The 2015 Annual Gala Reception was held the evening of April 16, 2015 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. Approximately 200 people gathered to honor Former Governor of Iowa and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack as he received the 2015 Gene White Lifetime Achievement Award for Child Nutrition. Susan Neely presided over the ceremony. Gene White, Jim Borel of DuPont, and Senator Pat Roberts and Congressman Mike Conaway all made remarks honoring the Secretary. Dr. Rajiv Shah, last year’s recipient, presented the award to Secretary Vilsack.
View photos from the event here.
The 2014 Gala was held on May 22, 2014 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. The ceremony was presided over by Dan Glickman and John Block who have both served as the US Secretary of Agriculture. The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the 2014 Gene White Lifetime Achievement Award for Child Nutrition to USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah. The evening also featured remarks by US Senator Christopher Coons and other dignitaries.
View photos from the Gala here.
The 2013 Gala, GCNF’s 10th annual, took place on Monday, March 4, 2013, in Washington, D.C., at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. Over 500 executives from our most supportive industries, School Nutrition Association (SNA) officers and directors, and high level government and NGO officials attended the event. The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the prestigious Gene White Lifetime Achievement Award for Child Nutrition to Arlene Mitchell, formerly Chief of School Feeding for the World Food Programme and currently Deputy Director of Agricultural Department in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
In addition, GCNF honored SNA’s Industry Member of the Year, Barbara Jirka, PhD, SNS, formerly Sr. Manager, Customer Marketing for McCain Foods, USA and currently on the staff of USDA’s Food and Nutrition Services, and SNA’s Outstanding Director of the Year, Sherri Knutson, Student Nutrition Services Coordinator for Rochester Public Schools, MN.
Circle Monday, March 5, 2012, on your calendar to join GCNF in a celebration of the 2011 champions of child nutrition at the 9th annualA Possible Dream Gala. Make your pledge to ending childhood hunger today and mail in your sponsorship commitment form. Proceeds from this event enable GCNF to provide technical assistance to countries with expanding and developing school feeding programs. Appropriately designed school feeding programs have been shown to increase access to education and learning while improving children’s health and nutrition. Your continued support of GCNF and commitment to ending childhood hunger actually makes a difference in the lives of the world’s children.
As a direct result of GCNF’s technical assistance provided during the annual Global Forum, Mali’s government leaders worked with the Ministry of Education and other agencies in 2009 to draft a national policy that included a five-year plan for 3,000 government-assisted school canteens. In November 2009 the Council of Ministers committed to a five-year plan, strengthening and extending the school feeding program financed by national and territorial governments, technical and financial partners. At the 2010 Forum in Ghana, delegates reported successful collaborations and the impressive fact that 15.4 percent of school children are now receiving meals during the school day.
The Gala is attended by over 500 executives from our most supportive industries, School Nutrition Association officers and directors, and high level government and NGO officials. The highlight of the evening will be the presentation of the prestigious Gene White Lifetime Achievement Award for Child Nutrition to Ambassador Tony P. Hall, Executive Director, Alliance to End Hunger. In addition, GCNF will honor the School Nutrition Association’s (SNA) Industry Member of the Year, Tony Roberts, Proprietor of the Tony Roberts Company and SNA’s Outstanding Director of the Year, Lyman Graham, Director, Roswell Independent School District, Carlsbad Municipal Schools and Dexter Consolidated Schools, New Mexico.
School feeding programs provide nourishment to impoverished children who are then encouraged to attend school, are alert while they are in school, and through their education, go on to become self-sufficient, contributing citizens in their countries. Please join us once again as we honor the champions of child nutrition on Monday, March 5, 2012.
* Please view the Press Release for more information.
The “A Possible Dream” Gala was hailed as the best yet; reaching a record goal of raising $325,000 for school feeding programs worldwide. Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium was the spectacular host of the Gala and drew much praise from attendees. The evening began with a cocktail reception hour where guests were able to mix and mingle before the night gave way. Following cocktails, attendees were escorted into the ballroom where the program began with a warm welcome from Global Child Nutrition Foundation (GCNF) President Gene White; and Masters of Ceremonies, Susan Neely, President & CEO of the American Beverage Association and the Honorable Dan Glickman. Nearly 600 people were in attendance to honor Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) as he received the 2011 Gene White Lifetime Achievement Award for Child Nutrition.
The Gala brought together executives and advocates alike, from members of Congress, USAID and USDA to international non-profit organizations, industry, the School Nutrition Association (SNA) and other key agencies, for an evening dedicated to honoring champions of child nutrition. This memorable event is held annually and raises both awareness and funds for GCNF’s efforts to combat global child hunger through sustainable school feeding programs. GCNF is grateful to the many sponsors and donors who came together to raise even more funding than last year. These gifts total a $55,000 increase over last year, a nod to the strengthened commitment of ending child hunger even despite the difficult economy.
The evening’s highlight was the presentation of the Gene White Lifetime Achievement Award for Child Nutrition to Senator Lugar, long-time champion of child nutrition causes. During his acceptance speech, Senator Lugar stated, “This really is a privilege to be with each one of you tonight, who I consider to be heroes, for providing nutrition for children.”
Dr. Rajiv Shah, USAID Administrator, praised Senator Lugar for his achievements and described him as “a tremendous example”, and added, “As I look around this room and see all of the people who have the ability to actually solve world hunger, I am inspired.” Dr. Shah was not the only one to feel inspired by the efforts of Senator Lugar. Dan Glickman noted, “If we look to the history of this country … and if you look at the great US Senators of the last 100 years or so, and I say this with all the humility I can muster, Dick Lugar is one of those exceptionally great members of the Senate who have served this country with distinction, with fairness, with civility, but with strong beliefs and strong opinions. I’m not saying there aren’t great people like him, there are, but he is exceptional.”
GCNF Delegate, Bibi Giyose, also gave a profoundly touching speech, recalling her childhood in Botswana, “I am a product of a school feeding program … having not had that opportunity, I would not be standing here today, just another statistic – having been forgotten – worse still – buried. But I must say, even as I stand here today, I shudder to imagine how many children in Africa wake up hungry, go to school hungry and go to bed famished.”
Two distinguished advocates for child nutrition were recognized by Nancy Rice, SNA President. Mary Kate Harrison, SNA 2010 Outstanding Director of the Year, was praised for her commitment to SNA and her dynamic school nutrition career in Florida. Jill Conklin received the SNA 2010 Individual Industry Member of the Year Award for her dedication to global child nutrition efforts and serving as an exemplary industry member who keeps the needs of school nutrition professionals and the children they serve in the forefront.
Guests at the 2011 A Possible Dream Gala were entertained throughout the evening by the Taimoor Band, a lively trio lead by Taimoor Saeedi.
GCNF is grateful to the following individuals for their dedication as members of the 2011 Gala Committee. GCNF would like to extend our sincere gratitude to those individuals for their role in making the 2011 A Possible Dream Gala a great success!
Jim Clough, Co-Chair
Susan Neely, Co-Chair
Jean D. Harris, Ph.D.
Eileen T. Kennedy, D.Sc., R.D.
Barbara S. Belmont
The Gala also received media attention, the links are provided below.
The Gene White Lifetime Achievement Award for Child Nutrition was created in 2004 to honor individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the worldwide dream of ending childhood hunger. This prestigious award is given in the name of Gene White, who has dedicated her life to the nutrition and well-being of children. Over many decades, Gene has worked tirelessly in her efforts to improve the lives, health, and educational options of children in our country and around the world.