morrison? “I think if my wife was here then it might be different. I’ll take a look and let you know,” the Director said.

We were bushed and made down the stairwell only to see a white-gloved handful of immaculately dressed invitees, (fashionably) late arrivals who had come for the after party. The Observer said our goodbyes as the party goers queued in the entrance, apparently oblivious to the missed opportunity of bidding for dinner with their professor, Sean Wilentz. We greeted all, looking for anyone who might spare a moment to champion the cause, but navel gazes made it quite clear that we would have to make do with yet more reading in the cab ride home.


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