Keynote Speakers


Frank Wolf

Frank Wolf 2

Frank Wolf has been widely recognized as the "conscience" of the Congress. He left the House of Representatives in December 2013 at the end of his 17th term to focus exclusively on human rights and religious freedom.

Wolf authored legislation to create a National Hunger Commission to find ways to alleviate hunger in the United States.

In January 2015, Wolf was appointed the first-ever Wilson Chair in Religious Freedom at Baylor University and also joined the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative, a newly created religious freedom group, as Distinguished Senior Fellow.

He is the author of the International Religious Freedom Act, which infused religious freedom into U.S. foreign policy by creating the International Religious Freedom Office at the State Department headed by an Ambassador-at-Large. It also established the bipartisan, independent U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom as both a watchdog of repressive regimes and a truth-teller to our own State Department.

Wolf also founded and served as co-chairman of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, a bipartisan organization made up of nearly 200 Members of Congress who work together to raise awareness about international human rights issues.

Wolf has been honored by a number of organizations for his work on human rights and religious persecution, and received the Presidential Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights. He also received the 2014 Democracy Service Medal from the National Endowment for Democracy and the Leadership Award from Freedom House.

Wolf received his B.A. degree from Penn State University in 1961 and his law degree from Georgetown University in 1965. He lives in Vienna, Virginia, with his wife, Carolyn. They have five adult children and 16 grandchildren.

Tony Hall

Tony Hall

Three times nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, Ambassador Tony P. Hall is a leading advocate for hunger relief programs and improving human rights in the world. Ambassador Hall serves as Executive Director Emeritus of the Alliance to End Hunger. As such, Ambassador Hall acts as an emissary at meetings with leading policymakers and international officials, builds relationships with Alliance members, and speaks on issues of food security at conferences around the country. Ambassador Hall meets regularly with Members of Congress to encourage them to become more actively engaged on hunger issues - especially by taking leadership for a Hunger Free Community program in their own district or state. Ambassador Hall also leads the Alliance’s engagement with the global Alliance Against Hunger and Malnutrition through the National Alliance Partnership Program.

Ambassador Hall served as the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Agencies for Food and Agriculture in Rome, Italy, from 2002 to 2005. Prior to his diplomatic service, Ambassador Hall represented the Third District of Ohio (Dayton) in the U.S. Congress for twenty-four years, their longest serving representative in history. During his tenure, he authored legislation that supported food aid, child survival, basic education, primary health care, micro-enterprise, and development assistance in the world's poorest countries. A founding member of the Select Committee on Hunger, Hall served as its chairman from 1989 to 1993. In response to the abolishment of the Hunger Committee in April 1993, he fasted for 22 days to draw attention to the needs of hungry people in the United States and around the world. Ambassador Hall founded and chaired the Congressional Hunger Center, a non-governmental organization committed to ending hunger through training and educational programs for emerging leaders. Originally from Dayton, Ohio, Ambassador Hall and his wife Janet live in Arlington, Virginia, where they raised two children.

Mariana Chilton

Mariana Chilton

Mariana Chilton is an Associate Professor at Drexel University School of Public Health. She is the Director of the Center for Hunger-Free Communities and is Co-Principal investigator of Children's HealthWatch, a national research network that investigates the impact of public assistance programs on the health and wellbeing of young children and their caregivers. Dr. Chilton founded Witnesses to Hunger, a participatory action study to increase women’s participation in the national dialogue on hunger and poverty. She is Principal Investigator of the Building Wealth and Health Network, which is designed to incentivize entrepreneurship and self-sufficiency in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.

Dr. Chilton received her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania, Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from the University of Oklahoma, and Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University. She has testified before the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives on the importance of child nutrition programs and other anti-poverty policies. She has served as an advisor to Sesame Street and to the Institute of Medicine. Her awards include the "Nourish Award" from MANNA, the "Unsung Hero Award" for Improving the Lives of Women and Girls from Women’s Way and the Young Professional Award in Maternal and Child Health from the American Public Health Association. Her work has been featured in the Washington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, public radio and CBS National News.

Jeremy Everett

Jeremy Everett_Summit

Jeremy Everett is the founding Director of the Texas Hunger Initiative (THI) which is a capacity building project within Baylor University and a partner of the United States Department of Agriculture, Texas state agencies, and a number of other national and state based anti-hunger and poverty organizations that seeks to develop and implement strategies to alleviate hunger through research, policy analysis, education, and community organizing. THI organizes coalitions across the state to ensure access to healthy food for all Texans. Presently THI has coalitions representing 63% of the population of Texas with 12 regional offices and approximately 100 staff resourcing Texas communities which have resulted in millions of additional meals being served to Texas children since its beginning in 2009.

Prior to THI, Everett worked for international and community development organizations as a teacher, religious leader, community organizer, and organic farmer. Everett earned a bachelor’s degree from Samford University and a Master of Divinity from Baylor University. He is a Next Generation Fellow of the University of Texas LBJ School’s Strauss Center for International Security and Law.

Billy Shore

Billy Shore

Billy Shore has been a leader in the fight against hunger and poverty for more than thirty years. In 1984, as a young political operative in DC, he founded Share Our Strength with his sister Debbie and a $2,000 cash advance on a credit card. Since then, Share Our Strength has grown into a top not-for-profit enterprise, working to end childhood hunger in the U.S. through its No Kid Hungry campaign. Share Our Strength has raised and invested more than $528 million in the fight against hunger, and has won the support of national leaders in business, government, health and education, sports and entertainment. Together with these partners, Share Our Strength has made genuine, wide-scale social change in the quest to eradicate childhood hunger in America.

