Today, almost 1 billion people do not have access to a sufficient supply of nutritious and safe food, and 16 million children in the United State experience food insecurity each year. Using innovative approaches, these champions are striving to ensure that no man, woman, or child goes hungry and inspiring others to do the same.
“Today’s champions are examples of the groundbreaking work being done to tackle hunger at home and abroad. These individuals are making improved access to healthy food a reality for millions of individuals in need,” said Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan. “Establishing global food security isn’t just critical for those now suffering from hunger. It is also vital to our long-term economic prosperity. We applaud the champions for their efforts to empower families and communities and to reduce the depth and severity of hunger around the world.”
The Champions of Change program was created as a part of President Obama’s Winning the Future initiative. Each week, a different sector is highlighted and groups of Champions, ranging from educators to entrepreneurs to community leaders, are recognized for the work they are doing to serve and strengthen their communities.
Erik Schultz Sun Valley, Idaho
Erik Schultz is the founder of Thriive, a nonprofit based in Sun Valley, Idaho, whose mission is to use a unique blend of capital and compassion to invigorate small businesses and inspire a culture of social responsibility in challenged communities globally. His professional career is dedicated to applying philanthropic capital to poverty-reducing initiatives that harvest the energy of the free market and couple it with social and environmental justice. Socially responsible small businesses are an often-overlooked contributor to food security, and Erik is allocating more of Thriive’s capital resources to help grow smallholder farming and livestock operations, greenhouses, nurseries, and food processing businesses. These small enterprises then “pay forward” their capital loans by donating food, livestock, seedlings, and crops to impoverished community members—making the entire chain of beneficiaries more self-reliant.