SWIPE OUT HUNGER
Swipe Out Hunger is the leading nonprofit addressing hunger among college students. We promote on-campus solutions, policy and advocacy pathways, and community building practices to address student hunger.
We work closely with leaders on-the-ground to not only ensure today’s students have access to meals, but to also address student hunger upstream with sustainable legislation and policies. Our national movement spans more than 600 colleges in all 50 states and Canada and has served 4.8 million nutritious meals to date.
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Briettny Curtner (she/hers) is the Operations & Technology Coordinator at Swipe Out Hunger. She works behind the scenes to support the organization’s sustainability and promote efficient workflows. She brings over 5 years of experience in program and operations management across 3 public universities. Her impact has been significant, including partnering with SAMSHA bringing awareness to suicide prevention, elevating the voices of Black and African American undergraduate women through research on misogynoir, and equitably allocating $1M of grant and private funds to 200+ students and student-led organizations. Additionally, Briettny is a proud first-generation college graduate earning a Bachelor’s in Psychology and Masters in Education, Counseling, and Student Personnel. Although native to California, Briettny currently resides in Utah. When she’s not hiking or mountain biking, you can find her playing video games.
Christina Hasaan is the Programs & Partnerships Coordinator at Swipe Out Hunger. Christina received her B.A. in Sociology from Temple University. Before attending Temple, she transferred from the Community College of Philadelphia (CCP) where she earned her Associates Degree in Liberal Arts, Social Behavior. Christina is a first-generation non-traditional student who believes that knowledge is the key to success, and everyone should have access to that key. As a teen mom she fought for equal public education in her high school and as an undergraduate student she continued to connect the gap between useful education and the people who need it most. She has been involved in creating change around campus by being a part of multiple organizations. She is a Philadelphia native who also enjoys gardening and taking her children to the park.
Courtney Pate is the Grants Manager at Swipe Out Hunger, supporting philanthropic partnerships through proposal development and impact reporting. While working in the food service and grocery industries, she witnessed issues of food waste and inaccessibility, which led her to a career focused on food justice, education, and advocacy. She brings many years of experience in nonprofit fundraising and grants management, having provided funding support for food access and education programs in different communities across the country. Born and raised in Florida, you can usually find Courtney enjoying swampy nature walks around Louisiana or cuddling her cat.
Jaime Hansen is the Executive Director at Swipe Out Hunger. With over 20 years in the community benefit sector, Jaime has worked with national, state, and multi-county agencies to achieve stability and mission-driven success. Jaime currently resides in Boise, Idaho — a state with a strong agricultural community but large barriers to food and nutrition access. Her passion for justice and equity for basic needs is shaped by her childhood. With nomadic parents, she was offered an opportunity to live in different states across the country. Jaime has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychological Sciences as well as a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and returns to school every fall to teach Nonprofit Management at Boise State University. You can often find Jaime in the vast wilderness of Idaho on a raft or in snowshoes. She loves all things food and regularly experiments in cooking with her partner Xanti, a 5-year-old with dance fever, and their two dogs.
Janelle (she/her) is the Director of Communications at Swipe Out Hunger, leading the organization’s communications strategy and branding. She received her B.A. in Social Work from Rutgers University, where she first engaged in addressing food insecurity, sustainability, and food justice through Alternative Breaks and serving the local community. Janelle then earned her M.Ed. in Higher Education & Student Affairs Administration from the University of Vermont and worked closely with students while developing digital marketing and design assets for offices across campus. Prior to joining Swipe Out Hunger, she worked in marketing and communications at Rutgers University with a focus on social media and student outreach. Janelle lives in New Jersey and enjoys taking care of her plants, spending time with her dog, and cooking.
Jazmin (she/ella) is the Communications Coordinator at Swipe out Hunger, supporting the organization’s communications strategy and utilizing storytelling to further community building. She earned her B.A. at Yale University where she focused on health equity and media studies, while building community with other first-generation, low-income students. With experience across the non-profit and public health sectors, she has developed skills in copywriting and content management along with a foundation in data science. From collaborating with the Sudan Ministry of Health to transform local university research to filming a documentary about the HIV epidemic in eSwatini with the CDC, Jazmin’s experiences have solidified her passion for intersectional storytelling. Her approach to solving food insecurity is also informed by her personal experiences, which encourage her to prioritize empathy and asset-based framing. When Jazmin is not running with her dogs around Houston, you can find her knitting, eating pozole, or explaining why Paddington should be added to the Criterion Collection.
