October 30, 2011
November 1: Change the Conversation & Leave #NoKidHungry — @billshore, Share Our Strength

Join us on November 1 in bringing a bag lunch to work and donating the savings to Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry Campaign!



Billy Shore, Founder and CEO of Share Our Strength, always inspires me with his ability to change and grow — himself and his organization.  After nearly twenty years of harnessing corporate and community will and compassion to raise money to support food pantries and anti-hunger programs across America, he and his board boldly changed the conversation and their approach.  Instead of asking, “How can we be a better life-line for supplemental food programs in America?”  they asked, “How can we end childhood hunger in America?”  and further, “How can we end childhood hunger by forming partnerships to ensure access to existing, already-federally-funded food and nutrition programs?


Today, Billy has posted a thought-provoking article about the power for non-profits of “changing the conversation,” sparked by discussion with Jim Down, Board member of Oxfam America, and not incoincidentally, Board member of my husband’s former company, Shawmut Design and Construction.    In Jim Down’s eyes, Oxfam’s most important accomplishment has been:


“Changing the conversation. Changing the dialog. Whether with the coffee industry, or mining, the most important thing we’ve done is to get people to think and talk differently about what the real issues are in the developing world, and to help them understand that there are policies that can be put in place to enable people to have the means to support themselves.”


Not surprisingly, last week at a gathering of local social service non-profits in my region North of Boston, hosted by Margo Casey and North Shore United Way, a similar point was made.  Our speaker, encouraging futuristic thinking among non-profit leaders on the front-lines of greeting the lonely and feeding the hungry, urged them to “Reframe the question” to get closer to the heart of the problem.  She highlighted one outstanding community food program, Open Door of Cape Ann led by Julie LaFontaine, who engaged the board in “changing the conversation.”   Instead of asking “How can we serve more meals?” the board asked,  “How can we help Cape Ann residents desire and access better nutrition?”  This reframing led to efforts to create mobile markets in hard to reach neighborhoods, to offer cooking demonstrations with nutritious yet unfamiliar foods, and to bring food where residents gather, like a Gloucester youth club called “The Chill Zone.” 


Through the Ansara Family Fund at the Boston Foundation , we are proud to support each of these future-thinking non-profits:  Share Our Strength ending childhood hunger in America; Oxfam America, working to end poverty and injustice around the globe; the Open Door of Cape Ann, improving health and nutrition for our neighbors; and the North Shore United Way, undergirding the small non-profits that make our communities vibrant and strong. 


On November 1 we will support the Bag Childhood Hunger Day — bringing our lunch and donating the$10 or more  money we save to supporting Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign.  Won’t you join us?  To sign up for Bag Childhood Hunger Day go to:  http://join.strength.org/site/MessageViewer?dlv_id=35881&em_id=36401.0


For Billy Shore‘s full post see:  http://billybearingwitness.blogspot.com/2011/10/when-social-change-begins-with-changing.html


For more about our local grantmaking see http://ansarafamilyfund.org/partners/boston.  For more about our global grantmaking see:  http://ansarafamilyfund.org/partners/global