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23 posts from October 2012

Corporations Pledge Support for Sandy Relief and Recovery Efforts

October 31, 2012

Sandy-AftermathAs officials from North Carolina to New Hampshire continue to assess the damage left by Superstorm Sandy, a number of financial institutions have announced million-dollar grants to the American Red Cross and other organizations for relief and recovery efforts.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the Citi Foundation had announced a donation of $1 million to the American Red Cross for relief efforts, while TD Bank Group and the TD Charitable Foundation had pledged a total of $500,000. HSBC USA also announced a $1 million commitment for disaster recovery efforts, including $500,000 to the American Red Cross in Greater New York, and said it would match dollar-for-dollar all employee donations to relief efforts through its employee giving program and would work with community partners to provide emergency housing and financial assistance in affected communities. And the Bank of America Charitable Foundation announced its own donation of $1 million, including $500,000 to the American Red Cross Hurricanes 2012 fund. The remaining $500,000 will be directed to national, regional, and local nonprofits to support long-term recovery needs in affected communities.

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Hurricane Sandy Resource Page

October 30, 2012

Hurricane-sandy-surgeSandy, the largest storm ever observed in the Atlantic, has moved inland, and local, state, and federal officials are scrambling to assess the damage. The Jersey shore was devastated, as was a neighborhood in the beachfront Queens community of Breezy Point, where more than a hundred and ten homes were destroyed by fire Monday night.

Manhattan (where mass transit and a quarter of the power grid are down) got lucky; if the storm had continued to meander in a northwesterly direction, instead of speeding up and veering sharply to the west, the city would've taken an almost direct hit at high tide under a full moon -- a nightmare scenario.

Still, the damage in the storm's wake is enormous. Countless numbers of trees have been uprooted and millions of people are without power. In some neighborhoods, power won't be restored for weeks, and communities up and down the coast, especially in New Jersey, will be cleaning up for months. Bloomberg estimates that the economic toll from the storm could surpass $20 billion.

We've put together a list of resources for those affected by the storm and/or who are interested in contributing to clean up and recovery efforts. If you know of other resources that should be added, please e-mail us at mfn@foundationcenter.org.

Good luck and speedy recovery to all.

Updated: 10:30 p.m. EST, Friday, November 15

Shelter

To find a Red Cross shelter, download the Red Cross Hurricane app, visit the Red Cross Web site, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), text "**REDCROSS" (**73327677), or check their local media outlets.

From the USA.gov blog: To find a shelter near you, text “Shelter” and a zip code to 43362 (example: Shelter 01234). You can also download the FEMA mobile app, which includes a maps/shelter tab.

Donate

AARP Foundation Relief Fund
http://www.aarp.org/aarp-foundation/

American Red Cross
http://www.redcross.org/charitable-donations

Community Foundation for the National Capital Region - Neighbors in Need: Sandy Relief Fund
http://www.thecommunityfoundation.org/

Craigconnects
Using the Crowdrise platform, CraigsList founder Craig Newmark is matching the first $25,000 in donations to Sandy relief efforts. Update: Newmark's $25,000 was matched in a matter of days.

Daily News Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund
New York's "hometown newspaper" has started a Sandy relief fund and pledges that all funds raised will go directly to those in need. Make checks out to Daily News Charities, specify in the memo field or in a note that the donation is for the Hurricane Sandy Relief fund, and mail to:

New York Daily News
4 New York Plaza
New York, NY 10004

Feeding America
http://feedingamerica.org/

Global Giving - Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund
http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/hurricane-sandy-relief-fund/

Great Nonprofits
http://greatnonprofits.org/disaster-response/storm-sandy/

Hurricane Sandy Long Island Disaster Relief Fund
-- Donate online (http://www.newsday.com/sandyrelief), or make a check payable to:

Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Newsday Charities Processing Center
25257 Network Place
Chicago, IL 60673-1252

Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City
https://www.nyc.gov/html/fund/html/donate/donate.shtml

New Jersey Recovery Fund
http://cfnj.org/new-jersey-recovery/

Network for Good
http://www1.networkforgood.org/hurricanesandy

North Star Fund's Grassroots Hurricane Relief Fund
http://northstarfund.org/grassroots-hurricane-relief-fund.php

