December 22, 2015
 

Dear Friend of the Hunger Center,

Thank you for helping the Congressional Hunger Center continue to advance its mission of fighting hunger by developing leaders in 2015.  As we wrap up the calendar year, we wanted to give you a brief update on what we’ve been up to and where we’re headed in 2016.
 
In Service,


Shannon Maynard
Executive Director
Emerson Class 4 Alum

 
PROGRAM UPDATE
22nd Class of Emerson Hunger
Fellows at mid-field retreat
in New Market, TN.
Emerson National Hunger Fellows
The 22nd Class of Emerson Fellows are more than halfway done with their field placements in eight cities across the United States (Pittsburgh, Detroit, Chicago, Denver, Tucson, Seattle, Portland, OR, and Jackson, MS). They are making substantive contributions to efforts on child nutrition, emergency food, local food systems, and nutrition education as well as broader economic security issues such as financial inclusion, workforce development, affordable housing, and education. All are incorporating a racial equity lens to their projects. To build the capacity of our field site partner organizations, Fellows are conducting research, developing and evaluating programs, collecting stories, building coalitions, supporting campaigns, creating films, and leading community engagement. As just one example, check out Jessica Yoo’s fellowship experience in Portland.

 
8th Class of Leland Hunger Fellows
after finishing field training in
Washington, DC
Leland International Hunger Fellows
The 8th Class of Leland Fellows are two months into their field year in Africa (Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, and Ghana), Asia (Nepal, India, Cambodia and Timor Leste) and Haiti. They contribute to global food security by applying their skills to multidimensional projects supporting the most vulnerable populations. Fellows are building capacity in their field sites in areas of nutrition-sensitive agriculture, livestock improvement, maternal and child health, and higher education. They are developing monitoring and evaluation systems, establishing referral networks, improving value chains, and building gender equity. As just one example, check out Michelle DeFreese’s fellowship experience in Tanzania.
POLICY UPDATE
FY16 Omnibus Appropriations Passed
After three short-term extensions of FY15 appropriations, Congress passed an FY16 Omnibus Appropriations bill to fund the government through the remainder of the fiscal year on Friday, December 18. A few highlights: the omnibus increases funding for Food for Peace and maternal and child health and nutrition, and continues funding to build long-term food security through Feed the Future at current levels. The Summer EBT program, which provides kids in the U.S. access to food when school is not in session, got an increase as well. Finally, the bill includes $2M for the Bill Emerson and Mickey Leland Hunger Fellows Programs.

The omnibus was accompanied by a tax bill that also included an important win: it makes permanent crucial improvements to two very effective anti-poverty programs, the earned income tax credit (EITC) and the child tax credit (CTC). These improvements were originally included in recovery legislation passed in response to the 2008 financial crisis; the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that “with these improvements, the EITC and CTC keep more children out of poverty than any other federal program, which would no longer be true if the improvements expired.”

 
New USAID Administrator Confirmed
On November 30, Gayle Smith was confirmed Administrator of USAID by the Senate by a vote of 79-7. CHC had advocated for her speedy confirmation, and we’re happy to know that USAID will have a permanent and knowledgeable Administrator for the last 14 months of the Obama Administration. Gayle was one of the founders of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN); effective, transparent and results-based development assistance are important to her.
 
Global Food Security Act Gaining Cosponsors
CHC, in coalition with advocacy partners, has continued to advocate cosponsorship for the Global Food Security Act (GFSA). As of today 114 House members have signed onto the bill (36 Rs, 78 Ds). The Senate version of GFSA still has 10 cosponsors (5 Rs, 5 Ds). There are promising signs for some movement in January.
 
Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act Passes House
The Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act of 2015 (H.R. 3766) passed the House by voice vote on Dec. 8. The bill, sponsored by Reps. Ted Poe (R-TX) and Gerry Connolly (D-VA), would require the President to establish and implement uniform monitoring and evaluation guidelines – with measurable goals, performance metrics, and monitoring and evaluation plans – across U.S. international development programs and make the resulting data publicly available. The Senate companion bill (S. 2184), introduced by Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ben Cardin (D-MD), has been unanimously approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and is waiting for a floor vote.
 
Child Nutrition Reauthorization Stuck on Meal Verification Requirements
One of the issues still being discussed involves increased verification requirements for students participating in school meal programs.
 
SNAP Limitations
Enforced for ABAWDS*
Childless adults who aren’t able to find employment of at least 20 hours a week are now typically limited to just three months of SNAP benefits every three years. However, states have had the ability to waive the time limit in areas of the state with sustained high unemployment, and virtually every state has used that authority since the law’s passage. With unemployment declining, however, most states no longer qualify to waive the time limit for the entire state and now must re-impose the time limit in part or all of the state. In January 2016, about half the states will re-impose SNAP’s three month time for the first time since the recession, which will result in approximately one million low-income individuals losing SNAP over the course of 2016.
* Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependants
ALUMNI HAPPENINGS
Emerson and Leland Alumni gathered
in Washington to celebrate the career
of former CHC executive director
Ed Cooney in October
Congratulations to current CHC staffer and Emerson Class 20 Alum Albert Ramirez and his wife Mary on their December 19 nuptials.

Congratulations to CHC staff alum Max Finberg on recently being named the Director of AmeriCorps*VISTA at the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Emerson Class 5 Alum Eric Silva recently launched his own boutique government relations consulting firm North South Government Strategies in Washington, DC.

Emerson Class 18 Alum Tavia Benjamin recently joined the Center for Community Change in Washington, DC as a Senior Project Manager.

Leland Class 6 Alum Julie Savane has joined Stop Hunger Now, based in Raleigh, NC, as its Food Aid Monitoring and Evaluation Partner Engagement Coordinator.

 
New job, baby, spouse, publication, award, or move?  Share your alumni news at alumni@hungercenter.org for inclusion in future communications like this one.
GET INVOLVED
 


Help us reach our end-of-year goal of raising $10,000 toward an Innovation Fund to seed new initiatives like a formal alumni program.
 
Help us know where to reach you by keeping your contact information updated.
 
Stay up-to-date on all the latest CHC news as well as news and information from the broader anti-hunger community by following us on Twitter.
 
COMING IN 2016
CHC Strategic Plan
Stay tuned for the start of our stakeholder engagement process. We want to hear from you as we develop a five-year strategic plan to guide CHC’s future efforts. Look for opportunities to participate in surveys, virtual focus groups, and in-person events in L.A., the Bay Area, Chicago, Minneapolis, Seattle, New York, and Washington, DC.
 
We’ll be there; will you? FRAC and Feeding America come together to convene the largest gathering of domestic anti-hunger advocates. CHC is considering organizing a side event for our alumni and partners in attendance. Let us know if you’d be interested in attending by emailing us here.
 
Save the Date—June 15, 2016—for CHC’s Annual Awards Ceremony
We’ll be at the U.S. Botanical Gardens once more to honor outstanding leaders in the fight to end domestic and global hunger including Congressional and government leaders, corporate partners, and our very own alumni.
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