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An Update from Our Founder

Dear Swipe Community,

Twelve years ago, my friend Bryan invited me to spend hours moving pallets of food across campus to the UCLA food pantry. With each box of cereal we lifted, I expanded my understanding of the impact one person could have, even a quiet 18 year old girl from the San Fernando Valley. Unbeknownst to any of us on that hot June day, what a group of friends started at UCLA would compound into a nationwide movement. 

A trip to the White House, reaching 450 campus partners, providing 4.8 million meals, passing trailblazing legislation in six states, landing deals with major business players, a congressional testimony, acquiring another nonprofit, and growing Swipe Out Hunger from a group of angsty teens to a 13 person staff of experts and a nearly $2M budget. Can someone get a book publisher on the line, please?? 

We built a powerful coalition that has resolutely asked “Why the hell did we ever tolerate students going hungry?”

Despite many (many) initial rejections, every campus that said yes to starting a Swipe program warped our sense of reality, it made us believe in a future that didn’t exist — yet. We knew we could be standing exactly where our sector is now, where everyone on campus knows they have a role to play in the essential work to end student hunger, whether a student, administrator, business, or legislator. 

This journey has been defined by two words, persistence and adaptability. 

I am sitting with a heart full of gratitude for the students who placed their anger alongside action, for my absolutely incomparable staff, for our college partners now leading the way, for our dedicated board, for every donor, and to every low income college student who showed me what persistence and adaptability really mean.

On August 1, I’ll pass the baton to our incredible new Executive Director Jaime Hansen, and I’ll transition out of my role as CEO and into advisor. I look forward to taking a personal break to hike national parks, reflect, and dream before exploring new opportunities. You can keep up with me at [email protected] or via Instagram

I’m excited for the growth and impact to come. Swipe Out Hunger has been a home for thousands of college activists, our team members, and for me as we worked to build communities and campuses as they ought to be — just, loving, and nourishing. 

Thank you for being on this journey,

Rachel Sumekh
Founder, Swipe Out Hunger  

Join me in celebrating this milestone by giving to The Sumekh Emerging Leadership fund named in my honor, which will support the systemic solutions we know are needed to end college hunger.



To my Swipe Out Hunger community,

As we enter into spring and a season that celebrates growth and opportunity, I wanted to personally inform you of some important news.

I have decided to transition from my role as CEO of Swipe Out Hunger on July 29, 2022. Since helping to co-found the organization in 2010, I have had the great fortune of growing Swipe Out Hunger from one campus campaign to the systems-change nonprofit we are today. I will forever be the proud founder of this organization and will continue to support and champion our work.

There is so much to say about this journey. We have built an incredible and fortified organization and are poised to bring in a committed new leader to build on this impressive foundation. We secured expert staff leadership, finalized a three year strategic plan, completed a successful acquisition, and are in a strong financial position. 

Student food insecurity remains an urgent issue. During the pandemic, 35% of college students said hunger has impacted their ability to study. I challenged our team to show up for the moment and we grew from 120 to 435 campuses in just the past year. We provided the training, support, and advocacy for college administrators and student leaders who are addressing this urgent need in real time – and there is more to do. 

Swipe Out Hunger’s work continues to play a vital role on college campuses and this transition will not impact our operations, programs, or mission.

Just as you’ve always had our backs, we invite you to continue supporting us in this next stage by helping us find Swipe Out Hunger’s new Executive Director. The ideal candidate:
– Worked directly on the issues of poverty, hunger, or basic needs insecurity in higher education 
– Is a people-centered leader who prioritizes relationships and brings together new and diverse partners around a shared mission 
– Is enthusiastic about fundraising and has experience stewarding individuals, foundations, or corporate partners

Swipe Out Hunger has been my life’s work since I was 18 years old and I’m deeply grateful to our staff and board who will continue to build towards a more equitable higher education system. Moving forward, I will explore new opportunities to create a more joyful and just world – although no founder transition is easy, I believe in making space for new leadership. I’m energized by the new journey ahead for Swipe Out Hunger and myself.

You’ll hear more from me in the months ahead. As we continue to push the status quo, I want to thank you for believing in a world where no student should go hungry. 

Forever swiping,


Rachel Sumekh
Founder + CEO
 

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