Salvation Army
https://donate.salvationarmyusa.org/disaster

Save the Children - Hurricane Sandy Children in Emergency Fund
http://savethechildren.org/

United Way Hurricane Sandy Recovery Fund
http://unitedwaynyc.org/

Virginia Disaster Relief Fund
https://payments.vi.virginia.gov/donatenow

Foodbanks

City Harvest
http://www.cityharvest.org/donate-funds/

Community Foodbank of New Jersey
http://www.njfoodbank.org/

Met Council
http://www.metcouncil.org

Food Bank for NYC
http://www.foodbanknyc.org/

Island Harvest
http://www.islandharvest.org/

Long Island Cares
http://www.licares.org/

Sustainable Long Island
http://sustainableli.org/

Funders

Center for Disaster Philanthropy
http://disasterphilanthropy.org/

Council on Foundations' Disaster Grantmaking page
http://www.cof.org/events/Disasters.cfm

Conrad N. Hilton Foundation - Philanthropic Grantmaking for Disasters
http://www.hiltonfoundation.org/images/stories/Impact/InPracticeRpts/In_Practice_Philanthropic_Grantmaking_for_Disaster_2011.pdf

Haiti Relief

Hurricane Sandy Emergency Outreach - Haiti
http://www.americares.org/

Mobile Donations

Text HUMANE to 80888 to donate $10 on behalf of the American Humane Association

Text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 on behalf of the American Red Cross

Text SANDY to 80088 to donate $10 on behalf of Global Giving

Text STORM to 80888 to donate $10 on behalf of the Salvation Army

Text SUSTAIN to 20222 and reply YES to donate $10 on behalf of the Met Council

Text RECOVERY to 52000 to donate $10 on behalf of United Way Hurricane Sandy Recovery Fund

Text GIVEUSA to 777444 to donate $10 on behalf of World Vision

Volunteer Opportunities

NYC Service
https://www.facebook.com/nycservice

Other Resources, Disaster Assistance

Federal Emergency Management Agency
http://www.fema.gov/disasters

Brooklynites who sustained property damage in Hurricane Sandy can apply for funds from FEMA. To request federal aid, register at disasterassistance.gov, or call (800) 621–3362. The agency asks that applicants have their address, insurance information, and social security number ready. (Source: The Brooklyn Paper)

New Jersey Office of Emergency Management
http://www.state.nj.us/njoem/

New York City Mayor's Office
http://www.nyc.gov/

New York City Office of Emergency Management
http://www.nyc.gov/html/oem/

New York City Transit Tracker
http://transportationnation.org/2012/10/28/hurricane-sandy-what-you-need-to-know-for-transit-and-travel-in-nyc-area/

New York State Office of Emergency Management
http://www.dhses.ny.gov/oem/

Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management
http://oem.readyphiladelphia.org/RelId/606683/ISvars/default/Home.htm

Twitter's Hurricane Sandy Resource List
http://blog.twitter.com/2012/10/hurricane-sandy-resources-on-twitter.html

Weekend Link Roundup (October 27-28, 2012)

October 28, 2012

Hurricane-sandy_satOur weekly roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector....

Climate Change

Bridgespan Group manager Chris Addy says that if the federal government won't address climate change at the policy level, at-risk communities may need to rely on the generosity of private philanthropies like the San Diego Foundation for support. He goes on to list "five powerful pathways for philanthropic funders to invest in climate adaptation":

  1. support local science and local scientists;
  2. invest in neutral conveners;
  3. build the field of climate adaptation;
  4. re-frame adaptation around equity; and
  5. support advocacy.

Leadership

On the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation blog, David Grant, who was president and CEO of the foundation from 1998 to 2010, writes about a board leadership training in which he put off using the "a-word" -- assessment -- and asked the participants to envision what success for their organizations would look like in progressively specific terms. The participants discussed their answers with one another, then repeated the exercise but this time described what success would look like at an even higher level. Grant writes:

I was talking about building an assessment culture. And without using the word "rubric," the teams from each organization had begun to build one, as they discussed...what criteria they would [use to] measure success and began to meld together their visions of what success would look like at various levels. They were beginning to create a clear, specific, shared vision they could plan backwards from -- and one they could use to give and receive feedback in time for the feedback to be useful.

