Can data be used to fight hunger?
Earlier today, General Mills stood alongside seven leading corporations and NGOs at the 2015 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Winter Meeting.
We announced a new cross-sector anti-hunger partnership designed to create standardized measurements to predict the effectiveness of programs designed to improve household food security, which refers to reducing the level of chronic food shortage and hunger among individuals and families.
The partnership was announced as a CGI Commitment to Action — what CGI defines as a new, specific and measurable plan for addressing a challenge. Called the Food Security Genome Project, it will systematically code the vast base of evidence from previously executed or ongoing hunger, malnutrition and food security programming in order to quantify outcomes, identify key success factors and create critical benchmark data.
The resulting tool of the Food Security Genome Project will turn decades of data into actionable insights to predict the efficacy and cost per outcome for any food security program – ongoing or even before a program begins.
The issue of hunger in the U.S. is at an all-time high today. While many people believe that the problems associated with hunger are confined to small pockets of society or certain communities, the reality is much different.
Hunger is far-reaching, existing in every community across the country – rural, urban or suburban – and its impact is devastating.
Today, one in every six Americans is struggling with hunger.
By working together, sharing information and resources, members of the Food Security Genome Project have the potential to double the impact of hunger programs at half the cost.
“Food, and the role it plays in nourishing lives, is at the core of our business and the very foundation of our mission as a company,” says Kim Nelson, senior vice president of external relations at General Mills and president of the General Mills Foundation. “The Food Security Genome Project will make it possible for us to better evaluate grantees, optimize resources and establish programs that will better nourish lives through greater and hopefully more sustainable impact in household food security.”
The Food Security Genome is an initiative of the Impact Genome Project, which is led by Jason Saul, founder and CEO of Mission Measurement; and Nolan Gasser, chief genomic officer at Mission Measurement and famed architect of Pandora’s Music Genome Project.
Joining the General Mills Foundation and Mission Measurement, the Food Security Genome Consortium members include The Safeway Foundation, Tyson Foods, Capital Area Food Bank, CARE, Heifer International and Share Our Strength.
“The greatest value of measurement occurs before we invest in social programs. Every other sector uses predictive data to make more informed decisions and to forecast expected outcomes. The social sector deserves the same,” says Saul. “If we want to double our impact, we need to be able to compare investment opportunities; benchmark returns and determine not only what works but what works best.
General Mills has a long history of fighting hunger.
As our company has grown in its commercial, technical, and civic influence in Minneapolis and across the world, so has our Foundation’s resolve to apply what we know and do best to advance the kinds of change the world needs most.
Recognizing the spectrum of social change access to food is able to advance for families, the General Mills Foundation supports initiatives to address barriers to food security and alleviate hunger through four stages of impact:
* Hunger: Providing food to those in need
* Technology: Developing and sharing food solutions
* Nutrition: Helping families make nutritious food choices
* Fitness: Integrating food with healthy, active lifestyles
Learn more about our approach to nourishing our communities here.
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