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SALT LAKE CITY — What do you get when you combine 10 cents with two successful entrepreneurs? A solution to world hunger.
It’s hard to buy something for a dime these days. Sure, you can pay for a photocopy or a No. 2 yellow pencil, but you can’t buy anything truly life changing—until now.
For Dr. Ambuj Jain, founder of Feed a Billion, the desire to face world hunger head-on surfaced after an encounter with entrepreneurial celebrity Tony Robbins.
“I saw how loving and passionate Tony is about helping people,” he said. “We learned about his extremely poor upbringing and how that fueled his passion to feed the hungry.”
His teachings and passion inspired Jain to deliver food and give generously. He helped him see that the purpose of living is giving.
Jain then designed a new social media-based model for his Feed a Billion campaign which launched in May 2016. Since that time, his organization has served 1.3 million meals to the world’s hungry, and he hopes to provide one billion meals by November 2020.
“There are currently 785 million people in the world with insufficient food to support a healthy life,” Jain said. “And 42 million are within the U.S.”
He wants to make a significant impact on this problem, and by doing so, pioneer newer and more effective ways for all of us to maximize our ability to achieve philanthropic goals.
The success of the Feed a Billion campaign is based on a three-pronged design:
1. Facebook shares
Hunger is a universal issue, and building awareness of this enduring struggle is an important step in bringing about change. The impact of today’s social media influencers generates real-time support and helps build trust with followers.
“By tapping into the power of social media leaders, an organization can be efficient and effective in reaching a wide audience of potential supporters,” Marcella Vitulli said.
His research found that organizations can reach an average of 40 million people through an influencer’s social media networks.
Not only is the site easy to navigate for contributing, but donors can also feel confident their contribution makes a difference.
“We work with organizations already operating in countries in need who have the infrastructure to provide a meal,” said Jason Sisneros, CEO of Feed a Billion. “Every purchase, every donation generates a meal.”
And the cost for that meal is a mere 10 cents.
3. Corporate donor matches
When a dime can feed a hungry child, a little kindness goes a long way. But when a corporation commits to matching donations or promoting the cause, that’s when things get really exciting. When the startup company LiveBearded signed on as the organization’s first corporate sponsor, their 30-day “Movember” campaign enabled founders Spencer Bryce and Anthony Mink to donate 55,000 meals for Feed A Billion. Then, through the corporate sponsor matching commitment from Tony Robbins, 110,000 meals were shared with the world’s hungry. And LiveBearded said they saw a 121-percent increase in sales.
“We are thrilled with the response from businesses,” Sisneros said. “Since May of 2016, we have provided over 1.3 million meals with a commitment from businesses to provide 3 million more.”
Josette Sheeran, vice-chairman of the World Economic Forum, recognized that technology has been a key driving force behind globalization, and she believes it has shrunk space, time and diminished borders and barriers to communication and mobility of people and ideas.
“The way we interact, our common causes, and community are no longer local—we know that the scourge of hunger is a shared global problem, that no one individual, community or nation can solve," Sheeran said. "But we can solve it together.”
Jain’s Feed a Billion model, which applies the principles of business and social media to the problem of world hunger in an effective, scalable, and measurable way is aligned with modern strategies.
“The last few months have taught me a lot about hunger and the world of nonprofits,” Jain said. “I have also learned that unlike other global crises, world hunger is something we can actually end.”
By implementing a social media-based campaign, Feed a Billion is enabling all of us to like, share, retweet, Instagram and SnapChat to be a part of positive global change.
Amy Osmond Cook, Ph.D., is the Director of Provider Relations at North American Health Care. For more information, please visit healthyliving.care or nahci.com.