Josh is the Chief Operations Officer at Swipe Out Hunger, where he is responsible for supporting the organization’s sustainability. Josh was born in Liverpool, England and grew up in Northwest Indiana. During college, Josh developed a passion for understanding the sociopolitical and economic underpinnings of hunger and food insecurity worldwide, especially while working in the office of Senator Richard Lugar where Josh focused his research on global food security for The Lugar Center. After graduating from Indiana University, Josh worked for the Illinois Department of Public Health, where he helped write legislation advocating for healthy communities throughout Illinois. Prior to joining Swipe Out Hunger, Josh was the Program Director at Tzedek America, where he developed educational programs for teens and young adults that focused on social justice issues in Los Angeles from a Jewish perspective. Josh earned his Masters in Jewish Professional Studies at Spertus College. He lives in Los Angeles, CA with his wife Shani and their goldendoodle, Waldo.
Julia Ruth is the Advocacy Organizer at Swipe Out Hunger. She holds a B.S. in Public Policy Analysis from the Ohio State University. During college, Julia found her passion for state and federal nutrition policy during her internship with the United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry under Senator Debbie Stabenow, where she focused on federal food assistance programs. Through her work, Julia aspires to be a fierce advocate for equitable food access for all individuals of all demographics and to create change to address social and health disparities. Born and raised in Michigan, you can now find Julia in Columbus, Ohio, cheering on her alma mater and exploring new restaurants and coffee shops.
Mariela is the Resource Impact Manager at Swipe Out Hunger where she helps strengthen the engagement of campuses and anti-hunger nonprofit partners. Mariela holds a B.A. in Sociology from The University of California, Santa Barbara, where she found her passion for reliable access to nutritious food for all. Prior to joining Swipe Out Hunger, Mariela was a CalFresh, Food Security, and Basic Needs advocate at Basic Needs UCSB where she had the unique experience of helping connect students to resources as an undergraduate student herself. Mariela strongly values an intersectional lens in food justice work to best support underrepresented students and students of all backgrounds. She enjoys coming together with friends and family through food and traveling.
Melody Luo is the Programs Intern at Swipe Out Hunger. She is currently a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania with plans to study Political Science and Urban Education Policy. Melody first became interested in working against food insecurity after a partnership with Island Harvest Food Bank through the Bank of America National Student Leaders Program. There, she focused on teaching nutrition education courses to K-12 students and increasing accessibility to resources such as SNAP for marginalized communities across Long Island. She is incredibly interested in the intersections between food justice and education and is excited to work with college students across the nation!
Renee Houle Catanzano
Renee Houle Catanzano is the Director of Philanthropic Partnerships at Swipe Out Hunger, leading the organization’s fundraising efforts and opportunities. With more than 10 years of nonprofit fundraising experience in human services and academic settings, Renee has a unique perspective on creating financial pathways to meet organizational milestones and long-term goals. Prior to joining Swipe Out Hunger, Renee served as Capital Campaign Manager at U.S.VETS, managing the fundraising program for the development of veteran supportive housing across the country. Before U.S.VETS, she was the Capital Campaign Manager and Director of Individual Giving at Cradles to Crayons, a non-profit focused on providing everyday essentials to children in homeless and low-income situations. Renee’s passion lies in addressing barriers to basic needs, and she strives to engage others in improving our individual and collective well-being. Originally from Boston, MA, Renee holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Northeastern University and a Bachelor of Science in Business Management degree from Bentley University. You can find Renee living in Los Angeles with her husband and rescue kitten Wednesday, drinking coffee, and playing her music way too loud.
Robb is the Director of Advocacy at Swipe Out Hunger, where he drives forward national and local advocacy campaigns focused on ending student hunger through campus, regional, and national solutions as part of the Research & Development Lab. Robb’s passion for organizing students for change began more than a decade ago and has extended into many different movements. From organizing disenfranchised communities for candidate campaigns, immigrant families for comprehensive immigration reform, or students for climate justice, he continues to believe in the power of grassroots movements to change our country. Before coming to Swipe Out Hunger, Robb served as the Advocacy Manager at Feeding America, where he organized and grew the advocacy power of our nation’s more than 200 food banks. Robb is fired up and ready to go, to keep building the movement he knows will one-day end hunger in America. Robb is originally from Kansas City (Go Chiefs!) and graduated from Hofstra University on Long Island, NY. You can find Robb in Brooklyn, NY living with his wife, adorable dog KayCee, and all the craft beer he can drink.
