Sam Feinburg

Executive Director & COO

Sam Feinburg is the Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director of Helena. He cares deeply about building a fairer and stronger civilization for all in the presence of growing catastrophic and existential risks.

Outside of Helena, Sam serves as Social Entrepreneur in Residence at The Boston Consulting Group, and sits on the Board of Directors of the Civilization Research Institute. In 2014, Sam won the World Schools Debating Championships as a member of the England Debate Team.

Sam attended Yale University for two years, and left in 2016 to operate Helena full time.

Helena is a global problem solving organization. Its purpose is to identify potential solutions to critical societal problems and implement them through individual projects. Helena’s past and current projects have addressed elements of climate change, governance and democracy reform, existential risk mitigation and more.

Helena’s “America in One Room” (A1R) project was one of the most significant political experiments in American History. A1R brought the most representative sample of the United States electorate ever assembled to a single location for a four-day deliberation on the most critical issues facing the country. The project and its publicly released results were globally covered, including in a front-page, special feature of the New York Times that featured portraits of nearly every participant. Cited by global leaders including Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton as a needed method to address structural issues in modern democracy, A1R looks to continue expanding its democratic reform efforts domestically and internationally.

Helena led two projects in response to COVID-19. During the early months of the pandemic, Helena addressed critical breakdowns in the supply chain of vital protective equipment, directly financing and routing more over 37 million masks, gloves, gowns and other medical supplies into the hands of frontline workers across nearly 100 hospitals and care facilities throughout the US. In parallel, Helena built The Covid Network, a real-time data platform quantifying COVID’s spread across the United States and mapping current PPE needs for individual hospitals. The platform was used by health systems and suppliers across the country, including the US Army and Air Force.

Through its for-profit arm, Helena operates projects to address global issues through investment, company building and more. Helena is a major investor and operating partner in Energy Vault, a breakthrough grid-scale energy storage company. Energy Vault’s gravitational energy storage systems offer cost-competitive, variable duration, highly efficient storage, and can clean up toxic waste like coal ash and mining tailings in their construction.

Helena’s Shield project catalyzed state and federal action to help protect the North American electrical grid from threats due to solar storms and cyber-attack, including a 2019 Presidential Executive Order. It’s first project, “Factory in the Sky” supported the launch and scale of the world’s first commercial carbon capture plants.

Helena works alongside a small group of exceptional leaders called Helena Members. The members represent Helena’s core ability to analyze global trends and problems, source and develop potential solutions to those problems, and implement those solutions. The members include Nobel Peace Prize and Scientific laureates, Four-Star Generals, artists, explorers, Academy Award Winners, former CIA Directors, leading academics, directors of international NGOs, and more.