Photo: Girls Gotta Run

World Food Program USA Announces Spring 2021 Grantee of the Catherine Bertini Trust Fund

Published March 8, 2021

Girls Gotta Run supports at-risk girls with athletic scholarships, development needs

WASHINGTON, DC (March 8, 2021) – World Food Program USA (WFP USA) today named Girls Gotta Run as the Spring 2021 grantee of the Catherine Bertini Trust Fund for Girls’ Education, which aims to end the  inequality  that  drives hunger by empowering women and girls with the knowledge, training and leaderships skills they need for personal and economic success. Girls Gotta Run will receive a grant to expand their program and make an even greater impact on the lives of the women and girls they serve.

Women often eat last and least in countries facing conflict, famine, and hunger, and globally, women are much more likely to live in extreme poverty than men, according to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). As such, hunger affects women and girls disproportionately; they make up 60 percent of the world’s hungriest people.

This disparity is due almost entirely to unequal access to education, resources, and tools for personal and economic success. The Catherine Bertini Trust Fund for Girls’ Education works to help women achieve food security and reach their full potential.

“I am impressed with the innovative model Girls Gotta Run has developed of using sport to build girls’ confidence and to guide them in setting and obtaining goals,” said Catherine Bertini. “These are critical skills for girls to be able to succeed in school anywhere, including for the girls this grant will support in some of the most vulnerable areas of Ethiopia.”

Girls Gotta Run’s mission is to invest in girls by using running and education to teach them to empower themselves and their communities. The nonprofit works with adolescent girls living in economically and socially disadvantaged families in two rural Ethiopian communities.

Their Athletic Scholarship Program targets girls who are at acute risk of dropping out of school, becoming socially isolated and entering early marriage and/or experiencing harmful cultural practices like female genital cutting. Mothers of girls in the program are also equipped with the knowledge, tools and mentorship needed to build financially resilient futures for themselves and their families. The organization currently reaches 195 girls across their two program sites.

In recent years, only about 50 percent of Ethiopian girls who enroll in primary school ever made it to Grade 5, according to statistics from Girls Gotta Run Executive Director Danielle Taylor. COVID-19 has further threatened girls’ access to school and has made them increasingly vulnerable to child marriage due to nation-wide school closures for several months in 2020.

“As a result of this grant, Girls Gotta Run will be able to bring on a new cohort of girls who will not only attend school but get the unique training they need as leaders and changemakers through local run clubs and life skills classes,” said Taylor. “The creation of these safe spaces is critical in reducing girls’ sense of isolation and increases their capacity to assert their right to choose to stay in school and when to marry.”

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About World Food Program USA
The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

World Food Program USA, a 501©(3) organization based in Washington, DC, proudly supports the mission of the United Nations World Food Programme by mobilizing American policymakers, businesses and individuals to advance the global movement to end hunger. Our leadership and support help to bolster an enduring American legacy of feeding families in need around the world. To learn more about World Food Program USA’s mission, please visit

About the Catherine Bertini Trust Fund for Girls’ Education
After winning the World Food Prize in 2003, Catherine Bertini, the former executive director for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), recognized an opportunity to leave a lasting legacy for women’s empowerment. Bertini used her winnings to establish the Catherine Bertini Trust Fund for Girls’ Education, a fund that supports innovative grassroots initiatives around the globe that boost access to training and educational opportunities for girls.

Media Contact:  Bo Bartley, Senior Manager, Public Relations , World Food Program USA ,, 202-627-3946