World Champion Swimmer Natalie Coughlin Joins WFP USA as ZeroHunger Ambassador

Published March 29, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Today World Food Program USA announced 12-time Olympic medalist Natalie Coughlin as the non-profit organization’s newest celebrity ambassador in the fight against global hunger.

As a professional athlete, cook and urban farmer, Natalie Coughlin believes in the power of good nutrition to unlock potential. Here she is, standing in her garden in California.

Tyler Gourley for ESPN

As a professional athlete, cook and urban farmer, Natalie Coughlin believes in the power of good nutrition to unlock potential. Here she is, standing in her garden in California.

As WFP USA’s ZeroHunger Ambassador, Coughlin will use her voice as an internationally acclaimed Olympic swimmer and professional athlete to raise awareness and support for hungry families across the globe. Coughlin will also educate the U.S. public about WFP’s school meals and agricultural development programs, including its efforts to tackle food waste and support small-scale farmers in developing countries.

“Good nutrition has been a crucial way to support and sustain my athletic goals, and good nutrition is just as important for children to unlock their potential in the classroom,” Coughlin says.

“I feel so fortunate to be able to use my Olympic success as a platform to raise awareness for what WFP is doing to feed families and children in need.”

This week, Coughlin will travel to Uganda to see WFP’s work in the field and meet people who benefit from the agency’s support, including children who receive school meals, refugees who rely on emergency food assistance and farmers who participate in WFP projects to eliminate post-harvest loss. As the world’s largest provider of school meals, WFP reaches more than 17 million boys and girls in 60 countries each year with nourishing food in the classroom.

“There are so many problems throughout the world that seem so far away people tend to forget them and move on,” Coughlin says. “Hopefully, I’ll be able to share what I’ve experienced in the field so more people here in the U.S. know what’s happening in other parts of the world and how they can help.”

Natalie Coughlin has won gold medals for USA Swimming at the 2004 Athens Olympics and 2008 Beijing Olympics and a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics. She has also earned the World Swimmer of the Year Award and the American Swimmer of the Year Award three times. Coughlin is also a home cook and urban farmer whose first cookbook will be published in 2019.

“Natalie Coughlin embodies the American ideals of dedication and generosity,” says WFP USA’s President and CEO Rick Leach. “As a world champion and role model, she is sharing a vital message with millions of children across the globe: Nourishing food can unlock the greatness in all of us.”

In addition to her work as a WFP USA ZeroHunger Ambassador, she is a supporter of various charities, including The Edible Schoolyard, a 1-acre edible garden at the Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Berkeley, California, and Right To Play, an organization that uses sports and play as a way to educate and empower children facing adversity. In 2012, Coughlin traveled to Rwanda with Right To Play to educate children about HIV/AIDS, malaria prevention and hygiene through play-based programs. She is also an honorary board member of DAM-Cancer, a charity that financially supports young adults afflicted with cancer and funds cancer treatment and research.


World Food Program USA is a 501(c)(3) charity that proudly supports the mission of the World Food Programme (WFP), the leading humanitarian agency addressing hunger worldwide. By mobilizing individuals, lawmakers and businesses in the U.S. to advance the global movement to end hunger, we bolster an enduring American legacy of feeding families in need around the world. Learn more at

For more information and media interviews, contact:

Erin Cochran, Vice President of Communications, (202) 627-3931,