Despite a year filled with disruption and uncertainty, Feeding Tomorrow, the foundation of IFT, has shown resilience and adaptability as it navigated the pandemic, maintaining a focus on advancing work aligned with its three strategic promises—Motivate, Support, and Leverage. Though the challenges were great, the foundation’s accomplishments and successes this year were far greater.
Motivate. Partnerships and collaborations remain an important avenue for Feeding Tomorrow to fulfill its mission. The foundation partnered with the Chicagoland Food Science Foundation and FONA International to host a virtual educator event, which provided opportunities for educators to connect with food industry professionals, gain access to teaching resources and experiments, network, and learn about exciting career opportunities.
We also established a new partnership with Nepris, which virtually connects educators and students with industry professionals to bring real-world career exposure to classrooms across the United States, particularly in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). As part of Nepris’ “You Give We Give” campaign, IFT and Feeding Tomorrow encouraged science of food professionals to lead a teacher-requested session for a classroom. In return, Nepris awarded Feeding Tomorrow a $2,500 donation.
Support. Maintaining unyielding support for our vital talent pipeline remains a critical part of our mission. This year, we awarded the inaugural Dr. Elwood F. Caldwell Graduate Fellowship to Jonathan Sogin, a doctoral candidate at Cornell University. The fellowship was created as a result of a more than $1 million endowment from deceased longtime IFT member Elwood Caldwell, PhD.
We also awarded 42 academic scholarships totaling $84,500 in the last year and are again partnering with IFT sections, divisions, and sponsors to fund student registrations for FIRST, IFT’s reimagined virtual annual event. These efforts move us closer to our vision of building a community, within and beyond IFT, that provides a culture of support for the next generation of professionals in the science of food.
Leverage. While students are critically important to our future, the needs of our global community, which has been impacted greatly due to the pandemic, are vital as well. Our Volunteer Globally program leverages the collective knowledge of our community to pursue food and nutrition solutions for those in need. Since the program’s inception, we have offered 141 on-site and virtual volunteer opportunities in countries around the globe. Our volunteers consistently tell us they gain just as much, if not more, from their volunteer experience than the partners on the receiving end of their guidance and expertise.
The work we do wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of our community. This year, we have started to reconnect with longtime donors and friends of the foundation to share our progress, celebrate our impact, and invite future engagement.
Through these efforts and fundraisers like our Virtual Fun Run + Fitness (which is happening now), our endowment has exceeded $10 million for the first time, giving us stronger roots upon which we can grow and fulfill our strategic promises.
Now more than ever, we are agents of change for the science of food, committed to building a diverse pipeline of passionate talent and harnessing the experience of our partners to feed the world. This work lives at the intersection of education, science, and food, where inequities have existed for too long. As an organization, we are articulating our commitment to actively addressing barriers to access to education and science, especially for those who have been impacted the most by food inequity. As we integrate this commitment across our work and advance equity in every aspect of our programming, it will have a profound impact on the profession for years to come.
We can make a great impact with your support. Join us! To learn more about the foundation, visit ift.org/feeding-tomorrow-foundation.