Hunger-Free Minnesota Awards Innovation Grants to Fight Hunger at Minnesota Hunger Impact Exchange

 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, jhenry@henryschafer.com,
+1-612-843-2142