My contention has always been that the word "assessment" needs to be rehabilitated. We have all experienced assessment so many times in our lives...as something that comes at the end and judges our past performance that we have trouble assuming it could be something that happens all along and improves our performance. But it can be. Coaches know that. Teachers of performing arts know that. And leaders of nonprofit organizations can know it, too, once they establish some basic principles and some new habits with their colleagues....

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[Infographic] Nonprofits’ Impact on the Economy

October 27, 2012

Our infographic of the week, courtesy the Rebecca Gordon Group, delves into a topic that has been much-discussed this election season: nonprofits' impact on the economy.

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Give Us Your Tired, Your Poor…Your Grants Data

October 26, 2012

(Jeff Falkenstein is vice president of data architecture at the Foundation Center.)

Data-philanthropyTo say that Jeff Raikes' announcement of the launch of Markets for Good was big news is an understatement. Raikes' call to improve the philanthropic information infrastructure and support the quality of and access to data speaks to the core of the Foundation Center's mission and vision. The center, along with fifteen partner foundations, recently made a big announcement of its own when it launched the Reporting Commitment, a movement to improve the transparency of, and reduce duplication among, foundations through the adoption of common reporting standards and a consistent geographic taxonomy. Needless to say, these two developments have the potential to significantly impact the future of the philanthropic sector.

For over fifty years, the Foundation Center has aggregated information on U.S. foundations pulled from publicly available 990-PF tax returns, annual reports, press releases, foundation Web sites, and other information sources. In addition to offering this data through the Foundation Directory Online, the center features it in its many research reports and issue-based portals, and has taken steps to incorporate it into grants management software as well as reports and portals developed with a number of foundations and other partners. Much of the value the center adds to the information we collect comes from an intensive review of hundreds of thousands of grants made by foundations from around the world. The center also identifies the recipients of those grants: who they are, what they do, where they (generally) work, and which populations they (generally) serve. Additional analysis is done to understand the purpose of the grant, the subject area funded, the type of support provided, the specific population and geographic area served by the grant, and the strategy behind it.

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Young Black Males and the Urgency of Now

October 24, 2012

(John H. Jackson is president and CEO of the Schott Foundation for Public Education, a grantmaking public charity that works to develop and strengthen a broad-based movement to achieve fully resourced quality public education. Before joining Schott, Jackson served as the NAACP's chief policy officer and national director of education and, during the Clinton administration, as senior policy advisor in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education.)

John_jackson_headshotIn April 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King reminded the country that "We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now....Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity....Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, 'Too late'." Forty-five years later, after reviewing the data on graduation rates for black and Latino males and in the spirit of Dr. King’s warning, the Schott Foundation for Public Education titled the 2012 edition of its biennial fifty-state report on public education and black males The Urgency of Now.

The report indicates that nationally 52 percent of black males, 58 percent of Latino males, and 78 percent of white males graduate from high school in four years. To place this data in context, it is predicted that nearly two-thirds of all new jobs will require some college education -- yet just over half of black male students complete high school. And the graduation gap has closed only three percentage points in the last decade. At the current rate of progress, it would take nearly fifty years for black males in the United States to graduate at the same rate as their white male peers.

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On 'Networked Nonprofits' and Measurement: A 'Flip' Chat With Beth Kanter

October 23, 2012

(The short videos below were recorded as part of our "Flip" chat series of conversations with thought leaders in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. You can check out other videos in the series here, including our previous chat with Dr. Michael Durnil, president and CEO of the Simon Youth Foundation.)

At a recent Foundation Center event, Beth Kanter, the "Queen of Nonprofits," explained to a full house that "if you want to create change, you have to be networked, use data, and [work to] make sense of your data." Indeed, that's the message of her most recent book, Measuring the Networked Nonprofit: Using Data to Change the World, which she co-wrote with Katie Delahaye Paine, the "Goddess of Measurement."

Before the event got under way, I had a chance to chat with Kanter about the new book as well as The Networked Nonprofit: Connecting With Social Media to Drive Change, the earlier book she co-wrote with Allison Fine. (Click here for our 2010 "Flip" chat with Fine. )

In part one of a two-part conversation, we asked Kanter to describe the hallmarks of a "networked nonprofit" and share the seven steps of measurement for a networked organization. In the video, she also explains why she feels the "measure everything" approach is misguided and what internal advocates for more measurement can do to get their skeptical colleagues on board.

