[Name]: William Hauser
[Area of Expertise]: International Health and Nutrition
Will may not be a doctor, but he’s still an international proponent for health. He was convinced he would become a physician as both his parents are, but, as he tells us, “I trended more toward business.” Born in Paris, raised in the Bay, Will graduated from Harvard in 2008 where he ran the largest student run company in the world his last two years, Harvard Student Agencies (HSA). The experience was life-defining and would later on compel him to leave Goldman Sachs for his own ambitions.
“I learned a lot at Goldman Sachs, but I really missed being an entrepreneur. A year in, I left my job as an investment banker to start Two Degrees and, in a lot of ways, Two Degrees is a marriage of passions: my passion for running businesses and the sort of long-standing desire to do something good like I see my parents doing every single day. “
Will’s is a food company that fights childhood hunger. They do this though their one-to-one model (in the spirit of TOMS shoes): for every product Two Degrees sells—starting with all-natural, gluten-free, vegan food bars in four delicious flavors—they give away a meal to a hungry child somewhere in the world. They currently work in Malawi, Kenya, Somalia, Haiti, India, South Sudan and, soon, Pakistan and the US.
Two Degrees partners up with local NGOs in each country to distribute meals that respect each region’s local diets, severity of hunger and viability of crops. “So,” Will explains, “in East Africa, for example, we give away a fortified peanut paste that is prescribed for severely malnourished children. In India, we give away fortified hot meals that are lentil and grain-based.”
In India, this is done primarily through school lunch programs . But the real revolution in how Two Degrees’s NGO partners distribute these meals can be seen in East Africa and Haiti where partners like Partners and Health and Relief International practice a primarily outpatient model of delivering critical nutrition to hungry children. Previously, malnourished children needed to stay in hospitals in order to receive treatment—an inpatient model which, as you’d imagine, is very resource dependent.
Two Degrees’s partners practice an alternative: community-therapeutic care. In this model, children are brought into clinics for diagnosis but can be treated outside of the healthcare facility through ready-to-use foods that can be easily administered at home. Thus, the meals Two Degrees gives away can be given to a starving child by their mom or a village healthcare worker without the need of a fully-staffed clinic to oversee their betterment.
In business for only 15 months now (they launched in January 2011), Two Degrees has given away over 400,000 meals worldwide. The bars are sold in every Whole Foods in the country, in big corporations like FaceBook, HP, Twitter, Microsoft, and AOL, as well as on college campuses. The big vision of the company is a global cause food brand with products that will soon branch outside of the snack cabinet. But, as Will says, no matter where they’re headed, “we’ll always keep the one-for-one model, so for every product we sell, we will always give a meal to a hungry child. And we feel that’s a really powerful motivator for a person at the store to help children around the world on a regular basis.”
Visit twodegreesfood.com to learn more!
Jasen, Your Hub Stories Writer
Jasen Talise is an intern writer for the Hub Bay Area. He is a fourth year studying Rhetoric and Theater at the University of California, Berkeley. His interests range from existential philosophy, competitive hip hop dance, to the culinary arts. He was recently a contributing writer for Issues: The Berkeley Medical Journal.