Share Our Strength

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Share Our Strength
Share Our Strength horizontal logo.gif
Abbreviation SOS
Motto No Kid Hungry
Formation 1984 (1984)
Type Non-profit
Legal status 501(c)(3)
Purpose To end child hunger.
Headquarters Washington, DC
Region served
United States (w/ some international grants funding)
$12,000,000 annually
Remarks Share Our Strength serves dual purposes of helping to end child hunger through both state partnerships, field work, and granting money to other hunger-oriented non-profit organizations.

Share Our Strength is a national organization working to end childhood hunger in the United States. Share Our Strength holds culinary events, solicits individual donations, and uses social media to raise funds, which are then used to fund long-term solutions to the hunger problem. Through corporate sponsorships, funds that Share Our Strength raises are then significantly magnified.


Share Our Strength's primary mission is "to end hunger and poverty in the United States and abroad by mobilizing industries and individuals, and creating community wealth to promote lasting change."[1] They accomplish this through a three-step process: raising funds, magnifying funds, granting funds, charitable infrastructure work, and sustaining charitable work.

Magnifying funds[edit]

Share Our Strength magnifies funds through corporate sponsorships that make it where every dollar donated is increased through matching donations and more effective outreach. In this way, donations made to Share Our Strength can purchase significantly more help for children at risk of hunger than a similar donation made directly to one's local food bank.

Funds are also magnified by how Share Our Strength allocates monies. While the vast majority of funds are granted out to the same community in which they are raised, the remaining funds are instead allocated to locations where they can make the most difference for the least amount. This method of reallocation ensures that every dollar spent does as much as possible to help children in need.

Granting funds[edit]

The majority of grants Share Our Strength makes go toward creating charitable infrastructure work. Unlike other grant-making hunger organizations, Share Our Strength focuses more on long-term solutions to the hunger problem than it does on immediate needs. Whereas another organization might primarily grant out funds that purchase food needed to keep a food bank stocked, Share Our Strength tends to make grants that help that same food bank operate in the long term, such as providing for a new refrigeration unit for the food bank, or funding a new industrial oven for a soup kitchen.

Also, although most grant-making organizations do not fund small needs, Share Our Strength has a history of providing for hunger organizations' one-time needs that may be as low as $100, so long as the money is used for a necessary infrastructure improvement — such as an additional refrigerator for a food bank, or bicycles that will help an advocacy group get the word out door-to-door in the community.

Unlike most grant-making organizations in the late 2000s recession, Share Our Strength actually increased its funding throughout this period.[2]

Charitable infrastructure work[edit]

As stated in the Granting funds section, most of Share Our Strength's work goes toward infrastructure improvements that help to create long-term solutions to the hunger problem. In this vein, most direct funding that Share Our Strength does goes straight to improvements that make it easier to solve the hunger problem.

One way Share Our Strength accomplishes this is through Cooking Matters, a cooking-based nutrition education program that mobilizes volunteer chefs, nutritionists and financial planners to teach nutrition, healthy cooking and food budgeting classes to individuals at risk of hunger. By teaching families how to purchase and prepare nutritional food on a budget, much more of an effect can be realized than by simply giving that same family a week's worth of food alone. Additionally, food banks often have only more exotic items in stock to give to those in need; by teaching these recipients how to cook using these food items, it saves those families from having to waste that food.

Another method Share Our Strength uses for infrastructure work is by forming partnerships of various kinds. Project Mercy (in Yetebon, Ethiopia) is one such partnership. Together they try to identify the most efficient ways to expand existing social services, and to replicate exemplary models.

Share Our Strength also utilizes state partnerships that tap the resources of governmental organizations, national poverty groups, and local hunger relief nonprofits in order to focus effort in a single area, aiming to end child hunger in that region as quickly as possible. By focusing attention in one state, these pilot programs can help to establish scalable plans that other states can then replicate to achieve similar results.

Share Our Strength currently has state partnerships with:[3]

Sustaining charitable work[edit]

Share Our Strength also helps to directly fund immediate needs during times of crisis. For example, the dearth of food available in food banks during the late 2000s recession caused Share Our Strength to fund many food banks' need for cooking staples.

After Hurricane Katrina, Share Our Strength deviated from its established mission of ending child hunger and immediately tapped restaurants across the nation in the Restaurants for Relief program, raising $2 million for use specifically in the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast.

The 1984 famine in Ethiopia was the impetus for the start of Share Our Strength, and continues to this day to be the recipient of sustaining grants on a yearly basis.

Share Our Strength also highlights the improvement of the national Summer Food Service Program (commonly known as Summer Meals) as a key initiative.[4] Many children who receive free or reduced price meals through their school during the academic year have limited access to healthy meals during the summer months. To combat this deficiency the Summer Meals program works with local governmental and non profit institutions to designate and manage summer meals distribution sites throughout the country. By partnering with several anti-hunger organizations including the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, Share Our Strength works to increase participation in and awareness of this program through community-specific outreach and seasonal media campaigns.

Share Our Strength also harnesses its extensive membership on a regular basis by encouraging volunteers to help out in food drives and other volunteer activities in their local communities.


Share Our Strength was founded in 1984 by brother and sister Billy and Debbie Shore, who continue to lead the organization today. It "began in the basement of a row house on Capitol Hill", and from the beginning was focused on looking for long-term solutions to seemingly eternal problems. During these early years, Share Our Strength focused almost exclusively on fundraising, and granted its funds out entirely to other nonprofit organizations.[5]


  • 1984: Share Our Strength was founded.
  • 1988: Taste of the Nation was born, raising nearly $250,000 in its first event.
  • 1993: Operation Frontline (now Cooking Matters) began, and Share Our Strength started moving away from being 100% grant-making.
  • 1997: Community Wealth Ventures, a for-profit subsidiary of Share Our Strength opened its doors.
  • 2003: The Great American Bake Sale first started selling baked goods across the country.
  • 2004: On Share Our Strength's 20th anniversary, the mission was changed to focus directly on ending child hunger.
  • 2006: Share Our Strength started its first state partnership pilot with the District of Columbia.
  • 2007: Share Our Strength partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to address childhood hunger and obesity.
  • 2008: Share Our Strength unveiled its new brand identity, and hosted the first Dine Out for No Kid Hungry.


Share Our Strength has raised over $245 million toward ending child hunger, and has funded over 1,000 nonprofit organizations throughout its history. As of 2009, it runs an annual budget of $12 million.[6]



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  7. ^ Culinary Hall of Fame Induction
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