Type to search

ATL Business Chronicle Maria's Metro

Column: Arby’s giving $3M to help feed hungry kids in Georgia

By Maria Saporta
Published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Friday, January 11, 2013

The Arby’s Foundation is driving a stake in the ground to end childhood hunger in Georgia.

The company announced at a Jan. 10 press conference at the state Capitol it is making its largest grant ever — $3 million over three years — to the Georgia Food Bank Association to work with other state partners on the “Feeding for a Promising Future — No Kid Hungry” campaign.

The Arby’s Foundation hopes Georgia will develop a model to combat childhood hunger that can be replicated across the country.

Nationally, 1 in 5 children do not get the nutrition they need, said Hala Moddelmog, president of the Arby’s Restaurant Group. In Georgia, 1 in 4hildren don’t get the nutrition they need.

Moddelmog, who has worked in both the private and nonprofit sectors, has been instrumental in reinvigorating the Arby’s Foundation, strengthening its board and focusing its efforts.

Tackling childhood hunger has become the signature cause for the company’s foundation. The problem of childhood hunger “has such tremendous implications for the country and for its children” in terms of lifelong health and educational success, Moddelmog said.

The $3 million grant will help develop partnerships to make sure children will have access to food especially during after-school hours and during the summer.

Danah Craft, executive director of the Georgia Food Bank Association, said that nationally only 40 percent of children who receive free or subsidized lunches in school have access to food after school hours, on weekends and during the summer.

In Georgia, that number drops to less than 15 percent, according to Craft.

“What we know is that the food is there and it’s available, but we just can’t get the kids to have access to it,” Craft said.

Because Arby’s is based in Atlanta, it made sense to launch the major initiative in Georgia.

“We felt this state had all the pieces,” said Kate Atwood, president of the Arby’s Foundation. “It just needed a corporate partner to step up to the plate.”

The issue of childhood hunger is such a big issue that it was “almost daunting”to take on the issue nationally.

“Our strategic planning process pointed to our home state. Let’s magnify and accelerate what we can do in Georgia,” Atwood said. “We saw it as a way to put a stake in this fight.”

In terms of the health of children, Georgia ranks as the sixth-worst among the nation’s states.

“We want Georgia to be on the top of the list of best states,” Atwood said.

Bill Bolling, founder and executive director of the Atlanta Community Food Bank, is one of the new leaders who has joined the board of the Arby’s Foundation. Even more important than the $3 million gift is the fact that Arby’s wants to “infuse the culture of the whole company” around the effort to end childhood hunger.

Among the other members now on the Foundation’s board: Linda Matzigkeit, chief administrative officer of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta; Claire “Yum” Arnold, CEO of Leapfrog Services; Ed Baker, publisher of Atlanta Business Chronicle; Karen Bremer, executive director of the Georgia Restaurant Association; William Pate, president and CEO of the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau; and several top executives in the Arby’s family.

“Hala has been the catalyst to drive all this change,” Atwood said. “She saw it as an opportunity to use the foundation to be more of an asset for the brand.”

In addition to the foundation’s $3 million grant, Arby’s and its customers nationally have contributed $5 million over the past two years to help end childhood hunger.

Ann Cramer joins Coxe Curry

Just weeks after retiring from IBM Corp., community leader Ann Cramer has landed in a new post. Cramer will become a senior consultant at fundraising consulting firm Coxe Curry & Associates.

“I may have left my job at IBM but I continue to do the job with people I have worked with for years,” Cramer said. “There’s too much work to do.”

Cramer said she will continue to be involved with numerous organizations — especially those involved with education and the arts.

“Ann Cramer is an institution in Atlanta,” said Ann Curry, president of Coxe Curry & Associates. “She represents the best of good corporate citizenship and community caring. There could be no better place for the next iteration of those passions than Coxe Curry.”

New chair at Giving Institute

David H. King, president and CEO of the Alexander Haas fundraising firm, has been elected chair of the Giving Institute: Leading Counsel to Nonprofits for the 2013-2014 term.

The Giving Institute, formerly known as the American Association of Fundraising Counsel (AAFRC), has 41 member firms that are the leading fundraising consulting firms in North America. The Giving Institute provides shared experiences for executives of its member firms who can become leaders in philanthropy.

King has been with Alexander Haas for 22 years.

Budget institute adds to board

The influential Georgia Budget and Policy Institute has added two new leaders to its board — Kathy Ashe and Russell Hinton.

Ashe, who was first elected to the Georgia House in 1991, has just retired from the legislature. She also is a former teacher, an active community leader, a mother and a volunteer.

Hinton served as Georgia’s state auditor from 1999 to 2012. He joined the state’s Department of Audits and Accounts in 1974, serving in position of increasing responsibilities until becoming the state auditor.

“Kathy and Russell are fantastic additions to our board, and we are lucky to have them,” said Alan Essig, executive director of the nonprofit research organization. “Georgia lawmakers will face very tough spending choices in 2013. Our policy recommendations will be strengthened by the guidance these two subject experts will give us.”

Maria Saporta

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.


You Might also Like


  1. TomBurnett January 16, 2013 6:33 pm

    Hunger in America: The Myth
    One should imbibe alarms about pervasive hunger skeptically.
    Free school lunch kids waste 46% more food than regular price kids. How can poor kids be hungrier?School lunch waste is about 30%. Where’s the hunger?School breakfast, snack and lunch provides all the calories a kid needs; then poor kids go home and eat the food stamp pop, candy bars, take-and-bake pizza and donuts.A family of 6 can get $23,900 per year in food stamps, free school food and food bank food. A non-recipient family of 6 usually spends $11,500 per year on food.A family of 6 can earn up to $55,000 and qualify for food stamps and Women, Infants and Children, WIC.The poor are adding weight faster than the non-poor.Arguments as to why the poor make bad choices with food stamps do not stand scrutiny.The food stamp program this year costs $77 billion. Mr. Obama wants to add $9 billion to that. A healthy food list reform, along the lines of the WIC program, could cut spending in half; no recipient would go hungry and the nation’s deficit would be substantially reduced.At least 57% of food stamp spending is for foods high in high fructose corn syrup, cholesterol, fat and sodium. Food stamps buy unhealthy food.The USDA and the Obama Administration are aggressively expanding food stamps, free school lunch and after school supper. The USDA rebuffed New York City’s request to drop soda pop from permissible food stamp purchases.Report

  2. FulCorn March 5, 2013 4:39 am

    I would like to thank you for posting such an useful blog. It seems to be very useful for now and always in the future. The time spend usefully will never go wrong and will unveil new informations undoubtadely. Hence, this would be useful for all when things take us to reach our knowledge to one extent..


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.