Our Year in Review: World Food Program USA’s Top 10 Moments of 2023
2023 was a year of immense growth and progress for World Food Program USA. Our teams worked tirelessly to spur support for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP): In fiscal year 2023, we granted a historic $109 million dollars to the U.N. World Food Programme. This helped the U.N. World Food Programme deliver food to communities facing extreme hunger around the world.
From Madagascar to Texas, here are 10 highlights from our work in 2023:
1. For the third consecutive year, our President and CEO Barron Segar was recognized on The NonProfit Times Power & Influence Top 50, which features the most impressive movers and shakers in the nonprofit sector.
“Barron’s focus on comprehensive growth, strategic staff investment and innovative private sector engagement will have a direct impact on the lives of people around the world. His influence is not limited to World Food Program USA, as the execution of his vision provides a stellar example for nonprofit leadership across the country,” said Tony Fratto, chairman of World Food Program USA’s board of directors.
With Segar’s leadership, World Food Program USA maintained its Four-Star rating from Charity Navigator and a Platinum Transparency seal from Candid GuideStar – the highest designations possible. These ratings indicate that World Food Program USA “exceeds industry standards and outperforms most charities in its cause” and demonstrates the highest commitment to transparency.
2. In February, World Food Program USA made a $1 million grant in support of Rapid Rural Transformation (RRT) programs across southern Madagascar. These RRT programs aim to boost communities’ long-term food security and resilience to climate shocks by providing them with vital services including solar power and a sustainable water source.
Six months later, our team traveled to Madagascar to see the RRT program in action alongside WFP’s school meals, nutrition and climate change adaptation work.
3. Our grassroots advocacy program grew by more than 500%, from 6,000 advocates in 2022 to over 40,000 in 2023. Each of these advocates used their voice to contact their Members of Congress on behalf of World Food Program USA. In total, our advocates sent 136,812 letters in support of reauthorizing the Farm Bill, funding for school meals programs and emergency supplemental funding for international food assistance.
4. For the second year in a row, we were accepted to South by Southwest (SXSW). The panel, moderated by WFP Goodwill Ambassador and celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern, discussed the importance of corporate partnerships for climate resilience programs. Alex Diaz, Google.org’s senior manager of AI for Social Good, spotlighted Google’s long-standing partnership with WFP and its support of anticipatory action programs.
5. In April, our team traveled to Zambia with WFP Goodwill Ambassador Andrew Zimmern to film the digital series Paving the Way to Zero Hunger, which highlights WFP’s climate resilience solutions in action. Zimmern met with small-scale farmers and students who are providing food for their families and entire communities with the help of WFP. The series has over 7 million views and was featured on CNN International.
6. Also in April, we released a new report – Dangerously Hungry: The Link Between Food Insecurity and Conflict – which examines the ways hunger acts as a driver of conflict around the world. While we have long known that conflict drives hunger, the Dangerously Hungry report shows that the inverse is also true: Hunger drives conflict. In August, the report was cited by U.N. Famine Prevention and Response Coordinator Reena Ghelani at the United Nations Security Council in a session on Famine and Conflict-Induced Global Food Insecurity.
“We are now less than a decade away from the Sustainable Development Goal of ending global hunger by 2030, so the message is urgent and loud: We know Zero Hunger will not be achieved without first putting an end to conflict,” said Dr. Chase Sova, senior director of public policy and research and lead author of the report.
7. In 2023, WFP Goodwill Ambassador Abel Tesfaye – better known as The Weeknd – actively and consistently supported communities living through hunger crises. In June, he kicked off his international tour in Europe and South America, where $1 dollar from every ticket sale went to the XO Humanitarian Fund. By August, the European leg of his tour had raised $1 million dollars for WFP’s work to provide food to millions of people experiencing extreme hunger. Later, in December of 2023, The Weeknd directed $2.5 million dollars from his XO Humanitarian Fund toward WFP’s work in Gaza – enough to send 4 million emergency meals at a critical moment in WFP’s humanitarian response efforts.
8. In October, the John Deere Foundation awarded World Food Program USA a $5 million grant in support of WFP’s innovation priorities. This generous contribution is one of the largest in the Foundation’s 75-year history and is an investment in WFP’s efforts to scale up smarter, more sustainable, and cost-effective solutions that improve the food security of small-scale farmers and others experiencing hunger.
“We thank our long-standing partner, the John Deere Foundation, for their transformational investment,” said Barron Segar. “Not only are they helping fund innovations, but they are lending their expertise and actively participating in co-creating solutions. Together, we’ll help make life better for millions of people.”
9. We know that kids around the world are paying the highest price of the global hunger crisis. That’s why we launched the ERASE HUNGER campaign during back-to-school season in August. Thanks to seven partners who joined the campaign, we sent 1.7 million school meals to students across the globe.
10. ZeroHunger Heroes are our heroes! They provide vital funding through recurring monthly gifts that allow WFP to plan ahead and quickly respond in times of crisis. We are grateful that 12,538 people demonstrated their deep commitment to ending hunger by joining the ZeroHunger Hero family in 2023.
Amidst relentless crises, we know that a world without hunger can seem impossible. However, we also know that just $0.50 can send a meal to someone who needs it. We know that teaching others about the solutions to hunger can galvanize hope and action. We know that our corporate and institutional partners are using their expertise and resources to make a significant, sustainable difference. And we know that with the help of our supporters, WFP reached over 100 million people facing the most extreme levels of hunger in 2023. That means millions of students ate school lunch, refugees tucked into warm meals on their journey to safety, parents bought food for their children and farmers grew enough food to feed their families.
This impact was only possible because of you. Thank you for listening, reading, sharing, writing, donating, learning and caring about our shared humanity.