URI Feinstein Center for a Hunger-Free America established
PROVIDENCE, R.I.-- September 8, 1999 -- The University of Rhode Island
today launched a center that has the elimination of hunger in Rhode Island
as its first priority.
Funded by a gift from the Feinstein Foundation and utilizing resources
throughout the University of Rhode Island, the initiative also calls for
the establishment of a hunger studies minor studies at URI and the creation
of lifelong advocates by exposing students to the issues of hunger and offering
them expanded opportunities for personal involvement.
The Feinstein Foundation is initially contributing $500,000 to the center
over the next two years. At the end of two years, the Foundation plans to
endow the Center up to $3-million providing expectations by both parties
With programs and action-based activities at both URI's Kingston and
Providence campuses, the URI Feinstein Center for a Hunger-Free America
will mobilize the University's vast human, academic, and programmatic energy
to move hunger to the forefront of America's consciousness.
"We believe that fighting hunger is a way of wrestling with a whole
range of social and economic ills from which hunger often flows," said
URI President Robert L. Carothers. "Alan Shawn Feinstein's national
leadership on this issue creates special opportunities for URI and gives
us another way to contribute to the health and welfare of Rhode Island and
"I look forward with hope and optimism that we can, indeed, make
a lasting impact on the hunger problem in America," said Alan Shawn
The first official task of the Center will be to conduct a national search
for a recognized leader in the war on hunger. A six-member academic steering
committee, charged with assisting in the day-to-day operations of the Center,
will conduct the search. Kathy Cevoli, who most recently served the University
as director of corporate and foundation relations, will act as interim coordinator
of the center until a successful candidate is found.
The initiative is being launched with strong faculty support. In addition
to the steering committee, a 12-member committee of University advisors
will meet monthly throughout the academic year to provide policy and direction
for the Center as well as identify criteria for evaluation and benchmarks
The Center will mobilize many of the University's existing resources
and will be strongly supported by the Feinstein Enriching America Program
at URI, URI's Family Resource Partnership, and the University's emerging
Urban Initiative to accomplish the following:
HUNGER-FREE STATE: To create a hunger-free Rhode Island, the Center
plans to engage Rhode Island leaders from business, government, the non-profit
sector, and education to develop and implement a plan of action.
*A HUNGER MINOR. An academic minor in hunger studies will be established
that incorporates new and existing curricula from a variety of disciplines
and colleges. Service learning and internships will be a strong component.
LIFELONG ADVOCATES. All URI freshmen, currently oriented to community
service through the URI 101/Feinstein Enriching America Program, will be
formally introduced to issues relating to hunger and personal opportunities
LEADERSHIP STUDIES: Hunger cessation will become a highly visible track
in URI'S existing Leadership Studies minor. Throughout the program's four
years of study, internships and services opportunities, hunger advocacy
will be an ongoing action focus.
HUNGER POLICY INSTITUTE FOR ACTION RESEARCH FOR SYSTEMIC CHANGE: Action
research will be applied to help advocate for systemic change in addressing
hunger in Rhode Island and nationally. Existing hunger data will be used
to define a Rhode Island baseline and to guide a robust agenda to the Center's
hunger eradication activities.
HUNGER INFORMATION DISSEMINATION: URI's Departments of Journalism and
Communication Studies will help keep the topic of hunger in the forefront
of local and national media by developing a public/media relations program.
In addition, the Center will press forward with Feinstein Foundation
hunger programs-focusing immediately on the completion of the million signature
petition calling for Congress and the president to end hunger in America.
To that end, URI's new Center unveiled today a hunger petition web page,
giving people across America the opportunity to sign the petition electronically.
The site address is: www.uri.edu/volunteer/endhunger/
The URI Feinstein Center for a Hunger-Free America indicates a shift
of resources from Brown University. "Hunger is a public policy issue.
I chose to fund the center at URI because it is the state's public university
and because of the interest in the issue of hunger at the University of
Rhode Island. The University has a rich track record of community involvement
and can provide hands-on advocacy by mobilizing a generation of students,"said
A snapshot of hunger in Rhode Island According to the
1997 USDA Food Security Measurement Study, an estimated 35,400 Rhode Islanders
went hungry. That means 1 out of every 30 Rhode Island households experienced
hunger. And the number of Rhode Island households that were food insecure
reached an estimated 134,000; that's 1 in every 8 Rhode Island households.
Hunger and Race in Rhode Island: 63 percent were white.
Gender and the hungry: 64.50 percent were women.
Employment: 41 percent were unemployed, 23 percent were working, 36 percent
were either retired or disabled.
Ages of the hungry: 47 percent were between the ages of 18 and 65 and
43 percent were under age 18.
URI Steering Committee Members
The six steering committee members who are charged with assisting in
the day-to-day operations of the Center and conducting a national for the
Center's director are: Jayne Richmond, interim dean of URI's University
College; Dr. Nancy Fey Yensan, assistant professor of food science and nutrition;
Dr. Jerome Schaffran, human development, counseling and family who will
represent URI's Family Resource Partnership; Dr. Maureen Moakley, political
scientist who represents URI's Public Policy Forum; Dr. Emanuel Blount,
director of student services at URI's Feinstein-College of Continuing Education
who will represent the University's emerging Urban Initiative; and Ed Ferszt,
associate dean at Feinstein-CCE who will represent the hunger center.
URI Committee of University Advisors
A Committee of University Advisors will meet monthly throughout the academic
year to guide the policy direction of the Center. Included in that committee
are the steering committee members and the following: Alan Shawn Feinstein,
founder of the Feinstein Foundation; Walter A. Crocker, dean of the URI
Feinstein College of Continuing Education; Kathy Cevoli, interim coordinator
for the Feinstein Center for a Hunger-Free America; Lawrence Perri, URI
William Lynn McKinley, professor of education; Linda Sebelia, education
specialist for food science and nutrition; Diane Horm-Wingerd, chair of
Human Development and Family Studies; Marshall Feldman, associate professor
of Community Planning; Matthew Bodah, assistant professor of the Labor Research
Center; Vincent Petronio, assistant professor of Communications Studies;
Linda Acciardo, director of the Department of Communications/News Bureau;
Marcia Marker Feld, associate professor of Community Planning; Carole Horridge,
director of the Feinstein Center for Service Learning, URI Feinstein College
of Continuing Education; Dean Libutti, director of the Feinstein Center
for Service Learning, Kingston campus.
For More Information: Jan Sawyer, 401-874-2116