Issue 25: 2013


Hunger Relief

Through philanthropy, targeted lending and volunteerism, Bank of America continues to put meals on plates.


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More than 26 million — that’s how many meals Feeding America and its network of food banks were able to provide through the Give a Meal Campaign in 2012.

Feeding America is the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity, with more than 200 member food banks serving all 50 states, and Bank of America was proud to serve as the exclusive sponsor of this annual holiday fundraising campaign.

Thanks to the efficiency of Feeding America’s network — most of the food and grocery products are donated and much of the labor is volunteered — every $1 donated helps provide nine meals. Last year, the impact was tripled. For every $1 given through the campaign, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation donated an additional $2 to Feeding America or a local affiliated food bank, resulting in $1.5 million in funding. Combined with the company’s contribution of $1 million to Feeding America, total individual and corporate donations amounted to $4.9 million.

At the same time, Bank of America employees volunteered to sort and pack food at more than 300 events during the campaign — bringing the focus around hunger to life in local markets across the United States. According to Bob Aiken, CEO of Feeding America, “Bank of America employees have helped to increase the collective impact of our efforts. Thanks to the amazing turnout of bank volunteers at food banks and other hunger events, our food banks are able to distribute more food to those in need in our local communities.”

The 2013 holiday Give a Meal Campaign — again sponsored exclusively by Bank of America — is now under way. And like last year, for every $1 donated via or, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation will contribute an additional $2, matching up to $1.5 million.


Bank of America’s continuing partnership with Feeding America is only one part of the company’s comprehensive approach to fighting hunger. Says Kerry Sullivan, president of the Bank of America Charitable Foundation: “People living in the United States and abroad continue to struggle to provide basic necessities for their families. While conditions are improving, there are serious challenges related to malnutrition, starvation and food insecurity, all of which were adversely affected by the global economic crisis. Helping individuals and families put food on the table is really the first step toward moving them toward greater economic and financial stability.”

In response to the need, Bank of America has intensified its focus on addressing hunger and food insecurity through philanthropy to direct providers of hunger relief as well as longer-term economic stability efforts; employee volunteerism, as well as opportunities to raise awareness and action around hunger through collaborative efforts; and programs — such as the Feeding America Give a Meal holiday campaign — that engage a broader audience.

Bank of America Support in Action: The Food Bank for New York City Click to expand
Bank of America Support in Action: The Food Bank for New York City

New York City has 2.6 million residents who have difficulty affording food. Throughout the city’s five boroughs, 1.4 million people — mainly women, children, seniors, the working poor and people with disabilities — rely on soup kitchens and food pantries to get the food they need. Food Bank for New York City, the largest food bank in the country, helps provide 400,000 free meals a day for New Yorkers.

The leadership of the Food Bank recognizes the importance of providing longer-term solutions to food poverty. So the Food Bank offers nutrition education programming that reaches more than 35,000 children, teens and adults, as well as income-support services connecting New Yorkers to food stamp benefits and tax credits for the working poor.

Bank of America has supported the Food Bank since 2008, funding it with more than $700,000 for general operating support.

Jeff Barker, Bank of America’s New York City market president, says, “We can only be successful as a bank if the communities that we serve are successful, and we don’t believe that sustained prosperity can be met until issues such as hunger are addressed.”


Some of the featured participants are not employees of U.S. Trust. The opinions and conclusions expressed are not necessarily those of U.S. Trust or its personnel.


Since 2009, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation has invested more than $30 million in grants to food banks, soup kitchens, school programs and other food assistance and feeding programs across America. In addition to addressing fundamental hunger relief — the provision of critical food supplies — Bank of America also strategically invests in access to fresh food for those living in food deserts and access to wraparound programs and services that help transition low- to moderate-income individuals and families to economic self-sufficiency. This includes support for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, as well as outreach and application assistance with partners such as Feeding America and Share Our Strength, which is focused on ending childhood hunger.


It’s an area of focus that resonates with employees. Last year alone Bank of America employees donated 60,000 hours for hunger-related causes, ranging from large employee events at local food banks to local nonprofit board leadership, and from serving and delivering food to providing financial education to food bank recipients and those who seek SNAP application assistance.


“While we drive broader public awareness about hunger through the Give a Meal campaign that takes place during the holiday season, we engage in hunger relief efforts year-round,” Sullivan says. “In addition to funding nonprofits locally and nationally, we seek opportunities to connect our customers and clients to events that illuminate the issue of hunger in the United States. For example, we partnered with Participant Media to screen the documentary A Place at the Table, which brings the issue of hunger to life through powerful personal stories from individuals struggling to break the cycle of hunger, for special viewings in Boston, New York, Newark, Houston, Chicago and Portland, Ore.”




“We know that collaborative efforts are key in order to move the dial on the issue of hunger, so we were a founding member of the Corporate Coalition Against Hunger,” Sullivan notes. “For us, it’s simple. As a financial institution with a presence in communities large and small across the United States, ensuring that individuals and families have their basic needs met — in order to move toward a better financial future — just makes good sense.”


“We also leverage our work with Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) through loans and grants in order to surround the issue of hunger,” says Sullivan. CDFIs are specialized financial institutions that work in market niches underserved by traditional financial institutions, such as community development banks and credit unions. They provide a unique range of financial products and services in economically distressed target markets.

We provided the support that families need to make lasting changes in their financial lives.

“The bank has made loans, investments or capital grants to more than 240 CDFIs throughout the country, and the current portfolio exceeds $1 billion in loans and investments,” she explains. “As an example of how this works in relation to hunger, we’ve provided a $10 million loan and a $50,000 grant to a CDFI called the California Freshworks Fund, a healthy-food financing initiative that invests in new, expanded or innovative grocery retail and distribution, which increases the availability of healthy foods in California’s low- and moderate-income communities. The bank also provided a $5 million loan for the Reinvestment Fund to launch a freshfood fund in Pennsylvania.”


“Internationally, our support of hunger relief has primarily been through our philanthropic response to disasters,” Sullivan explains. Among our partners are Save the Children, World Food Programme (WFP) and Partners in Health. “As we look to our investments in critical needs globally, we’re focused on partners that apply a comprehensive antipoverty strategy against hunger that not only includes emergency hunger relief but also sustainable nutrition and wellness, economic livelihood, food affordability and stabilization.”

The bank is developing a partnership with the WFP — the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger — for efforts in Africa, Pakistan and the southeastern Pacific countries. In 2012, Bank of America provided a $100,000 grant to the WFP to invest in various projects through the Gender Innovations Fund, which was launched by the WFP to foster innovative partnerships. “Also, expanding on the success we’ve experienced in the United States, we are exploring how to best develop an international CDFI Lending Product for microenterprises, such as agricultural farms, in emerging markets,” Sullivan notes.


Addressing hunger is just one of the ways that Bank of America is working to improve communities through its broader corporate social responsibility activities. Says Sullivan: “We recognize that many of the issues facing communities are interrelated, so we’re taking a comprehensive approach — for example, by funding programs that support longer-term solutions addressing financial wellness. As a global institution, we believe it’s important to provide meaningful and responsive support, working in partnership with global, national, regional and local organizations as well as other funders. We do this through an array of initiatives, including not only our philanthropy and volunteerism but also efforts in environmental sustainability, community development lending and our responsible business practices.”


Some of the featured participants are not employees of U.S. Trust. The opinions and conclusions expressed are not necessarily those of U.S. Trust or its personnel.