The Hunger Project

The Hunger Project
The Hunger Project
Type 501(c)(3) non-profit
Industry charitable organization
Founded 1977
Headquarters Manhattan, NY, U.S.
Key people Jill Lester, President and CEO
Fitigu Tadesse, Vice President Africa
John Coonrod, Vice President
Robert W. Fuller, Founder
John Denver, Founder
Werner Erhard, Founder
Joan Holmes, Former President
Badiul Alam Majumdar, Vice President Bangladesh
Peter Bourne, Chair BOD
Charles Deull, Secretary, Director
Joaquim Chissano, Director
V. Mohini Giri, Director
Specioza Wandira Kazibwe, Director
Cecilia Loría Saviñón, Director
George Mathew, Director
Queen Noor of Jordan, Director
Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, Director
Amartya Sen, Director
Steven J. Sherwood, Director
George Weiss, Director
Revenue increase0.27% to $8,727,193 million USD (2004)
Operating income decrease30.4% to $919,249 USD (2004)
Employees 118
Website Corporate Homepage

The Hunger Project (THP) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization incorporated in the state of California.[1]

The Hunger Project describes itself as an organization committed to the sustainable end of world hunger. It has ongoing programs in Africa, Asia and Latin America, where it implements programs aimed at mobilizing rural grassroots communities to achieve sustainable progress in health, education, nutrition and family income.[2]


Official mission statement

The Hunger Project is a global, non-profit, strategic organization committed to the sustainable end of world hunger. In Africa, Asia and Latin America, The Hunger Project seeks to end hunger and poverty by empowering people to lead lives of self-reliance, meet their own basic needs and build better futures for their children. The Hunger Project carries out its mission through three activities: mobilizing village clusters at the grassroots level to build self-reliance, empowering women as key change agents, and forging effective partnerships with local government.

Countries of operation

In 2009 The Hunger Project was active in Africa, in Benin, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Senegal, and Uganda, in Asia, in Bangladesh and India, and in Latin America, in Mexico, Bolivia (partnered with Fundación Acción Cultural Loyola (ACLO)),[3] and Peru (partnered with Chirapaq (Center for Indigenous Peoples' Cultures of Peru)).[4]

Primary activities

In Africa, THP implements what it calls "the Epicenter strategy", organizing clusters of 10 to 15 villages to construct community centers, partner with local government agencies and community based organizations, and establish and manage their own programs for microfinance, improved agriculture, food-processing, income-generation, adult literacy, food-security, and primary health-care (including the prevention of HIV/AIDS).

In India, THP facilitates the mobilization and training of elected women panchayat leaders. In Bangladesh, THP conducts trainings focused on gender issues and leadership for local leaders who then organize local meetings, lead workshops and initiate campaigns against early marriage and dowry, malnutrition, maternal and child mortality, gender discrimination, and inequality, illiteracy and corruption. In Latin America, THP works with communities to overcome economic marginalization, particularly that of the indigenous women.

Dionne Warwick represented the charity on the US TV series The Celebrity Apprentice in Season 11 (which was airde in early 2011) and was fired before any money was made for donation. She left the show with a fiery exit.

Impact assessment

Innovations for Poverty Action, a nonprofit evaluation organization,[3] is partnering with THP to evaluate the long-term impact of this epicenter strategy on health, nutrition, income, the role of women, social cohesion and education in Ghana.[4]

Financial and accountability reports

The Hunger Project raises funds, via contributions, in Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States. According to its online report retrieved February 2007, Charity Navigator reports that The Hunger Project's program costs in FY2005 were 80.2% of expenses, and administrative and fundraising costs were 19.8%.[5] reports that as of December 2006, the Project's program expenses were 77% of total, and administrative and fundraising costs 23% and meets all of its standards.[1] Charity Navigator gives The Hunger Project four out of four stars[6], and the American Institute of Philanthropy gives it an A- rating.[7]

The Hunger Project met the standards to be listed on the 2004 Combined Federal Campaign National List[8] and the Commonwealth of Virginia 2005 Charity Application.[9]

