A Note from Asma Lateef, Interim Executive Director
August 27, 2020
Dear Alliance Members, Partners, and Friends,
It has been almost two months since I took over as Interim Executive Director for the Alliance to End Hunger. As you can imagine, it is a rather strange time to begin serving in this interim role, but the dedication and leadership of the Alliance’s board and the hard work of the staff have been deeply encouraging. As the Alliance searches for our next Executive Director, I am impressed by our coalition’s ongoing critical work, while also recognizing that we face substantial challenges to our goal of ending hunger in the United States and around the world. COVID-19 threatens to send countless more individuals, families, and communities into hardship that could prove difficult to escape. Our current circumstances have also led to a uniquely challenging policy environment in that there are many competing priorities for limited or decreasing resources. In this unprecedented environment of uncertainty for food insecure people and communities, as well as this time of transition for the Alliance to End Hunger, we continue our critical advocacy efforts:
- We are working with our members and with other partners in the antihunger community to coordinate advocacy effort regarding the U.S. coronavirus response. We are currently advocating for a temporary 15% increase to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)’s maximum monthly benefit, an increase in the minimum household benefit from $16 to $30 per month and a moratorium on any rulemaking that would limit access to SNAP. On the global front, we are urging Congress to invest $20 billion in State and Foreign Operations, plus $2 billion for food security and nutrition, to help avert what could become a global humanitarian disaster due to COVID-19.
- We recently supported the re-launch of the Vote to End Hunger Campaign for the 2020 election season. This campaign is designed to raise the profile of hunger and poverty as election issues during the campaign season by encouraging people to ask candidates: “If elected, what will you do to end hunger, alleviate poverty, and create opportunity in the U.S. and worldwide?” If you or your organization have not yet signed up for Vote to End Hunger, I strongly encourage you to.
- The Hunger Free Communities Network has been exceptionally active in communities across the country as local organizations work to respond to the unique challenges posed by COVID-19. While their work has been largely remote, our AmeriCorps VISTAs have been doing yeomen’s work at their placement sites and have truly become a valued resource.
- We continue to work closely with our friends in the U.N. system. We have formal agreements with both FAO and IFAD, which have led to multiple congressional briefings and roundtables. These have been incredibly well-attended by both U.S. and global audiences. The SDG2 Advocacy Hub is also very active through its own virtual advocacy activities, including publicizing recent food and nutrition reports, and developing a new narrative for SDG2.
- Finally, the Alliance’s efforts to support racial equity as a cornerstone of anti-hunger work continues thanks in large part the leadership of Minerva Delgado in partnership with Bread for the World Institute. Racial equity trainings – and the accompanying Racial Wealth Gap Simulation – have been modified for virtual use, and the Alliance is working with Bread for the World Institute on how the equity movement can be adapted for use among our internationally-focused members.
Above all, during this transition and in light of the pandemic, I have been impressed by the strength of the Alliance as a coalition. I have gotten to know some of you over the past few weeks, and I look forward to speaking with many more of you about collaborative partnerships and strategies. While I am excited to continue the fantastic work of the Alliance over the next few months, the Alliance is also actively seeking out the next individual to take the helm. I strongly encourage you to view the Executive Director job description on our website and urge you to pass it along to anyone you believe would be interested. We have contracted the services of an executive search firm, Heidrick and Struggles, to help us on this journey.
I cannot express how thankful I am to play a part in this wonderful coalition of ours. The months ahead will require an abundance of hard work as we continue to build the public and political will to end hunger at home and abroad, and as we discern the way forward through our search for an Executive Director. I look forward to our continued work together and please don’t hesitate to be in touch.