In Press Releases

United Way of the Greater Triangle Announces Winners of Social Innovation Challenge to Tackle Childhood Hunger in the Triangle

$50K award plus three other awards for total of $100K

Morrisville, NC – United Way of the Greater Triangle (UWGT) announced today that a panel of judges comprised of community and business leaders; a nutritionist and local food coordinator; and venture investors/fund managers selected Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) as the winner of the $50K award 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.

“It is so important that we begin to look at the children, whom are faced with childhood hunger, as problem-solvers and not the problem. This innovation award allows us to involve the people most intimately impacted by childhood hunger with designing solutions to address the challenge,” remarked Brenda Elliott, Assistant Superintendent, Student Support Services of WCPSS.

An additional award went to Urban Ministries of Wake County ($25K) 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.

Another $20K 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.

The 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.

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.

“We are grateful to all the teams that participated. Each showed a passion for ending childhood hunger in our community,” said Melanie Davis-Jones, SVP of Marketing & Community Engagement at UWGT. “In varying ways, each of the teams reflect our two-generational approach to addressing social issues; we look forward to their progress.”

This is the second Social Innovation Challenge for United Way. The 2014 winner, Durham Public Schools Child Nutrition Services has provided, to date, more than 400,000 meals during the school year and last summer.

Challenge Sponsors: Citrix; Arysta LifeScience, The Redwoods Group and Zachry

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About United Way of the Greater Triangle (UWGT) United Way actively mobilizes the caring power of communities to build resources, focus investments, and foster partnerships to improve lives and inspire generations of achievement in four North Carolina counties, Durham, Johnston, Orange, and Wake. A new focus on families and children in low income households uses a collaborative approach to dramatically change the course of their futures. Learn more at

2400 Perimeter Park Drive, Suite 150 | Morrisville, North Carolina 27560 | 919.460.8687