Zack Bly joined the Congressional Hunger Center in 2015. His responsibilities include welcoming visitors, providing administrative support across the organization, and keeping the office running smoothly.
Before coming to the Hunger Center, Zack worked in the circulation departments of the public library systems of Alexandria, VA, and Orange County, NC, as well as the Himmelfarb Health Sciences Library at George Washington University. While living in Massachusetts he managed First Church Somerville UCC’s community garden, which provides fresh produce to Somerville Homeless Coalition’s Project SOUP. His volunteer experience includes work with Anathoth Community Garden in Cedar Grove, NC; ReVision Urban Farm in Boston, MA; Arlington Food Assistance Center in Arlington, VA; and DC Central Kitchen in Washington, DC.
Zack is from Cedar Grove, NC, and studied Communications and Media Production at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
As Chief Operating Officer, Kristin provides operational and management leadership at the Congressional Hunger Center, oversees CHC’s administrative, technology, and human resource functions, and contributes to the organization’s finance and fundraising infrastructure. Kristin has more than 15 years of experience working with small nonprofits addressing poverty, hunger, homelessness, and addiction and recovery, at the local, state, and national level. She joined CHC in 2001.
Kristin holds a BA in Anthropology from the State University of New York at Binghamton, a Masters in Public Health from the University of Texas Health Science Center, and an Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Georgetown University. Her formal education was substantially enhanced by two years serving as a VISTA Volunteer.
Emily Byers is Co-Director for Policy and Special Initiatives of the Mickey Leland International Hunger Fellows Program. As Co-Director, she shares responsibility for the day-to-day management of the program and bears primary responsibility for training and advising the Leland Fellows on policy-related matters. She also helps to define and advocate CHC’s international food security policy positions.
Prior to joining CHC, Emily served as Director of Policy for Initiative for Global Development (IGD), a network of business leaders that champions effective solutions to global poverty. She established IGD’s Washington office and led the organization’s advocacy work on foreign assistance and development-related trade issues. Before IGD, she worked in the Government Relations department of Bread for the World, a grassroots advocacy organization that seeks to combat hunger in the United States and around the world through policy change. As Senior Policy Analyst, she led the organization’s policy and legislative advocacy work on international trade and agriculture. Emily holds an MSc in international political economy from the London School of Economics and a bachelor’s degree from Providence College.
Aileen Carr has served the Congressional Hunger Center since December 2001 and has been directing the Emerson National Hunger Fellows Program since the summer of 2006. Aileen has recruited, trained, and mentored more than 280 Hunger Fellows, supporting an effective cadre of young leaders with critical experience and knowledge needed to make positive change. Those fellows have completed over 550 vital projects for organizations working to meet the basic needs of all, bring justice to the food system, and end poverty.
Aileen believes that diverse people, organizations, and approaches must be engaged in the fight to end hunger and poverty and ensure that healthy food is available for all. She has been working for more than a decade to integrate an anti-racist approach to all aspects of the Emerson Program, including field and policy site selection and training. Early in her tenure at CHC, she worked to broaden the program focus from support for the emergency food system to engagement with the root causes of hunger and poverty and systemic solutions, including federal nutrition and anti-poverty programs. Later, she redesigned the Emerson Program training curriculum, developed a new recruitment plan that resulted in a substantial increase in applications and enrollment of Hunger Fellows from low-income families and communities of color, and strengthened the alumni network.
Aileen received the 2008 Public Interest Rising Star Award from OMBWatch for outstanding public interest work. (Every five years, OMB Watch rewards dedicated work of 4-5 younger people and encourages their continued pursuit of government accountability, citizen participation, or social justice.) She earned a Masters of Public Administration degree at George Mason University with a concentration in nonprofit management in 2012 and an Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Georgetown University’s Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership in 2009.
Prior to joining the Hunger Center, Aileen created the International Community Alumni Project at Tufts University in her home state of Massachusetts, linking over 450 alumni all over the world to the University and to each other. She also worked as a paralegal at Hale and Dorr, LLP in Boston, where she focused primarily on pro bono trial cases addressing prisoners’ civil rights, environmental protection, and funding for legal services.
In 2000-2001, Aileen traveled through developing countries in Asia and Africa and co-developed an interdisciplinary lesson series for fifth grade students in the U.S. designed to promote their understanding of the inter-relationships between geography and world history.
Aileen graduated cum laude from Tufts University with a Bachelor of Arts in History in 1998. She spent one semester abroad at La Universidad de Salamanca in Spain and has limited proficiency in Spanish.
