The Hunger Project
JMJ Associates has a reputation for helping its clients solve large, intractable problems and “Making the Impossible Possible”. So it seems fitting that JMJ Associates has been working on solving the problem of global hunger since the company started 24 years ago.
From its inception, JMJ Associates has been a corporate sponsor of The Hunger Project (THP). Founded on closely aligned principles, methods and a commitment to global, sustainable results, the partnership allows both organizations to have a greater reach in the world.
In Africa, South Asia and Latin America, The Hunger Project works to end hunger and poverty by empowering millions of women and men to lead lives of self-reliance, meet their own basic needs and build better futures for their children.
The Hunger Project carries out its mission through three essential activities: mobilizing village clusters at the grassroots level to build self-reliance, empowering women as key change agents, and forging effective partnerships with local government.
JMJ’s roots in The Hunger Project
As an idealistic young high school principal in Richmond, Virginia, Jay Greenspan volunteered for a new organization, called The Hunger Project (THP), when it was founded in 1977. “The thing that attracted me was that hunger appeared to the world as impossible to solve. Hunger was a metaphor for the impossible,” Greenspan said, referring to the standard business joke of the time. ”What are we trying to do here, solve world hunger?” Yes, actually.
“When people think something is impossible, their participation is much muted,” Greenspan noted. In particular, with issues like hunger, their relationship to it is to do a charitable act, but it’s really a gesture rather than a full-scale investment.” Then Greenspan discovered that the world had more than enough food to go around, that countries such as India were exporting food, and that starvation—which is what everyone thought hunger was at the time—was just part of the issue. “Chronic malnutrition was really the issue, coupled with a complex web of other issues such as empowerment of women, clean water and sanitation. The reason that I started with The Hunger Project was that 41,000 people used to die every day from hunger. All of this was unacceptable given that it was unnecessary. I saw that we could make a leveraged difference. We could put hunger at the forefront of political trends in the world.”
Ultimately Greenspan moved to San Francisco to join the staff of The Hunger Project, rising to become the organizational equivalent of chief operating officer, and increasing THP’s global footprint to 26 countries along the way. In San Francisco, he would meet two THP volunteers, Mike Goddu and Joseph Friedman, with whom he formed the eponymous JMJ (Jay, Mike and Joseph) Associates 24 years ago. Many current JMJ employees also came from The Hunger Project team.
“When we founded the company, the relationship to The Hunger Project was crystal clear,” Greenspan said. “What we decided to do—and it has been our guiding principle for 24 years—is to take what is seemingly impossible, make it possible and actually deliver on it.”
As of July 2013, JMJ celebrated the completion of its 5-year financial commitment to THP in support of the Osonson Epicenter. It was a monumental pledge on behalf of JMJ and we are so incredibly proud to have met it and to have been able to participate in such a way with THP and see the impact our community was able to make with the people who live around this Epicenter--it has touched all of our lives. Please enjoy this special completion video we created to mark the event.