Des Moines, IA (September 26, 2016) - The World Food Prize announced today that the 2016 Robert D. Ray Iowa SHARES Humanitarian Award will be presented to Rev. Joan Fumetti and Ron De Weerd for their leadership role in building the Iowa Foods Resource Bank (FRB) program into the leading element of one of the most dynamic and innovative agricultural assistance programs in America.
Created in 1999, the genius of FRB is its ability to link agricultural producers and farmers in the United States directly to poor smallholder farmers around the globe. The key concept is known as a “growing project” in which a U.S. producer, or group of producers, pledge a portion of their crop (or other element of agricultural production) to this program. The money generated from the sale of that portion of the crop is then distributed through FRB to 16 highly effective private development agencies that are implementing projects in remote villages in 30 different countries where such assistance is most badly needed.
FRB reports that over the last two decades this effort has raised over $47 million across America. FRB has already impacted 1 million people and has begun work on the "next million."
Of that nationwide fundraising total more than $6.7 million has been raised by Iowans, mostly through “growing projects.” With more than 150 farmers involved, 1,000 volunteers are also estimated to be participating. As a result of this funding, FRB reports that approximately 140,000 people of that one million total were assisted by funds raised in Iowa. Marv Baldwin, President and CEO of Foods Resource Bank confirmed that Iowa is the leading state in America in terms of supporting this international assistance effort.
Over the past two decades, Rev. Fumetti and Mr. De Weerd were the leading element of the FRB effort, working at the community and individual farm level recruiting Iowa agricultural producers and church congregations to form action groups to raise the money to fund projects. In conversations with World Food Prize staff, senior FRB national officials placed Iowa at the very top in terms of funds generated and overseas projects supported in the United States. They credited a significant part of this success to the commitment and hard work of our two 2016 Iowa SHARES recipients--Joan Fumetti and Ron De Weerd.
“Foods Resource Bank was just starting its operations at the same time I returned home to Iowa to take over leadership of the World Food Prize,” President of the World Food Prize Ambassador Quinn said. “In those early days I went out with FRB leaders to see one of the very first community “growing projects” that had been formed. It struck me at the time as being an inspired approach. Iowa farmers rightfully state that they feed the world. Working through FRB, they are also uplifting the poorest smallholder farmers in the most challenging situations halfway around the globe. For their role in leading this impressive endeavor, Joan Fumetti and Ron De Weerd are truly deserving of receiving the Robert D. Ray Iowa SHARES Humanitarian Award.”
The fourth annual Robert D. Ray Iowa SHARES Humanitarian Award will be presented to Rev. Fumetti and Mr. De Weerd on Monday, October 10, at the Iowa Hunger Summit, a free, grassroots event organized by The World Food Prize to unite all Iowans working to alleviate hunger at home and abroad. More information, an agenda and registration is available at www.iowahungersummit.org. The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation and Farm Bureau Financial Services are the presenting sponsors of the Iowa Hunger Summit.
BACKGROUND: The World Food Prize Foundation established the Robert D. Ray Iowa Shares Humanitarian Award in 2013 in recognition of the exceptional leadership that former Governor Ray demonstrated in dealing with multiple situations affecting refugees in Indochina, and to honor him on his 85th birthday (September 26). In doing so, the award was named after the Iowa SHARES campaign, which the Governor created in 1979 in order to send desperately needed food and medicine to suffering and dying refugees from Cambodia. Iowa SHARES stands for Iowa Sends Help to Aid Refugees and End Starvation.
ABOUT THE WORLD FOOD PRIZE: The World Food Prize is the foremost international award recognizing the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world. The Prize was founded in 1986 by Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, recipient of the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize. Since then, the World Food Prize has honored 41 outstanding individuals who have made vital contributions throughout the world. The World Food Prize annually hosts the Borlaug Dialogue international symposium and a variety of youth education programs to help further the discussion on cutting-edge global food security issues and inspire the next generation to end hunger. Press credentials for covering the October World Food Prize Week of events can be requested at www.worldfoodprize.org/press.