Feeding America today announced the establishment of the Food Security Equity Impact Fund which will drive investments to communities of color known to be disproportionately impacted by food insecurity and the COVID-19 pandemic. The Fund is designed to deepen existing partnerships and create new ones at the community level that focus inordinately on people who are most impacted by food insecurity. It will focus on addressing root causes of hunger, reserving seats at the table for people with lived experience.
The Food Security Equity Impact Fund will be seeded with a $20 million donation made by MacKenzie Scott to Feeding America in December 2020. This fund aligns with Scott’s intent and philanthropic approach to focus on communities facing high projected food insecurity, high measures of racial inequity, high local poverty rates, and low access to philanthropic capital. The Fund will seek to build pathways within disproportionately impacted communities by developing community-based solutions in partnership with BIPOC-led organizations to improve local food security.
“Our vision is of a country where no one is hungry,” said Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America. “The data is irrefutable; communities of color are inordinately impacted by food insecurity. We cannot fully commit to our vision without addressing that fact in a fulsome way. It is in our nation’s collective interest to invest in disproportionately impacted communities – because when we build the resiliency of our most vulnerable communities, we help to lift society as a whole. Though progress will not be easy, meaningful progress certainly is possible. It will require focus, it will require resources and it will require partnership.”
As part of its ongoing commitment to act, Feeding America is accelerating its work to address disparities and advance solutions for an America where no one is hungry. In the U.S., Native Americans are 2.9 times more likely, and Blacks are 2.4 times and Latinos are two times more likely to live in food insecure households than whites. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the challenges of reaching many people in need of help, especially Native American communities, and has brought to light the health disparities and additional structural barriers that communities of color are facing. Through this concerted effort and focus, Feeding America aims to ensure access and opportunity for all as well as to strengthen the health and wellbeing of all communities.
As the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, with a network of 200 member food banks and 60,000 partner food pantries and meal programs across the country, Feeding America is uniquely positioned to help identify and address systemic barriers to ending food insecurity. Feeding America will work with member food banks to invest in community programs and strategies that honor cultural and community assets, are aligned to dismantle systems that drive food insecurity, and leverage the unique contributions of community leaders in a collective effort to end hunger. Through this fund, Feeding America will both broaden and deepen relationships within communities of color by extending the hand of partnership to people and organizations with whom the Feeding America network has not yet engaged or can engage with more fully.
“Over the last year, our network, aided by unprecedented public support, provided 6 billion meals to our neighbors in need. Still, the need is great, and together we can and should do more,” Babineaux-Fontenot said. “And, although we are hopeful that the economy will bounce back faster than was initial projected, our data suggests that the recovery will be slower for people facing hunger, and especially for communities of color.”
Babineaux-Fontenot added, “As we work within communities to co-create the Fund’s deployment, we invite partners and supporters to join us in investing in the Food Security Equity Impact Fund. We will work with our remarkable network and communities across the country to determine the most impactful investment opportunities to disrupt and dismantle the systems that have had such devastating impact on food security and identify solutions to help end hunger in America.”
To learn more about the Food Security Equity Impact Fund and support efforts at the national level, listen to Feeding America CEO Claire Babineaux-Fontenot on the podcast “Elevating Voices, Ending Hunger” debut episode available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify or visit FeedingAmerica.org/equityimpact.
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About Feeding America
Feeding America® is the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States. Through a network of more than 200 food banks, 21 statewide food bank associations, and over 60,000 partner agencies, food pantries and meal programs, we helped provide 6.6 billion meals to tens of millions of people in need last year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and improve food security among the people we serve; brings attention to the social and systemic barriers that contribute to food insecurity in our nation; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.