Shore is also the chairman of Community Wealth Partners, a Share Our Strength organization that helps change agents solve social problems at the magnitude they exist. He has authored multiple books on social change that underscore the power within us all to create a stronger, healthier world. In 2014, Shore was appointed by Congress to the National Commission on Hunger, a group tasked with finding innovative ways to end hunger in America.

Joseph Sharkey

Joseph Sharkey

Joseph R. Sharkey, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D. is a professor in the Department of Health Promotion and Community Health Sciences at Texas A&M School of Public Health in College Station, Texas; and founding director of the Program for Research and Outreach-Engagement on Nutrition and Health Disparities Solutions. He received his Masters of Public Health and Doctoral degrees from the Department of Nutrition at UNC-Chapel Hill School of Public Health. Dr. Sharkey led efforts to examine food insecurity - causes, consequences, and coping strategies - among children, adults and seniors in rural and underserved areas. His current work focuses on the growing Mexican American and Mexican immigrant population along the United States border with Mexico. Dr. Sharkey is currently the principal investigator on a USDA NIFA award to improve nutritional and physical health among children and families of Mexican heritage who reside in underserved areas along the Arizona, New Mexico and Texas borders with Mexico. In addition to this work, Dr. Sharkey is involved in community collaborations to improve population health. His work has been supported by the AARP Foundation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, National Institutes of Health and USDA. He has published more than 120 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters.

Craig Gundersen


Craig Gundersen is the Soybean Industry Endowed Professor in Agricultural Strategy in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois and executive director of the National Soybean Research Laboratory. He is also a member of the technical advisory group of Feeding America, the lead researcher on the Map the Meal Gap project and a non-resident senior fellow at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Previously, he was at the Economic Research Service of the USDA and at Iowa State University. Gundersen's research is primarily focused on the causes and consequences of food insecurity and on evaluations of food assistance programs. He has published in top journals across several fields including economics, agricultural economics, statistics, nutrition and medicine. His work has been supported by over $10 million in external funding from various government and non-government sources.

Tangela Fedrick

Tangela Fedrick

Tangela Fedrick is twenty-three and the mother of a 3-year-old daughter and a two-year-old son. Her mother battled a drug addiction throughout most of Fedrick’s childhood, and Fedrick was bounced around several different homes while her mother struggled to get clean. Unfortunately, shortly after Fedrick’s mother became clean and a positive influence in Fedrick’s life, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and passed away soon after. Despite all of this upset in her life, Fedrick was able to graduate high school and is now working full time at a day care center but is still struggling to pay her bills. Fedrick is a member of Witnesses to Hunger, a research and advocacy project partnering with the real experts on hunger--mothers and caregivers of young children who have experienced hunger and poverty. Through their photographs and stories, Witnesses advocate for their own families and others and seek to create lasting changes on a local, state and national level. In July 2015, Fedrick testified before the National Commission on Hunger in Washington, D.C.

Deborah Frank

Deborah Frank

Deborah Frank is the inaugural incumbent of a newly established Pediatric Professorship in Child Health and Well Being at Boston University School of Medicine. She began working at Boston City Hospital (now Boston Medical Center) in 1981. In 1984 she founded the Failure to Thrive Program, now called the Grow Clinic for Children, where she continues to treat malnourished young patients. In the 1980s, Dr. Frank and her staff also organized one of the first hospital based food pantries.

In 1998 with colleagues across the country she founded Children’s HealthWatch ( an ongoing multisite pediatric center to produce non-partisan, original, and policy-relevant research on health and development in the United States of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers in families facing economic hardships. Dr. Frank has published numerous peer reviewed scientific articles on many topics including food insecurity, and the "heat or eat" phenomenon. Dr. Frank has frequently given testimony to state and federal legislative committees on the growing problem of hunger and associated hardships in the U.S. and its effects on our youngest children during the sensitive period of brain development. In 2010 Dr. Frank received the Physician Advocacy Merit Award from the Institute on Medicine as a Profession at Columbia University. In 2014 she has received the Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps’ Embracing the Legacy Award, the AMA Dr. Debasish Mridha Spirit of Medicine Award, and Congressional Hunger Center's Bill Emerson and Mickey Leland Hunger Leadership Award.

Dr. Frank is a graduate of Radcliffe College and Harvard Medical School.

Audrey Rowe

Audrey Rowe 2

Audrey Rowe is the Administrator for the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Washington, D.C. FNS provides children and needy families with better access to food and a more healthful diet through its 15 nutrition assistance programs and nutrition education efforts.

She brings to the Federal government over 20 years of experience in human services policy development, fiscal management, program design, service delivery and marketing with a particular focus on vulnerable populations, low income women, children and youth.

Most recently, Rowe served as Deputy Administrator for Special Nutrition Programs at FNS, leading the effort to pass the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, the legislative centerpiece of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative to end childhood obesity in a generation.

Rowe has extensive experience working on issues related to FNS programs. Her leadership has included roles as Human Resources Administrator in New Haven, Connecticut, and Social Services Commissioner for the State of Connecticut and the District of Columbia. In addition, she served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for the National Urban League.

In private industry, Audrey served as Senior Vice President and Managing Director for the Children and Family Services division for Affiliated Computer Service (ACS), formerly Lockheed Martin IMS. In this capacity, she spearheaded industry leadership in the realms of child support payment processing and enforcement and the electronic dissemination of public assistance benefits, including implementing Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) programs in over 20 states. Additionally, Audrey was appointed Senior Vice President for Public Affairs where she managed the corporation's government relations, philanthropy, and community relation programs.

Audrey's publications include:

  • The Feminization of Poverty: An Issue for the 90's, Yale University Journal of Law and Feminism, Fall 1991
  • Editor, The State of Black America, 1991, "To Be Equal," National Urban League.

Audrey is a graduate of Federal City College and was a fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government Institute of Politics at Harvard University.