"The Power of Half" donation

Kevin Salwen and his 14-year-old daughter Hannah Salwen, authors of The Power of Half, describe in their 2010 book how their family chose to sell its home, so that it could donate half of the proceeds of the sale of the home ($850,000) to The Hunger Project.[10][11] They also discuss the process the family went through to pick The Hunger Project as the recipient of its donation, out of a number of possible charitable recipients, and the reaction of some to their choice to earmark their charitable contribution for overseas rather than for the U.S. where they live.[12][13] The project they earmarked the donation for will lessen the hunger of 30,000 rural villagers in over 30 villages in Ghana, and help the villagers move from poverty to self-reliance.[13][14] The family then bought a new home for itself, which was half the size and value of its original home.[12]

Public criticism

The Hunger Project has been the object of criticism, focused on:

  • the organization's original ties (severed in 1991) to Werner Erhard, Erhard Seminars Training, and their philosophies;[citation needed]
  • the failure of the Hunger Project to reach its goal of "ending world hunger by 1997...";[15]
  • the focus of the Project (1977–1990) on public education and advocacy, rather than providing food and other direct action (on May 30, 1981 the board of directors of Oxfam Canada passed a resolution which stated they would not endorse any activities or programs sponsored by The Hunger Project, nor would they accept funds from the project.[16])

Project response to criticism

Mother Jones, The Christian Century, the fifth estate, Carol Giambalvo, Rick Ross, and Jim Provenzano have all received complaints from The Hunger Project for publishing articles that The Hunger Project considered to be false and defamatory.[citation needed]

...the Hunger Project has reacted strongly against other reporters who have attempted to cover the group's activities. Pat Lynch, then an NBC News reporter, stated that the Hunger Project carried out a four-month campaign to discredit her while she was preparing what eventually became an NBC Evening News segment in 1980. And when Dan Noyes was asked by a radio station in 1983 to participate in a program with a Hunger Project spokesperson, the organization refused to appear. Instead they requested a tape of the program with Noyes alone for review by the group's lawyer.[17]

Governance and administration

Executive staff

  • Mary Ellen McNish, President and Chief Executive Officer
  • John Coonrod, Executive Vice President
  • Idrissa Dicko, Vice President for Africa Programs

Board membership[18]


  1. ^ a b "Charity Review of Hunger Project". Retrieved February 1, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Mission". Retrieved February 1, 2010. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ [2][dead link]
  5. ^ "The Hunger Project". Charity Navigator.
  6. ^ "The Hunger Project". Charity Navigator.
  7. ^ "Top Rated Charities". American Institute of Philanthropy. Retrieved September 17, 2006.
  8. ^ "2004 Combined Federal Campaign National List" (Word document, see "Global Hunger Project", item #1436). U. S. Office of Personnel Management. Retrieved September 16, 2006.
  9. ^ "CVC 2005 Charity Application Global Hunger Project". Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign. Retrieved September 17, 2006
  10. ^ Taylor, Ihsan (January 14, 2011). "Paperback Row". The New York Times. Retrieved March 9, 2011. 
  11. ^ Rosboch, Lili (June 21, 2010). "Family Sells $2M Mansion, Gives Half to Charity: Review". Bloomberg. Retrieved March 9, 2011. 
  12. ^ a b Rachel Mount (April 2010). "A Surprising Path to Philanthropy". O, The Oprah Magazine. Retrieved March 10, 2011. 
  13. ^ a b Kristof, Nicholas D. (January 23, 2010). "What Could You Live Without?". The New York Times. Retrieved March 9, 2011. 
  14. ^ Bill Hybels, Ashley Wiersma (2010). The Power of a Whisper: Hearing God, Having the Guts to Respond: Participant's Guide. Zondervan. ISBN 0310329485. Retrieved March 9, 2011. 
  15. ^ Gordon, Suzanne (December 1978). "Let them eat est". Mother Jones. Vol. 3, No. 10, pp. 40–44, 49–50, 52–54
  16. ^ Bell, Daniel and Weston, Brendan (February 13, 1985. "Hunger Project feeds itself". McGill Daily
  17. ^ Weir, David; Noyes, Dan; and Center for Investigative Reporting (1983). Raising Hell: How the Center for Investigative Reporting Gets the Story., pp.156., Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co. ISBN 0-201-10858-5.
  18. ^ "Global Board of Directors and Officers". Retrieved February 1, 2010. 

External links

Corporate websites

Financial information


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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