(If you're reading this in an e-mail, click here.)

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Weekend Link Roundup (October 20-21, 2012)

October 21, 2012

McGovern-72Our weekly roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector....

Communications/Marketing

Network for Good's Katya Andresen offers "five tectonic technology shifts changing our world, our work, and our potential," including the "messenger shift," in which one's peers are now the most influential and amplified messengers in a person's life; the "social action shift"; and the "message shift," where a single message for everyone is no longer enough.

Diversity

On her BlackGivesBack blog, Tracey Webb announces the most recent winners of the D5 coalition's Insights on Diversity grants.

Health

How is "big data" changing health and health care? Steve Downs, chief technology and information officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, chats with a colleague about the latest trends in the use of health-related data at both the personal and population level and the promise these innovations hold for the future.

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'Funding for the Arts' Month: Arts and Community Engagement

October 20, 2012

(Kyoko Uchida is features editor at Philanthropy News Digest. In her last post, she provided some background on the deteriorating situation in Syria through the lens of half a dozen foundation-sponsored publications.)

Irrigate_artshappenIn a commentary piece on Philanthropy News Digest earlier this month, Sharon DeMark, a program officer for the arts at Minnesota Philanthropy Partners, argued for expanding the definition of arts engagement in grantmaking. While citing examples of arts institutions that are experimenting with new ways to attract younger and more diverse audiences, DeMark also noted that the lion's share of grant dollars goes to a handful of large, established organizations, and that there is ample opportunity for funders to identify and support smaller, lesser-known groups and individual artists.

One example mentioned by DeMark that elicited comment was the Walker Arts Center's recent Internet Cat Video Festival, which showcased short videos curated by an online community from among more than ten thousand submissions. "Think expansively, yes," one comment on DeMark's piece read. "Pander to the lowest common denominators and call it the arts, no." Fair enough, but if the subject hadn't been cat videos, would this kind of crowdsourcing be considered "pandering"? Whatever your view of cat videos, there are any number of contests in which the public are invited to vote for their favorite arts organization to receive funding; for example, five South Florida nonprofit arts groups currently are competing for votes via text message to win $20,000 in the first Knight Arts Challenge People's Choice Awards. While it goes without saying that online popularity contests are in many ways a flawed mechanism for awarding philanthropic support, they have been shown to engage more diverse audiences in the arts by giving them a say in directing support to less established groups and artists.

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Preparing Students for College and Careers

October 19, 2012

(Jessica Pliska is the founder and executive director of The Opportunity Network, an intensive, six-year program designed to equal the playing field for high-achieving underserved high school and college students on the road to college and career success.)

Jessica_pliska_headshotThe son of a mail courier and a homemaker, Eric Santiago is the first generation in his family to go to college. He grew up in a low-income family in the Fordham section of the Bronx. When his acceptance letter to Columbia University arrived, Eric made history, becoming the first student from his high school to ever gain admission to the Ivy League.

At Columbia, Eric was unprepared for the academic rigor. "I didn't even know what office hours were, let alone how to use them," he remembers. Assigned The Odyssey in freshman English, he found that many of his classmates had already read it -- in sixth grade. He learned to hold his own with students from tony prep schools who wore designer clothing to class while his blue jeans were stapled together. In his last semester, a financial aid snafu almost prevented him from registering for classes. Less resilient students drop out in the face of similar challenges.

Eric negotiated these situations, graduated in May, and recently landed his first job. But this makes him unusual -- only 10 percent of low-income students graduate college. This number is even more staggering when you consider how many more low-income students are starting college.

It's easy to blame academic unpreparedness or lack of financial resources, both critical issues. But according to a recent study by the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, "even after taking their demographic backgrounds, enrollment characteristics, and academic preparation into consideration, low-income and first-generation students are still at greater risk of failure" – an indication that "the problem is as much the result of [their] experiences during college as it is attributable to the experiences they have before they enroll." Indeed, while a student's academic or financial problems may seem trivial, the smallest of mishaps can spiral into debilitating problems, no matter how much the student wants to succeed.

