Hunger-Free Minnesota Awards Innovation Grants to Fight Hunger at Minnesota Hunger Impact Exchange General Mills pledges additional $1 million to help close Minnesota's missing-meal gap PR Newswire MINNEAPOLIS, April 11, 2013 MINNEAPOLIS, April 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Hunger-Free Minnesota and its strategic coalition partners hosted the Minnesota Hunger Impact Exchange at General Mills headquarters Thursday, April 11 with a program designed to foster collaboration, investment and action among corporate leaders, nonprofit organizations and grassroots hunger-fighting organizations. At the event, Hunger-Free Minnesota shared its groundbreaking Community Close-Up research and announced the initial grants related to this research through a new fund dedicated to supporting innovative strategies at the grassroots level. The goal of the Minnesota Hunger Impact Exchange event was to foster innovation to fight persistent hunger that is costing the state more than $1.2 billion per year. Business, government and nonprofit partners discussed and shared innovative strategies to bring about lasting change. Grants awarded at the event cover a broad range of strategies to combat food hardship and to improve the nourishment and health of Minnesotans of all ages. The Community Close-up grants are supported by General Mills, Cargill and UnitedHealth Group, and The Boston Consulting Group provides research support. General Mills, a founding supporter and strategic partner of Hunger-Free Minnesota, pledged an additional $1 million to support Hunger-Free Minnesota's game-changing work. In 2011, General Mills committed $1 million in financial support that was used to fund initiatives that expanded existing programs and increased efficiencies within Minnesota's emergency food system and child nutrition programs. Today's pledge builds upon this original commitment and will be used to support community partners as they leverage the Community Close-Up data and implement data-driven strategies that will help close Minnesota's missing meal gap. "As a food company, it makes perfect sense for us to work on the hunger issue, and we've done so for many years," said Ken Powell, chairman and CEO of General Mills. "We are proud of our donations and involvement over the years. However, we know that demand is simply outpacing supply. GeneralMills' expanding support for this Exchange comes from our belief that in these challenging times, our community will be stronger if we better understand the hunger issue and look for opportunities to collaborate." Grant Awards Hunger-Free Minnesota expects to award more than $1.5 million in grants in 2013 alone. At the event, $381,000 in grant awards was presented to 20 organizations from across the state.All of the organizations receiving grants will use the Community Close-Up research to develop, test and evaluate programs aimed at reducing hunger. A complete list of grant award winners is at www.hungerfreemn.org "The Community Close-Up research, developed with the leadership of The Boston Consulting Group, helps us tackle local hunger with strategic and sustainable action plans," said Ellie Lucas, chief campaign officer, Hunger-Free Minnesota. "The information shared at this event will allow communities from across the state to collaborate and bring best practices forward." The program included a leadership panel discussion with executives from General Mills, Cargill, UnitedHealth Group and The Boston Consulting Group. The panelists shared details of their companies' engagement in the campaign. Grant winners were also highlighted with presentations of their innovative work to fight hunger in specific communities. "At Cargill, we believe that food security exists when everyone has access to safe, nutritious and affordable food," said Scott Portnoy, corporate vice president at Cargill. "We are proud to join our peer companies in supporting the impressive work that Hunger-Free Minnesota is piloting in our headquarters state." Hunger-Free Minnesota's partnerships with business leaders in the state have led to impressive results for the campaign since its launch in 2011. To date, the campaign has raised more than $6.5 million and, with its partners, has added more than 36.5 million meals to help close the 100 million missing-meal gap in Minnesota. By closing the missing meal gap, the coalition aims to improve health for those impacted by food hardship and reduce the associated cost of hunger. "Access to nutritious food is fundamental to good health, and UnitedHealth Group is grateful for the opportunity to support Hunger-Free Minnesota's mission to close the missing-meal gap," said Kate Rubin, UnitedHealth Group Vice President of Social Responsibility and President of United Health Foundation. "We believe that if Hunger-Free Minnesota's campaign is successful in Minnesota, it has tremendous potential to expand to other communities across the United States." To collaborate in the fight against hunger, the strategic, data-driven campaign engages: oCorporations oNonprofit organizations oFederal and state government entities oCommunity members, school districts, trade associations Hunger-Free Minnesota Corporate Partners General Mills Minnesota Public Radio Cargill Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota UnitedHealth Group Hormel Foods The Boston Consulting Group Land O'Lakes Hunger-Free Minnesota Founding Partners Channel One Regional Food Bank & Food Shelf Great Plains Food Bank Greater Twin Cities United Way Hunger Solutions Minnesota Keystone Community Services (representing the Twin Cities Hunger Initiative) North Country Food Bank Second Harvest Heartland Food Bank Second Harvest North Central Food Bank Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank United Way of Hastings (representing United Way chapters outside the Twin Cities) Hunger-Free Minnesota Alliances AARP Minnesota Seneca Foods Share Our Strength SUPERVALU Midwest Dairy Council Children's Defense Fund Feeding America Minnesota Department of Human Services Dorsey & Whitney Minnesota Department of Agriculture Colle & McVoy Minnesota Department of Health CompassPoint Media Minnesota Department of Education Campbell Mithun Minnesota Agri-Growth Council Ultra Creative University of Minnesota About Community Close-Up Community Close-Up is a data analysis tool developed by The Boston Consulting Group in conjunction with Hunger-Free Minnesota. Communities can use Community Close-Up to determine how many meals its hungriest residents are missing and in which census tracts they reside. Demographic information provided for each census tract helps suggest and inform strategies for closing the meal gap at the communitylevel. More information and data examples are available at www.hungerfreemn.org/community-close-data-analysis About Hunger-Free Minnesota Hunger-Free Minnesota is a time-limited campaign to close the 100 million missing-meal gap in Minnesota. Among its partners and supporters are community leaders and citizens, nonprofit agencies and organizations, food banks, food shelves and corporations. Research partners include The Boston Consulting Group and EnSearch, Inc. Hunger-Free Minnesota's strategic action plan focuses on emergency food system capacity, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and child hunger and nutrition. The campaign encourages individuals and organizations to "Fight Hunger Where You Live." More information is available at www.hungerfreemn.org. SOURCE Hunger-Free Minnesota Website: http://www.hungerfreemn.org Contact: Joanne Henry, Media Relations, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1-612-843-2142
Hunger-Free Minnesota Awards Innovation Grants to Fight Hunger at Minnesota Hunger Impact Exchange
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