Sage McCoy is the Programs & Partnerships Manager at Swipe Out Hunger. She found her passion for working against food insecurity through her passion for college student development. Sage holds a B.A. in Psychology and an M.Ed. in Higher Education and Student Affairs from the University of Arkansas. She fell in love with the University of Arkansas’ Jane B. Gearhart Full Circle Food Pantry while volunteering, and in 2019 she was excited to be hired as the staff advisor for Full Circle Food Pantry and Razorback Food Recovery programs. For 3 years, Sage worked for the Center for Community Engagement at the UofA, advising and developing the young leaders that led and operated these service-focused food programs. She brings student and leadership development skills, a lens of compassion, and a fiery determination to empower student leaders to step up, ask hard questions, and do good work for their communities. Sage lives in Northwest Arkansas where she loves bothering her 3 adorably misbehaved cats and taking off into nature to sleep in her Subaru.
Sydnie is the Director of Programs at Swipe Out Hunger. While working in community development for the past 15 years, Sydnie has come face to face with food insecurity at every point of her career. It became apparent to Sydnie that access to food was undeniably the most essential social determinant of health. Whether it was organizing the 30+ pantries servicing one of Chicago’s most under resourced communities, Englewood, to establishing the University Food Pantry at Chicago State University, Sydnie is committed to Food Justice. Sydnie holds a B.A. in Political Science and an M.PA in Public Administration. For years, Sydnie has been empowering, advising and developing young leaders to lead and operate service-focused food programs. She brings leadership and community development skills, a lens of empathy, and a determination to address the inequities in food accessibility.
Zoe is the National Field Manager at Swipe Out Hunger. She holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Connecticut, where her passion of advocacy grew while experiencing the multitude of social change issues college students face everyday. Prior to joining Swipe Out Hunger, Zoe was a Campus Organizer with MASSPIRg Students, where she trained and developed the next generation of student activists on campaigns ranging from climate change to food insecurity. Originally from the Bay Area, Zoe now resides in Western MA, where she enjoys hiking and cooking in her free time.
OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Ben Woo is the Founder and Managing Director of QC Strategy, a research-based consultancy that lives in the gap between ad agencies and strategy consulting firms. Having worked for both in the past (TBWA\Chiat\Day and Monitor Group, respectively), he draws on his marketing strategy and growth strategy experience in a breadth of industries including consumers goods, healthcare, technology and not-for-profit. Woo serves as the Secretary & Audit Chair for the Board of Directors at Swipe Out Hunger. Woo holds a B.A. from Northwestern University in Economics and Mathematical Methods in the Social Sciences, and spends his free time cooking, surfing, golfing, volunteering, and going to concerts.
Dr. Christopher J. Nellum
Dr. Christopher Nellum (he/him/his) is the Executive Director of The Education Trust–West, a nonprofit education equity organization focused on educational justice and closing achievement and opportunity gaps for students of color and students from lower-income communities from preschool through college. Nellum co-led the creation of a three-year strategic plan and deepened the organization’s expertise in early childhood education, K-12, and higher education. He has led successful advocacy efforts to ensure equity in the K-12 accountability system, create a statewide cradle-to-career data system, address food insecurity for college students, and ensure that every high school senior completes a financial aid application before they graduate. In addition, Nellum was the founding co-chair of the California Higher Education Equity Coalition. Nellum has worked with the National Center for Institutional Diversity, Young Invincibles, and the American Council on Education. Nellum completed his undergraduate degree at UC Santa Barbara, master’s degree at CSU Long Beach, and Ph.D. at the University of Michigan. He mentors young Black and Latinx students through his volunteer work with college access programs like Berkeley Community Scholars. Nellum is serving in the biggest role of his lifetime as a father of a baby girl. He is married to Dr. Alexis Jackson, an Oakland native and marine conservation scientist and ocean policy advocate.
Connor Blankenship is a senior clean energy professional with over 10 years of experience in project finance and mergers and acquisitions at several major renewables developers in North America. Currently, he is a Senior Manager in the Energy Origination & Development team at TC Energy, where he is responsible for originating and financing low carbon opportunities. Prior to TC Energy, Blankenship held comparable roles at GE Capital, Exelon, ENGIE, and Harrison Street Capital. Blankenship graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in finance and has a master’s in business administration from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. During his time at Booth, he co-founded and acted as Treasurer for MeaningFull Meals, a nonprofit focused on fighting food insecurity. He lives in Chicago with his wife, Elizabeth, and dog, Bonkers.
