2010 World Food Prize Laureates
David Beckmann and Jo Luck are receiving the 2010 World Food Prize for their landmark achievements in building Bread for the World and Heifer International into two of the world's foremost grassroots organizations leading the charge to end hunger and poverty for millions of people around the globe.
In honoring David Beckmann and Jo Luck, the World Food Prize recognizes the critical efforts of NGOs in mobilizing and empowering everyday citizens to end hunger in communities around the world.
2010 World Food Prize Laureate Announcement Ceremony featuring U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and USAID Adminstrator Rajiv Shah
David Beckmann, first through his work at the World Bank and then as head of Bread for the World, has had a significant impact in shaping international development programs so that they truly reflect the needs of the poorest people in the world, and in mobilizing a grassroots effort for more focused policies and increased appropriations for hunger alleviation by the U.S. government and its partners.
Since 1991, as the second president of Bread for the World-described as "a collective Christian voice urging decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad"-Beckmann has marshaled a quarter of a million constituent contacts a year with elected officials through letters, email messages, and meetings. Bread's army of citizen advocates has engaged an ever-expanding network of concerned people urging support for legislation to change the policies, programs, and conditions that allow hunger and poverty to persist.
Beckmann's inspired leadership has resulted in a dramatic growth in Bread's grassroots, bipartisan participation. He has increased Bread's membership, found in all 435 congressional districts of the United States, from 44,500 to more than 72,500 in the past decade. In addition, through the more than 5,000 local church congregations and 50 national denominations that are counted as members of Bread, more than 1 million Christians have become actively engaged in its advocacy to end hunger.
The innovative and impassioned strategies Beckmann has implemented to rally public support for bringing about policy changes have resulted in important legislation focused on long-term solutions, including increased resources for agricultural science and technology as well as support for development in poor countries.
The impacts of the government policies and programs he has fought for have brought hundreds of millions of people out of hunger and poverty. Included among these:
- Congress has tripled poverty-focused development assistance during the past decade, from $7.5 billion in FY2000 to $22 billion in FY2010;
- U.S. aid to Africa has quadrupled, and funding for agriculture and rural infrastructure has increased eightfold;
- Domestic nutrition programs and federal food assistance to needy families increased from $33 billion in FY2000 to $80 billion in FY2009; and
- Reforms in the U.S. Farm Bill have provided greater opportunity for struggling families in rural America and rural areas of the developing world.
|David Beckmann is one of the world's leading advocates for the poor and hungry.
Photo credit: Bread for the World
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While these positive strides have many causes, they would not have happened without Beckmann and Bread for the World leading millions of citizen advocates across the country to press for change, nor without Beckmann's personal commitment to founding and strengthening other organizations working in concert to improve the lives of the poor.
He founded the U.S Alliance to End Hunger in 2004, which has brought together diverse religious groups, charities, foundations, corporations, unions, and individuals to coalesce the public will to end hunger in the United States and worldwide. Beckmann has also helped to build and strengthen the political influence of many other humanitarian organizations, including: the Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa, the ONE Campaign, InterAction, World Vision, Feeding America, the Global Foodbanking Network, Universities Fighting World Hunger, Elanco, MAZON: The Jewish Response to Hunger, and the UN Millennium Hunger Task Force.
David Beckmann, a native of Nebraska, is a Lutheran pastor and an economist. He worked on poverty issues at the World Bank for 15 years before becoming president of the Washington D.C.-based Bread for the World in 1991. He has lived and worked in Ghana and Bangladesh and holds degrees from Yale, Christ Seminary, and the London School of Economics. He has authored many articles and books, including Transforming the Politics of Hunger and Grace at the Table: Ending Hunger in God's World. His latest book, Exodus from Hunger: We Are Called to Change the Politics of Hunger, will be published in the fall of 2010.
Jo Luck has spearheaded the effort to build Heifer International, founded in 1944, into one of the premier hunger-fighting non-profit organizations anywhere in the world, bringing food- and income-producing animals to extremely poor families, guiding them to self-reliance, and providing opportunity for improved livelihoods through animal husbandry, technical training, and community development.
Since becoming CEO of Heifer in 1992, Jo Luck has expanded the scope and impact of its activities throughout Africa, the Americas, Asia and the South Pacific, and Central and Eastern Europe, combating hunger by teaching poor communities how to become self-sustaining. Jo Luck and Heifer have educated and advocated on behalf of the world’s resource-poor and hungry, working with local and global partners to influence and change policies, systems, and practices in ways that improve people’s lives.
Jo Luck created innovative public education initiatives to link grassroots donors in rich countries to recipients in developing countries, increasing the knowledge and awareness of adults and children of all walks of life regarding global hunger and poverty issues. Reaching out to supporters in this way has brought the message of Heifer’s sustainable solutions to hunger and poverty directly into hundreds of thousands of U.S. homes.
The result has been a significant increase in support for Heifer projects through donations from households, faith communities, schools, civic groups, and individuals of all ages. The number of steadfast supporters grew from 20,000 in 1992 to more than 500,000 in 2009. The organization’s outreach activities have enabled 12 million families, including 1.5 million families in 2009 alone, to put nutritious food on their own tables and also contribute to feeding others through Heifer’s practice of “Passing on the Gift,” which asks every recipient family to give a female offspring of their animal to another family in need.
In implementing Heifer’s programs internationally, Jo Luck saw the need to more fully engage food-secure people to participate in programs to help food-insecure women, men, and children in countries around the world. Her innovative approaches at Heifer included:
- Increasing the public’s understanding of how the life choices made by people in rich countries affect people around the world, especially those living with hunger and in poverty;
- Issuing a call to action to grassroots supporters to make individual financial contributions that collectively sponsor more than 30 kinds of livestock and animals—from bees to water buffaloes—along with trees, seeds, and training that are provided to recipients; and
- Building capacity within resource-poor communities to produce a sustainable food supply and sustainable livelihoods.
|Under the leadership of Jo Luck, Heifer International has provided livestock to millions of people around the globe
Photo credit: Heifer International
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To complement Heifer’s Passing on the Gift tradition, Jo Luck implemented a highly successful values-based planning process for community development. The “Cornerstones for Just and Sustainable Development” model she created combines improved human nutrition, management of animal and natural resources, and human spiritual growth with training in organizational and business development, leadership, gender equity, and environmental conservation practices.
By placing animal and knowledge assets directly into the hands of farmers—particularly women—Heifer International has empowered them to quickly convert these gifts into food and, often, into income-generating enterprises. A strong impact of Jo Luck’s legacy as the leader of Heifer is the binding together of people emotionally and economically, enabling them to envision and create a better life for themselves and their children.
Jo Luck served as president and CEO of Heifer International, headquartered in Arkansas, from 1992 to 2010, and director of international programs from 1989 to 1992. In 2010 she stepped down as CEO and will remain president until 2011. She is currently writing a book about her experiences with the organization. She attended Hendrix College and earned a degree at David Lipscomb College. She attended the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government and Harvard Business School, Executive Education Program.