Edward M. Cooney became the Congressional Hunger Center’s (CHC) Executive Director on February 5, 2001. Prior to joining CHC, Ed was an anti hunger advocate at the Food Research and Action Center and Connecticut Legal Services. From September 1997 to January 2001, Ed held two senior positions at the United States Department of Agriculture as Deputy Administrator for Special Nutrition Programs and Special Assistant for Nutrition to USDA Secretary Dan Glickman. Ed was a member of USDA’s Senior Executive Service, the government’s top management team.
As an advocate or nutrition program administrator, Ed has worked with allied groups on every major children nutrition and Food Stamp (SNAP) bill since 1977. His viewpoint on nutrition program and policy issues is sought by key Congressional staff, the Executive branch of government (Food and Nutrition Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture and White House staff) and national anti-hunger organizations.
Ed is a founding member of the National Academies Institute of Medicine’s Roundtable on Obesity Solutions and a member of the Board of Advisors to the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. Ed received the Gene White Lifetime Achievement Award for Child Nutrition from the Global Child Nutrition Association and the School Nutrition Association in 2008.
Ed represents CHC as a member of the National Anti-Hunger Organizations (NAHO). Ed is a consultant to the National Food Service Management Institute on the USDA funded project: History of School Lunch Programs in the United States. He is also currently a member of the Child Nutrition Forum Steering Committee as well as an ex officio member of the National CACFP Forum Board of Directors. Ed is a partner with the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) on a major anti-hunger initiative. NCSL and its public and private sector partners wish to raise the visibility of hunger in America and improve the availability of healthy foods for hungry families. Ed also works with groups and private sector companies interested in preserving food choice in SNAP. Ed is also a member of the Tyson Animal Well-Being Advisory Panel. Ed was a member of the Community Food Security board from 2006 to 2011.
CHC is a leader in the movement to ensure access to food as a basic human right for all people. We create and nurture a community of innovative and inspiring leaders who act as change agents, bridging the gap between grassroots efforts and national and international public policy to provide vulnerable populations access to nutritious, affordable and culturally appropriate food. We facilitate this leadership development through two current programs, the Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellows Program and the Mickey Leland International Hunger Fellows Program.
Ed received a BA degree in History from the College of the Holy Cross and a JD degree from the University of Connecticut Law School.
Mohamed Gurey joined the Congressional Hunger Center in January 2001 first as a contractor, and then as a full-time employee. Mohamed manages CHC audits and the accounting department and its procedures.
Mohamed has brought with him over 10 years of experience in Accounting. Prior to joining the Congressional Hunger Center, Mohamed worked as Chief Accountant and then Financial Controller for Uganda Paper Products, where he was charged with monthly ledger reconciliation, financial statement preparation, and cost analysis. Mohamed also worked as a Chief Accountant for Eagle Aviation, a leading East-African transportation company; as an auditor for Kassim Lakha and Abdulla Company, representing Arthur Anderson; and as an Accountant for Chemical Corporation.
Mohamed studied Commerce, majoring in Accounting and Economics from 1984-1987. He went on to study accounting at Asmara University, Ethiopia from 1988-1989.
In 2005, Mohamed graduated from Devry University with a BA in Information Systems. In 2006 he earned his Masters in Finance and Management Accounting (MFMA). Additionally, he has completed the full CPA classes with Becker—Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and is currently a CPA.
Twana Jemerson joined the Congressional Hunger Center in May 2008 as the Payroll and Benefits Coordinator.
Prior to joining the Congressional Hunger Center, Twana served as the Human Resource Generalist/ Manager for the Corporation for National and Community Service. In this role, she managed all aspects of Human Resource functions for their volunteer based programs and employees.
Twana has additional working experience with community based organizations. As an AmeriCorps member and Program Manager for Hands On Atlanta, she managed AmeriCorps teams in Middle Schools for the Atlanta Public School System to improve Math and Reading scores. She also coordinated an overnight retreat for approximately 30 High School and Middle School students focusing on self-esteem and academic related enrichment activities.
Twana graduated from Trinity University with a Masters in Organizational Development with a concentration in Human Resource Management, and holds a BA degree from Georgia State University in Communication.
Grace Jones is Co-Director for Program and Operations of the Mickey Leland International Hunger Fellows Program. As Co-Director, she shares responsibility for day-to-day management of the program, including recruitment and selection of fellows and serving as a fellowship advisor. She bears primary responsibility for the development of field training programs, as well as oversees budgetary and contractual obligations.
As an alumna of the 2nd class of Leland International Hunger Fellows, Grace worked for Counterpart International in rural Guatemala during her first year and then at Counterpart’s headquarters office in Washington DC in her second year. While in Guatemala, Grace worked with indigenous Mayan communities to strengthen household food security. Following the end of the two year fellowship, Grace was hired as a Program Officer in Counterpart’s Food Security division and was promoted to Senior Program Officer two years later. Her primary role during this period was the management of USAID Multi-Year Activity Plans and USDA Food For Progress and Food For Education programs implemented by Counterpart in countries throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America. Grace spent a significant amount of time traveling to project field sites in order to monitor program goals and objectives, liaise with partners and recruit staff.