Cyekeia Lee is the Executive Director of the Detroit College Access Network (DCAN), overseeing college access support for over 50 high schools in Detroit. In this role, she brings together school districts, community-based organizations, and workforce partners to make postsecondary pathways a reality for all students. Previously, Lee was the Director of Community Collaboration at The Kalamazoo Promise and the Director of Higher Education Initiatives with the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth. Lee holds a bachelor’s degree in communication from Eastern Michigan University and a master’s degree in counseling education from Wayne State University.
David Croom is Assistant Director of Ascend at the Aspen Institute, where he leads the Postsecondary Success for Parents (PSP) Initiative. Centered on a two-generation (2Gen) approach, which focuses on creating opportunities to address the needs of children and the adults in their lives simultaneously, the PSP Initiative urges postsecondary leaders to identify and meet the needs of student parents and their families, by connecting with policymakers to strengthen political will among states and regions, and bringing innovative family-support models to the forefront. Croom as a background in postsecondary and policy initiatives from coast to coast. Prior to joining Ascend, Croom was Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Lead and Higher Education Designer at Education Design Lab where he led an institutional engagement with UNCF’s Career Pathways Initiative. For over four years, Croom was a strategy officer in Lumina Foundation’s Washington, D.C. office where he focused on federal policy and pursued issues pertaining to postsecondary finance. Before Lumina, he was a policy analyst focused on federal postsecondary education in ACT’s office of strategic initiatives and, during graduate school, spent a year working at nonprofit PolicyLink with their California Boys and Men of Color Initiative work as well as consulting the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and nonprofit California Competes. Croom holds a master of public policy from the University of California, Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy and a bachelor’s degree from MIT’s Sloan School of Management with a minor in political science.
Eben Shapiro is a veteran media executive with three decades of experience overseeing award-winning digital and print content at TIME, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), The New York Times, and Newsweek. He currently is the Executive Editor at Sellerseaston Media. As Deputy Editor at TIME, he oversaw daily operations and launched the highly successful Leadership Brief CEO interview series. While at WSJ, Shapiro served as the top editor of sections including Personal Journal, Review and Arena; the Global Arts Editor; and the Editor of the WSJ’s Personal Journal, a consumer section he co-launched in 2002. In addition, Shapiro was the Business Editor of Newsweek magazine and a Business Reporter for The New York Times. He is known for successful startup launches and building cohesive, energetic reporting teams.
Libby Jacobson is a business development and strategy consultant for nascent impact enterprises in the greater Los Angeles area. Jacobson’s background includes 13 years of Wall Street experience in institutional equity research and sales. While raising her four children, she spent many years volunteering. It was then that she realized the need to create sustainable solutions for issues affecting her local and global communities. Addressing homelessness has been her passion and priority. Jacobson is a Chartered Financial Analyst and earned an master’s in business administration from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas in Austin and a master’s of science in social entrepreneurship from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. She serves on the Advisory Board for the Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab at USC, the Social Enterprise committee for Downtown Women’s Center, and is Chair Emeritus of the Board of Directors for Swipe Out Hunger. Currently, she is also involved with outreach to homeless young adults at Safe Place for Youth where she is helping to build out their social enterprise, and is an advisor to RxLA, an affordable housing developer in South Los Angeles. Jacobson seeks to bring innovation to the nonprofit community by tapping into her empathy for those she serves and combining it with firm business acumen. She has a deep commitment to ensuring that every organization she works with fully represents the communities they serve.
Michael Block is an entrepreneur and philanthropist. He began his career at Hasbro and continues in the toy and game industry with over 20 year’s experience in international sales and marketing. In addition, he has been in the health and wellness industry for the past 10 years owning greenmonkey® yoga and currently is a private investor in several initiatives. He currently sits on the Boards of Voices for Children, Feeding South Florida, Swipe Out Hunger, and the Block Family Foundation. Block earned his bachelor of arts degree from American University.
Miki Rettig is an Executive Assistant at Ares Management, a global alternative investment management company operating in the credit, private equity, and real estate markets. Through her own college experience and later as owner of a specialty food store catering to women, infants, and children, Rettig has seen first-hand the impact food has on the growth, development, self-esteem and confidence of young people. Rettig is committed to using her experiences to address the universal need for food and eliminate hunger for the young and the young at heart. Previous to her role at Ares Management, Rettig worked as an Accountant and Controller at an Orange County, CA hospital as well as at Blue Cross of California, Medi-Cal Programs and Health Net, Inc. where she continued her dedication to the improvement of health for families and communities. Rettig received a bachelor of science in business administration from University of California, Riverside and a master of science in health services administration with an emphasis in community health education and health promotion from California State University, San Bernardino.
