KINGSTON, R.I. -- December 26, 2001 -- The Feinstein Center for a Hunger Free America will become a permanent part of the University of Rhode Island and its mission, thanks to a recent $1.5 million gift by the Feinstein Foundation. The gift establishes an endowment. Interest from the endowment will fund the centers ongoing activities.
The Feinstein Foundation established the center at URI in 1999 with an initial contribution of $500,000. The center has offices at URIs Providence and Kingston campuses.
"The Feinstein Center for a Hunger Free America now has a two-year record of achievement at the University of Rhode Island," said URI President Robert L. Carothers. "With a permanent base of support established, the University and the Feinstein Foundation can look forward to a long-term partnership that will work to eradicate hunger in Rhode Island and America.
"I value the faith that Alan Shawn Feinstein has shown in URI as a vehicle for accomplishing social good," the president added.
One of the primary goals of the center is to develop lifelong anti-hunger advocates by giving students hands-on experience. The center also is bridging the relationships between the University and the wider Rhode Island community to find solutions to the problems of hunger and poverty.
Among the centers achievements is the creation of a new hunger studies minor at URI which offers students exposure to issues of hunger and an opportunity for personal involvement through service learning activities, research and outreach.
In addition, with the appointment of Dr. Kathleen Gorman as its director in August 2000 after a nationwide search, the Center achieved another goal, which was to attract a recognized leader in the war on hunger. Gorman came from the University of Vermont with a solid background in academic research and a history as an activist, informing the public and influencing policy on hunger related issues.
Issues of hunger have been embraced by faculty in URI 101: Traditions and Transformation classes, a mandatory one-credit freshman course with a service learning component called the Feinstein Foundation Enriching America Program. The program is designed to heighten awareness and ultimately make students better community members. For example, one class recently got a broader perspective on what it was like to be hungry by shopping, cooking, and eating with homeless residents at Welcome House in Peace Dale.
Through the Center, 15 students participated in a survey of clients of pantries, kitchens, and shelters in Rhode Island as part of a nationwide study on hunger in America.
Other students have written theses on hunger-related issues, and still others are currently working with the R. I. Dept. of Human Services to conduct food stamp outreach for the state.
The Centers staff is also involved in policy-related issues, having testified in front of state legislators on hunger issues and briefed the Rhode Island congressional delegation on pending legislation. For the past two years, the Center has sponsored students attendance at national anti-hunger conferences and plans are currently underway for a regional meeting on advocacy this spring at URI.
"Mr. Feinsteins continuous gifts in the fight to eradicate hunger show his commitment to making a difference in peoples lives not only in Rhode Island, but in the rest of the world. I appreciate the confidence he has placed in us," said the centers director.
For Information: Jan Wenzel, 401-874-2116