Hunger Free America honors the Illumination Fund, Senator Charles Schumer, and Tom Colicchio

We are grateful to Hunger Free America for the work that they do every day, and are thrilled that they chose to honor the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund along with Senator Charles Schumer and Tom Colicchio. The honor was presented at the Hunger Free America’s annual benefit in New York City. Rick Luftglass, the Fund’s executive director, accepted the award on the foundation’s behalf.

Hunger Free America is a nonpartisan, national nonprofit group working to enact the policies and programs needed to end domestic hunger and ensure that all Americans have sufficient access to nutritious food.

Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America, remarked on the the Illumination Fund’s longtime advocacy for comprehensive community change in the areas of food access and security, health care, the arts and other areas.

The Illumination Fund has partnered with and supported Hunger Free America NYC (HFANYC) for several years. Joel Berg was an early and ardent advocate for the New York City Green Cart Program in 2007, and is has a cameo in the Apple Pushers, Mary Mazzio’s documentary film about the Green Cart Initiative, and the Fund has supported its strategic volunteerism programs designed to connect skilled volunteers with anti-hunger organizations.

Hunger Free America’s work in New York City involves five main program areas, all of which connect with their Benefits Access program to serve low-income individuals and families facing food insecurity:

  • Child Nutrition
  • Community Organizing through their Food Action Boards
  • Policy and Advocacy
  • Research
  • Strategic Volunteerism



HFNYC’s SNAP and WIC outreach efforts are focused on making it easier for individuals to access these vital benefits by helping first determine eligibility, then simplifying and streamlining the application and recertification process, and, if necessary, assisting with any further barriers that might arise. Benefits Access staff work from approximately 20 partner sites citywide, including health centers, schools, adult education programs, Head Starts, and senior centers. Volunteers are also placed in locations near their SNAP prescreening sites to perform outreach with handouts in multiple languages.

HFNYC’s pioneering Food Action Board (FAB) program empowers low-income community members to fight for their own futures and build the anti-hunger movement by helping them develop their leadership, advocacy, and community organizing skills. FAB members take on key positions and leadership roles in efforts at the city, state, and federal levels aimed at promoting food security and economic opportunity. HFNYC also regularly conducts research that informs their advocacy including researching the benefits application processes and various technologies available to applicants as well as analyzing barriers to Summer Meals participation for kids in NYC.

HFA’s board members, staff, volunteers and fellow supporters joined the event. Members of the Food Action Boards attended and spoke about their role with the organization and the importance of advocacy.