Can global hunger be eliminated by 2030? The nonprofit Rise Against Hunger believes that it can.
So does the United Nations, which in 2015 committed to ending global hunger by 2030 as one of 17 sustainable development goals approved by member nations.
“We are aligned with the U.N. goals to end hunger over the next dozen years,” said Karen Sanders Noe, Director of Global Partner Relations for the Raleigh, N.C.-based organization. “Hunger exists not because there’s not enough food in the world — there is — but mostly because of apathy.”
Since its founding in 1998, Rise Against Hunger has distributed more than 360 million nutritious meals to people in need around the globe in 74 countries. The nonprofit also focuses on community empowerment and emergency relief, with a goal to end hunger by 2030. Its impact is rapidly expanding — the number of meals packaged leapt from 50 million in 2014 to 64 million in 2016. In 2016 alone, Rise Against Hunger engaged more than 376,000 volunteers in its efforts and nourished more than 1 million lives.
Raising Hunger Awareness
Rise Against Hunger’s impact is expanding. The number of meals leapt from 50 million in 2014 to 64 million in 2016, assembled by 376,000 volunteers at meal packaging events in the U.S. and around the world. Once packaged, the meals are shipped to target locations around the world for distribution by partners.
“Meal packaging events really do raise awareness. Hunger is not often a part of daily conversations, but it should be,” Sanders Noe said. “When people get together, we talk about what hunger really looks like and the statistics that reflect its magnitude.”
Work by Rise Against Hunger, which renamed itself from Stop Hunger Now in 2016, and similar organizations has made a significant impact. The percentage of undernourished people in the world decreased from 14.7 percent (950 million people) in 2000 to 10.8 percent in 2013 (773 million), remaining flat for several years, according to the UN.
But now hunger is on the rise again, affecting 815 million people in 2016, according to the UN’s The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2017 report. Climate change and conflict in nations such as South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Nigeria has worsened the problem.
Key to the solution, Rise Against Hunger believes, is a greater focus on community empowerment and self-sustainable development. Projects in areas such as microfinance, agricultural training and business skills development are under way as part of Rise Against Hunger’s “Nourishing Lives” strategy.
“As people become healthier, better educated and start to thrive, we can exit out,” Sanders Noe said.
While combating hunger, Rise Against Hunger also mobilizes for emergencies. For instance, when Hurricane Matthew devastated Haiti in 2015, the organization distributed more than 2.5 million meals. Similar efforts in 2016 helped alleviate crises from hurricanes in the Caribbean and southern U.S., mudslides in Sierra Leone and monsoons in Nepal.
Better Efficiency, Greater Impact
NetSuite proudly sponsors Rise Against Hunger through the Oracle NetSuite Social Impact group. Roberta Sorensen, the organization’s controller, said replacing QuickBooks with NetSuite in 2015 has given the nonprofit new efficiency and control in managing its $39 million in annual donations from individuals, corporations and philanthropic organizations.
“NetSuite absolutely helps us better fulfill our mission. We couldn’t do what we do without NetSuite’s flexibility,” Sorenson said. “On the finance side, NetSuite helps us keep the organization lean so we can commit more resources to our programs.”
Using NetSuite, Rise Against Hunger is now building multi-year budgets and has cut payment approvals from eight days to 24 hours. It’s saving six hours a month on financial reporting and has reduced its monthly close from 34 to 26 days, all while accommodating a 2x increase in transactions since NetSuite went live.
In a next step, Rise Against Hunger plans to use NetSuite’s inventory management to more cost-effectively manage and transport meals packaged at 20 U.S. locations and two dozen more around the world. Efficiency gains support a high rating on Charity Navigator, driving additional donations.
“Running a lean operation on NetSuite is huge, because donors go to Charity Navigator and see that we’re very efficient and that donations go to actual programs,” Sorensen said. “We’ve been able to grow our efficiency and capacity with NetSuite so that as we continue to grow, we don’t need to add accounting headcount.”