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Whither Livestrong? 5 Questions for...Leslie Lenkowsky

October 18, 2012

After years in the public eye, first as a world-famous athlete who won the grueling Tour de France, the crown jewel of international cycling, a record seven consecutive times, and subsequently for his central role in a still-unfolding doping scandal, American Lance Armstrong, a cancer survivor, resigned on Wednesday as chairman of Livestrong, the cancer charity he founded some fifteen years ago. Hours later, Nike, one of Armstrong's biggest sponsors, dropped him as a spokesperson -- and was soon joined by half a dozen other Armstrong sponsors.

Earlier today, PND spoke with Leslie Lenkowsky, professor of public affairs and philanthropic studies at the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs, about the Armstrong scandal and its likely effect on Livestrong. Lenkowsky, who writes and speaks frequently about nonprofit management and governance issues, has served as a researcher at the American Enterprise Institute, as president of the Hudson Institute and the Philanthropy Roundtable, and as CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Lenkowsky_headshotPhilanthropy News Digest: Which surprises you more: Lance Armstrong's decision to step down as chair of Livestrong, formerly known as the Lance Armstrong Foundation, or the fact he waited till now?

Leslie Lenkowsky: That he waited until now. In fact, leadership of the organization has been passing from him to others for quite a long time. Stepping down now inevitably makes his decision look like it's related to the doping accusations. Since he is planning to stay on the board, he would have done better to make the transition earlier. But in many nonprofits, founders have a way of staying a bit too long.

PND: Close association with a celebrity can be a slippery slope for an organization, especially when the celebrity's name is on the letterhead. Do you think Livestrong's efforts to broaden its appeal beyond Armstrong will be enough to keep it from seeing a significant drop in its revenues?

LL: Yes. Livestrong has a very diversified base of support, lots of members and chapters, good national partners, and, most importantly, a well-developed set of programs. It has long since outgrown its association with Armstrong, and while his troubles may weaken his value for the organization's events and in other ways, they won't produce a significant drop in revenues.

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A 'Retail' Solution to the Dropout Crisis: A 'Flip' Chat With Dr. Michael Durnil, President/CEO, Simon Youth Foundation

October 17, 2012

(This video was recorded as part of our "Flip" chat series of conversations with thought leaders in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. You can check out other videos in the series here, including our previous chat with Jake Porway, founder and executive director of DataKind.)

In 1983, a blue-ribbon commission tasked with assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the American educational system arrived at the following conclusion: "Knowledge, learning, information, and skilled intelligence are the new raw materials of international commerce and are today spreading throughout the world as vigorously as miracle drugs, synthetic fertilizers, and blue jeans did earlier. If only to keep and improve on the slim competitive edge we still retain in world markets, we must dedicate ourselves to the reform of our educational system for the benefit of all -- old and young alike, affluent and poor, majority and minority. Learning is the indispensable investment required for success in the 'information age' we are entering...."

Three decades after A Nation at Risk, the report based on the commission's work, was released to the public, the American educational system is struggling to keep pace with a variety of powerfully disruptive trends, from globalization and rapid technological change, to growing inequality and the country's changing demographics. One thing everyone agrees on, however, is that the system fails far too many kids. How we address that failure and create an educational system that is more equitable, flexible, and affordable is the great challenge of our time. There are no easy answers. But one thing is clear: innovation and experimentation will be on the test.

Recently, PND spoke with Dr. Michael Durnil, president and CEO of the Indianapolis-based Simon Youth Foundation, a national nonprofit that works to reduce the school dropout rate and increase college access, about Simon Youth Academies, the foundation's signature program. Located primarily in malls owned by Simon Property Group, Simon Youth Academies are non-traditional high schools that give at-risk students the same education they would receive in a traditional classroom but in a flexible environment.

(If you're reading this in an e-mail, click here.)

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Of Fire Trucks, Obama, Romney and Philanthropy

October 15, 2012

(Bradford K. Smith is president of the Foundation Center. In his last post, he announced the launch of the Reporting Commitment, an effort initiated by a group of the largest U.S. foundations to develop more timely, accurate, and precise reporting on the flow of philanthropic dollars.)

Gilpinlib_sign"I live in a rural community where the Tea Party dominates, no new taxes can be passed without a super majority, and government is cutting back on everything. The other day someone asked me how I can help the fire station find money to buy a new fire truck. What do I tell him?"

