Each year, from Giving Tuesday (the Tuesday after Thanksgiving) to January 2nd, the Congressional Hunger Center asks for contributions from alums, partners, and other supporters as part of our End of Year Giving Campaign. These donations represent about 1.2% of the total amount we receive in private foundation grants, sponsorships, and individual giving throughout the year.
While generous grants from the federal government and private foundations provide the bulk of support for the Hunger Fellows programs, these funds are frequently “restricted,” limiting the purposes for which they can be used. The 1.2% number above may sound small, but these unrestricted donor dollars are crucial to our ability to innovate and expand, providing us more flexibility in our otherwise tight budget.
Below are some examples of what donor dollars have allowed us to do this year:
An internship in Washington, D.C., can be an invaluable learning experience for a student. However, internships are often unpaid, which makes them inaccessible to students who cannot afford the costs associated with living, commuting, and working in the city. As part of our efforts to build a pipeline of leaders with lived experience of poverty and hunger to spearhead the movement to end hunger, we’re investing in pathways for college students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds to gain relevant work experience. This year we started providing stipends for our interns, and donor dollars helped us achieve this equity goal.
Whether it’s unexpected situations in the field, last minute travel needs for a family emergency, or purchasing professional clothing, the emergency fund exists as a financial support system for current fellows in our Emerson and Leland programs. The unrestricted funding that comes from donor dollars allows us to cover these emergency expenses, whether big or small.
Our mission is to end hunger by developing a new generation of leaders, which we accomplish through programs like the Hunger Fellowships and the Zero Hunger Initiative. To be the most effective organization we can be, we also invest our time in projects outside of our programs that support our core mission: policy and advocacy activities, development activities, communication needs, alum engagement, and more. Your donor dollars fill the gap in core mission support that is not covered through our program-restricted funding.
According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, non-profits are seeing a decline in the number of individual donors giving to charities. However, the problems we are working towards are not going away. In fact, global hunger is on the rise, so it’s more important than ever to support programs that will lead to sustainable solutions that will eradicate hunger for good. The Congressional Hunger Center isn’t going anywhere until we end hunger, and we need your support to get there.
Giving Tuesday is one week away. Please consider supporting the Congressional Hunger Center this holiday season, so we can continue growing our leadership development programs, expanding our network building activities, and being a thought leader in the anti-hunger movement.