The Lunchbox Fund
The Lunchbox Fund is a non-profit organization that has fostered education via nutrition since 2005. The Fund is dedicated to providing a daily meal for orphaned and vulnerable school children in township and rural areas of South Africa. The organization was founded by South African model Topaz Page-Green.
The Board of Directors include Joaquin Phoenix, Rain Phoenix and Mario Batali. Salman Rushdie, Balthazar Getty, Francois Pienaar,Felicia Mabuza-Suttle and Hugh Masekela serve on the Advisory Board. A number of ambassadors and local volunteers work full- and part-time with the fund in South Africa.
Often their only guaranteed meal of a day, the meals are delivered at school. It encourages children to stay in school, attend more frequently, and obtain their education. When a child stays in school, his or her risk of HIV infection, abuse and unwanted pregnancies is greatly reduced. Twelve million South African children need feeding. The government feeding program reaches 8 million. The Lunchbox Fund's aim is to feed the rest.
- 65% of South African children live below the poverty line
- 19.6% of South African children are orphans, mainly as a result of the HIV/AIDS epidemic
- Unemployment is a severe problem
- Parents and caregivers are unable to feed their children or provide access to basic health care
- Hunger diminishes concentration and erodes willpower, stripping away the potential greatness of a child
- $0.25 cents/R2,50 feeds one child one meal for one day
The Lunchbox Fund identifies schools, or forms partnerships with locally based, in-community NGOs or community organizations in order to identify and evaluate schools. They then fund distributors or the Community Partner to buy and deliver food, monitor the feeding scheme, implement a Project Manager and deliver reports to the Fund. This allows for a sustained Lunchbox Fund community presence and constant ‘in situ’ evaluation. The Fund's principals pay quarterly site visits to all schools involved in the Feeding Program.
Community involvement and ownership is key to sustainable nonprofit interventions. Through recruiting local Gogos (grandmothers) and Mothers to prepare the food and paying them a stipend for their work – The Lunchbox Fund actively involves local women in the project. This creates an ‘on the ground’ monitoring network that enables community members to assist the school in identifying children at risk, in need of nutrition and those not attending school. The Fund works with community entrepreneurs to supply fresh fruit and bread, and to deliver these to the schools. Thus the Program becomes a ‘for the community by the community’ solution rather than an imposed, one-size fits all, imposed intervention. Quarterly on-site inspections by Lunchbox Fund personnel further ensure the local partners are fulfilling their brief accurately.
In September 2013 Archbishop Desmond Tutu signed on as Patron of the Lunchbox Fund: "It is our moral obligation to give every child the very best education possible. In order to learn children need to be nourished. The Lunchbox Fund ensures that each child is equipped to embrace the future and change it for the better. I wholly endorse the work done by the Lunchbox Fund in meeting this need.'"
In August 2013, The Lunchbox Fund introduced Feedie – the first-ever philanthropy app for foodies. Feedie is a mobile app that transforms the passion for sharing food photos into sharing actual food with children in need. The goal is to capture a tiny fraction of the multibillion-dollar restaurant industry worldwide, and do what no other foodie app is doing: Philanthropy.
Feedie, the brainchild of The Lunchbox Fund founder, Topaz Page-Green, and creative agency Tribal Worldwide in New York, taps into existing foodie behavior and current technology, inspiring foodies to leverage their passion for sharing photos of food to share actual food with those in need. The app was developed by digital production company, MediaMonks. All funds raised from the Feedie platform go directly to feeding children.
In collaboration with world-renowned chef and Feedie Ambassador Mario Batali, The Lunchbox Fund has partnered with some of America and South Africa's most esteemed restaurants. Every time a Feedie user takes a ‘food-o-graph’ at a participating Feedie restaurant, the restaurant donates $0.25/R2.50, the estimated cost of a meal for a child. The $0.25/R2.50 is deducted from the restaurants annual flat rate, tax deductible contribution. Analytics on a restaurant's and user's profiles show many meals have been donated.