Dr. Rashida Crutchfield
Dr. Rashida Crutchfield is an associate professor in the School of Social Work at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) and Director of the Center for Equitable Higher Education, which is a research center dedicated to studying and promoting economic, food, and housing justice. She is also an advocate committed to amplifying the voices of marginalized communities through research and service. Prior to her work at CSULB, she served on the staff of Covenant House California, a shelter for 18-to-24-year-olds experiencing homelessness. This experience blossomed a passion to support this student population. Dr. Crutchfield was a Principal Investigator for the California State University Office of the Chancellor study on food and housing security. Her work has been instrumental in the development of programs and services for students experiencing housing and food insecurity at all 23 CSU campuses. Her continued research and advocacy on basic needs for students has garnered statewide and national attention. She has provided input on state policy and provides consultation and support to agencies, and higher education staff, faculty, and administrators across the nation. Dr. Crutchfield has authored or co-authored many articles, including “The starving student narrative: How normalizing deprivation reinforces basic need insecurity in higher education”. Co-authored with Drs. Ronald Hallett and Jennifer Maguire, her text Addressing Homelessness and Housing Insecurity in Higher Education: Strategies for Educational Leaders is used as a manual for developing programs and services to support student basic needs throughout the country.
Ruth Suzman is a dedicated volunteer, philanthropist, and non-profit advisor. Having earned degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and Yale University, today Suzman works with organizations that help advance social justice and organizations that help strengthen the Jewish community. She is currently serving as global board chair for BBYO, the leading pluralistic Jewish youth movement. Nationally, Suzman is a board member of the Vanderbilt University Hillel (Nashville), she serves on the advisory council of the College of Liberal Arts at University of Texas at Austin and on the board of directors of the MB and Edna Zale Foundation (Dallas). In her local work, Suzman is Chair Emerita of the Board of the Westchester Community College Foundation, and a member of the advisory council to the Westchester Community Foundation (local division of the New York Community Trust). Additionally, Suzman serves as a member of the Visiting Committee to the Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York CIty. She is proud to be a part of the movement to end hunger on college campuses.
Sanjay Reddy is a co-founding partner of Unlock Venture Partners, an early stage venture capital firm focused on investing in tech companies in Seattle and Los Angeles. Reddy has demonstrated successes in diverse arenas, including M&A banking on Wall Street (Salomon Smith Barney), entertainment and digital media in Hollywood (Gemstar-TV Guide), and technology in Silicon Valley (Covad Communications). Apart from being an executive at mid-size and large cap public companies, Reddy also has broad experience with private technology startups (as a co-founder/investor/advisor/operator) and has successfully completed the sale of the last three companies he has worked at, including the public sale of Gemstar-TV Guide in 2008. Reddy currently serves on the board of the Price Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at UCLA Anderson; he holds a bachelor of arts in economics from Cornell University and an master’s in business administration in finance from UCLA Anderson.
OUR LEADERSHIP COUNCIL
OUR FOUNDING STORY
Founded by Rachel Sumekh and her friends at the University of California Los Angeles in 2010, Swipe Out Hunger is now the leading national nonprofit working to end college student hunger. Its original model is the Swipe Drive, which enables students to donate their extra meals to their peers facing food insecurity on campus. From there, Rachel and her growing team scaled this program to other campuses, centering student voices and action in the national conversation to end college hunger.
Rachel grew from a shy college student into a national leader and an expert on college hunger and basic needs. Her work with Swipe Out Hunger has been recognized by The Obama White House as a “Champion of Change,” and the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. Under her leadership, Swipe Out Hunger has evolved from one student-led organization to the systems-changing nonprofit we are today.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture relaxed eligibility SNAP requirements for college students during the pandemic, allowing in those on financial aid with no expected family support and anyone who qualified for work-study programs, regardless of hours worked. But with the public health emergency over, students already receiving SNAP benefits had until June 30 to recertify and stay in the program under the pandemic-era rules.
The year is coming to a close, but the efforts of food and agriculture systems advocates continue to bring awareness and advocacy to some of our most pressing problems. As we look ahead to the new year, Food Tank is highlighting the organizations, initiatives, and movements to follow.