Building Bridges to a Hunger-Free World: The 2017 Hunger Leadership Awards



 The Congressional Hunger Center had the honor of recognizing four distinguished leaders in the fight against global and domestic hunger at the 11th Annual Hunger Leadership Awards on June 13, 2017 at the Madison Building of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Attendees from the government, philanthropy, business, and non-profit sectors, as well as current Fellows and alumni from the Emerson and Leland Hunger Fellowship programs, were on hand to recognize the achievements of our Congressional and alumni awardees.

Shannon Maynard

The theme of this year’s awards ceremony was Building Bridges to a Hunger-Free World. Executive Director Shannon Maynard’s opening remarks recalled the fruitful bipartisan collaboration between Rep. Bill Emerson and Rep. Mickey Leland, the namesakes of our Fellowship programs. “Today, more than ever, we need bridge builders, like tonight’s honorees,” said Maynard; “leaders who are capable of challenging the status quo empathetically, setting aside differences where there’s progress to be made and casting a vision of what a huger free world can look like.”

Receiving the Bill Emerson and Mickey Leland Hunger Leadership Award were:

  • Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA)
  • Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ)

In their remarks both Members of Congress highlighted the importance of working across the aisle to tackle the challenges of domestic and global hunger.

Rep. Bobby Scott

“The work we do in congress should be judged, as they say, by what we do for the least of these”

“The Global Food Security Act is a blueprint, it is totally bipartisan, and it is law, and now we have to make sure it is implemented.”

Rep. Chris Smith

Receiving the Congressional Hunger Center Alumni Leadership Awards were:

Shana McDavis Conway

“I’m still pulling from the lessons I learned as a fellow…about focusing on seeking justice and not seeking gratitude from our clients, and trying to widen our horizons and build relationships with new people.”

“I am heartened knowing that, despite the great challenge before us, my fellow Leland alumni each have an essential role in our fight”

Emily Wei

Despite the extraordinary work of our awardees, there is still much to be done. Across the world, famine has been declared in South Sudan and threatens to break out in Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Yemen. In the United States, the President’s budget request reduces or eliminates funding for SNAP and many other programs (including the Emerson and Leland Hunger Fellowships) that are working to break the cycle of poverty and alleviate hunger domestically.

Rep. James P McGovern

Now is the time to follow the example of our honorees, bridging our differences and dedicating ourselves to the common goal of eradicating hunger. As Board Chair Rep. James P. McGovern said in his remarks, invoking Senator George McGovern: “You don’t have to agree on everything to agree on something, and [for] the something we agree on, we ought to come together and move.”

If you agree with us—that food insecurity is a problem we can and must solve—you can join the Congressional Hunger Center on its mission to end hunger by 2030. There are many ways to get involved. Here are just a few:

8th Class Leland Hunger Fellows Carlo Abuyuan and Michelle DeFreese

21st Class Emerson alum David Blount with 23rd Class Emerson Fellow Sakeenah Shabazz

Our sincere thanks to the following sponsors for their generous support of the 2017 Hunger Leadership Awards:

CHCAC16_Monsanto CHCAC16_Pepsi
CHCAC16_AARP CHCAC16_ADM Kellogg Company Fund CHCAC16_Kraft_Heinz

Full List of Sponsors:




  • AARP
  • Archer Daniels Midland Company
  • Kellogg Company
  • Kraft Heinz Company


  • Amazon
  • American Beverage Association
  • Cargill Inc.
  • The Hill
  • The Kroger Company
  • Nestlé
  • Sazerac


  • Abbott
  • Albertsons Companies Foundation
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Biotechnology Innovation Organization
  • Coca-Cola Company
  • Elanco Animal Health
  • Food Marketing Institute
  • Grocery Manufacturers Association
  • Mars, Inc.
  • The Sugar Association, Inc.
  • Victory Wholesale Group
  • World Food Program USA

Friend of the Center

  • Alliance to End Hunger
  • American Frozen Food Institute
  • Bread for the World Institute
  • Bunge North America
  • Can Manufacturers Institute
  • Feeding America
  • Food Research and Action Center (FRAC)
  • Foodminds
  • Global Child Nutrition Foundation
  • Daniel Kahn
  • Alejandra Lopez-Fernandini*
  • Marshall & Debbie Matz
  • Michael Torrey Associates LLC
  • National Biodiesel Board
  • National Farmers Union
  • National Grocers Association
  • National Restaurant Association
  • North American Millers’ Association
  • Sarah Lynn Parker & Ed Cooney
  • SNAC International
  • Share Our Strength
  • Watson Green LLC
  • World Cocoa Foundation

Individual, Young Professional, and Alumni Sponsors

  • Damiana Astudillo*
  • Sarah Baggé*
  • Madeline Becker*
  • Robert Campbell*
  • Stacy Dean
  • Atalie Ebersole
  • Anyu Fang*
  • Jason Forauer*
  • Lisa Gable
  • Wes Gaddie*
  • Lou Gerber
  • Geraldine Henchy
  • KCE Public Affairs Associates
  • Julia Kortrey*
  • Lori Leibowitz*
  • Laura Ostenso*
  • Kimberly Perry
  • Vimlendra Sharan
  • Collin Siu*
  • Will Thomas
  • Kailee Tkacz

* indicates alumnus/a of the Bill Emerson National or Mickey Leland International Hunger Fellows Programs

Proceeds from the Awards Ceremony provide critical support for our flagship Emerson and Leland Fellowship programs, which train and mentor leaders through hands-on work both in community-based and in policy-focused organizations throughout the U.S., Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

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