Feedie users or “Feedies” can locate participating restaurants using the app’s map feature and are able to make an instant donation to the fund by simply snapping a photo of their meal and posting via the Feedie app. The app has additional features including the ability for Feedies to share their favorite restaurants and photos with other Feedie users and can choose to also share on Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter and Foursquare. By Feedies sharing their photos through these platforms they are becoming active philanthropists in their own right, spreading awareness and educating others about he importance of feeding schoolchildren who need it to focus on their education.
66% of Americans eating out at least once a week and $1.7 billion is spent in restaurants daily: Feedie aims to capture a fraction of this capital and use it to feed hungry children, keeping their bodies nourished and minds focused on their education. Feedie allows users to extend the goodness of food beyond taste, texture and Instagrammability, giving culinary appreciators the unique opportunity to use their passion for food for philanthropic purposes. Currently there are no foodie apps using their power for the good of others. The Lunchbox Fund is the first to utilize this powerful sub-culture and harness its energy for good, allowing foodies a one-of-a-kind opportunity share their food.
Feedie is currently available for iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, and iPhone 5 is downloadable for free on the iTunes App Store. The app will be launched to Android and Smartphones in early 2014.
Every year The Fund hosts a Live Auction Fundraising Event to raise the organisation's core-operating funds. By covering these costs in their totality, 100% of any donations, funding or grants made to The Lunchbox fund - translate directly into meals for school children.
Fundraising Events have included:
2013: The Lunchbox Fund's Fall Fête and Feedie Launch co-chaired by Maggie Gyllenhaal, Liv Tyler and Mario Batali featured a music performance by Grammy Nominated Emily King, as well as an auction of artwork created for the evening by notable artists including Chuck Close, Tara Donovan, Donald Baechler, Jim Dine, Michael Stipe, Shepard Fairey, Curtis Kulig, Dustin Yellin, Oliver Clegg, Mick Rock, Lou Reed, Bob Gruen, Alan Cumming, Tim Furzer, Martin Puryear, Isca Greenfield Sanders, Danny Clinch, Harif Guzman, Gianfranco Gorgoni, James Sienna, Kiki Smith, and more. The auction broke the Charity's record to date.
2012: The Lunchbox Fund Bookfair. One of a kind handmade art books created by Sir Ben Kingsley, Chuck Close, Deepak Chopra, Archbishop Desmond Tutu with South African artist Paul Du Toit, Hugh Masekela, Mario Batali with Jim Dine, Tony Bennett and Kelsey Bennett, rock photographer Bob Gruen with Yoko Ono, Michael Stipe, Philip Glass, Salman Rushdie with Francisco Clemente, Mick Rock, Shepard Fairey, and Sting.
2005 - 2011: The Lunchbox Auctions featured lunchboxes designed and decorated by prominent people like: designed by Bill Clinton, Yoko Ono, Liv Tyler, Cameron Diaz, Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Michael Stipe, David Bowie, Beastie Boys, Rachael Ray, Anna Sui, Patti Smith, Josh Hartnett, Mike Myers, Jimmy Kimmel, Hilary Swank, John Mayer, Jimmy Fallon, Jeff Bridges, Iman, Kanye West, Beyoncé, Bono, The Edge, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, Reese Witherspoon, Naomi Campbell, Joaquin Phoenix, Alice Temperley, Diane von Fürstenberg, Zac Posen, Billy Crudup, Marchesa, Mario Batali, Eva Mendes, Ellen Page, Pete Yorn, Bill Gates, Casey Affleck, Natalie Portman, Orlando Bloom, Tom Colicchio, Alber Elbaz, Tony Bennett, Emeril, James Franco, Helena Christensen, Sean Combs, Charlize Theron, Kate Spade, Lisa Marie Presley, and Sarah Silverman.
- The Lunchbox Fund in the Press
- The Lunchbox Fund on Video
- The Lunchbox Fund homepage
- Lunchboxes designed by celebrities for The Lunchbox Auction
- Volunteers help US initiative to feed South African students
- Founder Topaz Page-Green promoting The Lunchbox Fund in Vogue
- Celebrities design lunchboxes for charity
- Billy Crudup, Mario Batali and Piper Perabo speak out in support of The Lunchbox Fund