Grace holds an MS in International Agriculture Development and an MS in Agronomy from the University of California Davis. After completing her BA in International Relations from San Francisco State University, Grace served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras where she worked with farmers on the implementation of soil conservation and soil improvement techniques and facilitated community garden collectives with women’s groups.
As Director of Development, Victoria J. O’Reilly creates and implements strategies to develop and manage funding relationships with corporate, foundation, individual, and government partners that secure and sustain philanthropic support for the Congressional Hunger Center.
Victoria has worked with international, national, and regional policy-focused nonprofit organizations over the past three decades on a range of issues, including aging, arts, labor, consumer health, women, and international democracy and security concerns.
Before joining CHC, Victoria served as Director of Development at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace for eight years, supporting the think tank’s growth to six centers in the U.S., Europe, Russia and Central Asia, the Middle East, and Asia and the establishment of new programs on International Economics and Energy and Climate Change. Prior to her work at Carnegie, she was Deputy Director and Acting Director of Development at the Economic Policy Institute, securing funding for research and technical assistance programs on issues affecting U.S. workers and for the Global Policy Network, an international think tank alliance. Previously, Victoria was Development Associate at FamiliesUSA and Development and Public Relations Assistant at the Older Women’s League (OWL). She has worked for regional and national arts organizations, and for the Service Employees International Union.
Victoria holds the Master of Arts degree from George Washington University in Public Policy with a concentration in Women’s Studies and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Smith College in Mathematics.
Albert Ramirez joined the Emerson National Hunger Fellowship Program staff in September 2014, and is an alumni of the 20th class of Emerson Fellows. As Fellowship Advisor, Albert’s primary responsibilities include providing technical assistance and mentorship to Emerson Fellows and leading and facilitating program trainings and workshops.
Albert has been actively working to fight poverty, hunger and injustice for many years on issues including healthy food access, child nutrition, homelessness, mass incarceration, economic justice, and immigration reform. As an Emerson Hunger Fellow, he worked with the United Way of King County where he evaluated the implementation of the federal summer meals program in Seattle, WA, and made recommendations for increasing overall utilization of the program with a focus on communities of color. He also laid the groundwork for a coalition of organizations across Seattle working together on anti-hunger issues by researching and synthesizing the “Collective Impact” framework, a structured model of collaboration for organizations from different sectors working on a common issue. In Washington, D.C., he worked with the Center for Community Change, where he contributed to the policy team’s research and strategy on developing a national job creation agenda for low-income people, people of color, and women. He also assisted with the development of trainings on economic justice for partner organizations, and supported the immigration team’s advocacy for comprehensive immigration reform. As a student, Albert spent time in the Philippines working on subsistence farms and researching grassroots organic farming initiatives with the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement. After graduating, Albert worked with the Community Engagement department of Oxfam America in Boston, MA, and worked as the program manager, grant writer, and residential staff member at Haley House, a multi-service organization for individuals experiencing homelessness and returning citizens.
Originally from Houston, Texas, Albert graduated from Saint Louis University in 2011 with degrees in economics and environmental studies.
Jon Wogman joined the Congressional Hunger Center in February 2008 as the Receptionist/Office Assistant and has worked with the Emerson National Hunger Fellows Program since the summer of 2008. He is committed to investing in the leadership and skill development of Emerson Hunger Fellows and believes that they have a significant role in shaping future anti-hunger and anti-poverty policies and projects. Through his various roles, he provided support and mentorship for more than 100 Hunger Fellows over the past six years. He has served myriad roles with the Emerson Program including positions of Program Assistant, Program Associate, Program Coordinator, and Fellowship Advisor. He has worked to improve recruitment efforts with the result of a 50% increase in the application pool. As a trainer for the program, he has conducted trainings and workshops on race, class, gender, leadership, food justice, legislative process, salary negotiation, approaches to change, and other sessions.
A long time New Englander, Jon now calls rural Southern Maryland his home. He is passionate about social justice issues and working to end hunger, poverty and injustice. He believes that dismantling racism is crucial step in the fight towards ending poverty and has participated and led several workshops and trainings on anti-racism. He is constantly striving to build his anti-racism practice in the work and life he leads.
Jon graduated from Susquehanna University in 2007 with a B.A. in political science. He also holds minors in in international studies and film. At Susquehanna University, Jon was the President of Green SU, Green Party chapter, and was involved in campus organizing around environmental justice and anti-war. In 2006, he served as a Pennsylvania House of Representatives Legislative Fellow and worked in the office of Rep. Belfanti on the Labor Relations Committee.