Feeding America, the nation's largest hunger-relief organization, today announced that Eric Olsen, currently vice president, corporate affairs and public policy for Mars, Incorporated, and a member of Feeding America's Board of Directors, will join Feeding America as senior vice president for government affairs, public policy and programs effective October 11, 2010. George Braley, senior vice president of government relations has purposely chosen to scale back his role and will serve as a consultant to the charity, following a transition period with Mr. Olsen.
In making the announcement, Feeding America's President and CEO, Vicki Escarra, said,"We are very pleased to welcome Eric's experience and perspective to the Feeding America management team. He is a gifted leader and public policy veteran who has proven himself time and again in roles both inside and outside of government service," said Escarra."His appointment represents a further reinforcement of our commitment to raise awareness about the reality of hunger in America and advocate for legislation that addresses the many factors that contribute to food insecurity.
"The Feeding America network faces enormous challenges in our current efforts to provide food to nearly 6 million people each week. Eric's strategic policy and management experience will no doubt be an asset to our senior leadership team and propel us closer to making our mission of a hunger-free America a reality."
Olsen commented,"The job of representing the Feeding America network at the federal and state levels is a huge and important one. So, too, is the job of telling the domestic hunger story to audiences in Washington, DC and beyond the Beltway. The hunger landscape is rapidly changing and faces evolving challenges, including reconstituted policy mandates and continued economic spirals. George Braley has been instrumental in helping Feeding America to make great strides in the fight against domestic hunger, and I look forward to building on his legacy."
Olsen has been with Mars since 2008 and in his current role is responsible for public policy and stakeholder engagement on a variety of topics including health and nutrition. Prior to Mars, he worked for seven years for the Secretary of Agriculture in the Clinton Administration, including as Chief of Staff, and was a partner at Patton Boggs LLP, where he represented food, nonprofit, and agribusiness clients on a variety of policy issues, including nutrition. Over the course of his career, Mr. Olsen has worked on food and agricultural policy issues for more than 25 years.
Olsen earned his bachelor's of arts degree summa cum laude from the University of Minnesota. He was awarded his juris doctorate from the University of Minnesota Law School. His Board position will be vacated at the time of his transition and the organization will seek to fill that void.
Escarra added,"On behalf of his many friends in our network, I want to thank George for his years of contribution to Feeding America. His extraordinary talents and considerable experience have made a substantial contribution to the fight against hunger during a period of unprecedented increases in the need for emergency food assistance and enrollment in federal nutrition programs. Under George's leadership the organization successfully lobbied Congress to pass the 2007 Farm Bill and enhanced relationships with the USDA which have led to increases in both food and funds for our network and lead to state and federal regulations that reduce domestic hunger."
"I am pleased to have contributed to the heightened visibility and public understanding of the dire need to eliminate domestic hunger," said Braley. I am particularly proud of talented and dedicated staff working on public policy, programs and research. I believe Eric Olsen is the ideal leader as we build on our action plan to eliminate domestic hunger. I look forward to continuing to be available to the organization as it meets the evolving needs of the growing population of people impacted by hunger."
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