I was recently asked that question by a librarian at "Network Days," an annual live/virtual gathering of the librarians, nonprofit resource center administrators, and community foundation leaders that are the human face of the Foundation Center's Cooperating Collection Network. In all fifty states and fourteen countries around the world, CCs help struggling nonprofits, those who want to create nonprofits, and people who want to work in nonprofits connect with the resources they need. Except when there are no resources to be found.

Despite being president of the Foundation Center, the world's largest source of information on organized philanthropy, my response to that librarian's question was pretty feeble. All I could really muster is a few words to the effect that, around the country, there are small, local foundations which, on occasion, are willing to contribute to the purchase of a fire truck, an ambulance, emergency medical equipment, and the like. You can find some of them through the Foundation Directory Online or by searching 990-PF tax returns. Most of them don't have Web sites.

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Weekend Link Roundup (October 13-14, 2012)

October 14, 2012

Our weekly roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector....

Communications/Marketing

In a guest post on the Communication Network blog, Hattaway Communication's Doug Hattaway shares a couple of insights based on psychology and neuroscience into how people make decisions:

Insight 1: Two mental systems work together to drive decision-making and behavior. Effective communications influence both intuition and cognition -- encouraging instant intuitive judgments and enabling fluent cognitive reasoning.

Insight 2: People are more likely to trust information that they easily understand. "Fluency" theory holds that if people readily comprehend an idea or information, they are more likely to believe it. Being easy-to-understand obviously doesn't mean the information is more reliable, but people are more likely to perceive it as true. Hattaway's advice for nonprofit communicators: "It's smart to dumb things down."

In a post on her Non-Profit Marketing blog, Network for Good's Katya Andresen shares seven tips designed to improve the stories that nonprofits tell about their impact, the people they help, and their generous supporters.

Disaster Relief

Eye-opening article by Deborah Sontag in the New York Times about Yéle Haiti, the charity created by Haitian-American hip hop artist Wyclef Jean in the wake of the January 2010 earthquake to help the people of that impoverished country.

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Hunger in America: A Q&A With Julie Gehrki, Walmart Foundation

October 12, 2012

In 2010, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation launched a five-year, $2 billion effort to help end hunger in America. In partnership with Feeding America and five of the country’s largest food companies -- ConAgra Foods, General Mills, Kellogg Company, Kraft Foods, and Unilever -- Walmart has since launched a variety of initiatives to encourage its customers to join the fight against hunger. Earlier this fall, Philanthropy News Digest spoke with Walmart Foundation senior director Julie Gehrki about the company's Fighting Hunger Together campaign and what the foundation is doing to address hunger in America.

Julie_gehrki_headshotPhilanthropy News Digest: What effect has the sluggish economic recovery and the drought in the Midwest had on hunger and food insecurity in the United States?

Julie Gehrki: In early September, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released the results of its most recent survey, which found that more than fifty million Americans are suffering from food insecurity. And a recent survey conducted by Feeding America found that 65 percent of its foodbank directors are very worried about food supply in the coming months. While we're hopeful the economy will continue to improve, we want to make sure that those who may not be benefiting from the improvement are taken care of. Feeding America foodbanks are on the frontlines of need in our communities, and Walmart wants to make sure they have the food they need to help those who need it -- particularly if food prices rise, as some are predicting, and as we head into the holiday season.

PND: What are some of the best ways for individuals to fight hunger in their communities?

JG: One of the things we're doing is called the Golden Spark campaign. Through Sunday, October 14, people can go to Walmart.com/hunger or our Facebook page and vote for a community to win $50,000 to start or expand a backpack program -- that's a program that provides meals to food-insecure children over the weekend, when they don't have access to free- or reduced-price school meals. A lot of people understand that kids get fed through school, lunches and sometimes breakfasts, during the week. But the backpack program forces people to think about what a kid does on the weekend. Studies have found that teachers have noticed that many kids are less attentive on Monday mornings, and that's because many of them have not eaten enough over the weekend. Backpack programs are largely run by volunteers. Individuals pack backpacks with food that's easy for kids to open and prepare on their own over the weekend. Walmart believes this is a local issue, something that communities and individuals in those communities have to rally around, because it's their neighbors who are feeling the pain.

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