Leadership Matters: the 2021 Hunger Leadership Awards

Awards, Updates

On Wednesday, July 21, the Congressional Hunger Center hosted the 2021 Hunger Leadership Awards. This annual event brings together government, corporate, philanthropic, non-profit, and community partners and allies to celebrate the distinguished contributions of outstanding leaders in the movement to end hunger. This year’s award recipients included:

Senator Roy Blunt
Bill Emerson & Mickey Leland Lifetime Achievement Award

Janie Simms Hipp
Trailblazer Hunger Leadership Award

Poor People’s Campaign
Community Partner Hunger Leadership Award

Alexandra Cawthorne Gaines
Alum Hunger Leadership Award

C&S Wholesale Grocers
Corporate Partner Hunger Leadership Award

“At the Hunger Center, we know that we can’t simply manage our way out of persistent U.S. food insecurity by having a more effective emergency food system,” said the Hunger Center’s executive director Shannon Maynard. “Managing U.S. foreign aid projects more efficiently is not going to reverse the dramatic increases in global food insecurity resulting from COVID, climate change, and increasing conflict. It’s leadership that matters.”

“For those who continue to advocate for people who go to bed hungry at night, thank you for this recognition,” said Senator Blunt, in remarks delivered early in the ceremony. Senator Blunt received the Bill Emerson & Mickey Leland Lifetime Achievement Award for his longstanding support of anti-hunger initiatives and his practical bipartisan approach, two characteristics which he shares in common with the award’s namesakes. “I appreciate the award, partly because of the connection to Bill Emerson, and the bipartisan nature of this award. Bill Emerson was a bipartisan leader, and I hope I can measure up to that standard, as well.

“This year’s award recipients dedicate themselves to our shared vision, that a day will come when all people have access to affordable, nutritious, and culturally-appropriate food,” said Rep. James P. McGovern, Chair of the House Rules Committee and of the Hunger Center’s Board of Directors. “It is our hope at the Hunger Center that by celebrating their stories we can inspire others to get involved, and those of us who are involved to keep fighting the good fight.”

Meet the Award Recipients


The second half of the program featured a panel discussion with Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis (Poor People’s Campaign), Janie Simms Hipp, and Alana Fiero of C&S Wholesale Grocers, moderated by Alexandra Cawthorne Gaines. The panelists discussed the critical importance of radical collaboration, centering the voices of people with lived experience of hunger and poverty, and what must change in order to bring about a world free from hunger.

“It starts with believing that we can, and knowing that we must,” said Rev.  Theoharis. “And then it takes people coming together across all the lines that have historically divided us, that are still dividing us…uniting through that diversity to build a beloved community.”

“We have to check ourselves at every table that we’re invited to,” said Janie Simms Hipp, “to make sure that other voices are brought in to the conversation, to weave together solutions. It can’t be about us—it’s got to be about the people who are hungry. We have to realize that, not just here, but elsewhere around the globe, this is going to be the challenge of our lifetimes, and our children’s lifetimes, and we have to treat it as such.”

Watch the Panel Discussion

Thank You to Our Sponsors

Sponsorship of the Hunger Leadership Awards provides crucial support that allows the Hunger Center to carry out its mission of fighting hunger by developing leaders. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to these sponsors of the 2021 Hunger Leadership Awards:


PepsiCo Logo
General Mills Logo


AARP Foundation Logo
Kraft Heinz Logo
Share Our Strength Logo
Walmart Logo


Amazon Logo
American Beverage Association Logo
Bayer Logo
Cargill Logo


Coca Cola Company Logo
American Farm Bureau Federation Logo
Food Industry Association Logo
Michael Torrey Associates Logo
World Food Program USA Logo



Alliance to End Hunger

Bread for the World

Bunge North America

Feeding America

Food Research & Action Center (FRAC)

Karen Coble Edwards

Lou Gerber

Kate Houston

National Corn Growers Association

National Farmers Union

National Grocers Association

Ria Shah

SNAC International

Eric J. Steiner

The Sugar Association

Jim Weill

World Cocoa Foundation

More Like This