2016 Childhood
Hunger Challenge

1 in 5 children in the Triangle is hungry on any given day

United Way of the Greater Triangle’s Social Innovation Challenge helps find solutions that feed children in our community today and keeps them fed for many tomorrows. In 2014, 50 teams shared their ideas for reducing childhood hunger in the Triangle. Jim Keaten, Executive Director of Student Nutrition Services for Durham Public Schools, won the Challenge and used the $50,000 in prize money to implement his universal breakfast in the classroom idea in five elementary schools in Durham. We are pleased to announce the 2016 winners…


Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) is the winner of the $50,000 grand prize for their idea of “Growing Youth Food Security Leaders.” The winning concept is to put youth at the center of developing solutions to childhood hunger through service learning clubs at middle schools in low-wealth communities. The kids will research and decide on a solution they would like to put into development; there will be funding for them to implement their ideas. The UWGT Social Innovation award will fund the pilot program in two schools.


Urban Ministries of Wake County is the winner of a $25,000 award for development of their Client Choice Pantry, complemented by nutrition education. Their focus is on recruiting mothers of children 0-5 and those who are expecting to increase their access to affordable, nutritious food and also giving them the skills to make healthy choices on a limited budget. The goal is to bridge access and information gaps to help families live healthier lifestyles by providing choices to honor a family’s preference.


A $20,000 prize went to East Durham Children’s Initiative (EDCI) in partnership with Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, Farmer Foodshare, Durham County Dept. of Public Health, Healthy Families Durham and Durham Connects, for their CHIP project (Communities addressing Hunger In Partnership) that will create new food access (through CSA boxes) delivered by Parent Advocates. In addition, education supports will be integrated into ongoing EDCI pipeline programs to create a holistic approach that supports both children and caregivers.


A final award of $5K was given to middleschoolers at Cary Academy for their “Bus Stop Food Drop” idea to increase access to healthy meals during the summer using existing bus stop locations.


A panel of judges comprised of community and business leaders; a nutritionist and local food coordinator; and venture investors/fund managers heard final idea pitches. Students at Eastway Elementary School in Durham also participated in the judging by reviewing videos from the teams and rating the best ideas. Three of the four winners were also selected by the 5th graders.

More resources related to the Social Innovation Challenge can be found here.

If you are interested in sponsoring the Social Innovation Challenge, contact Cassie Proper.