On December 6, Stronger Foundations for Nutrition, a new coalition of private donors, announced bold new commitments of over $1 billion to fight malnutrition at an official Nutrition for Growth Summit side event, “Financing the Nutrition Agenda: New Commitments, New Partnerships.” The Eleanor Crook Foundation is a founding member of the coalition, which first formed on the margins of the 2017 Global Nutrition Summit in Milan. During the 2021 N4G side event, ECF announced a recommitment of $50 million towards ending severe childhood malnutrition.
“Beyond the dollars themselves, the diversity of this donor community offers a powerful and inspiring signal that there is real innovation happening in how funds are raised and disbursed, and that if we want to truly end malnutrition we have to start dreaming bigger,” said Executive Director of Stronger Foundations for Nutrition, Matt Freeman.
Stronger Foundations for Nutrition is now in rapid scale-up mode and brings together diverse philanthropic and corporate donors to make catalytic new investments to improve nutrition outcomes around the world. The group aims to work across health and food systems in four continents over the next several years.
Despite malnutrition being the number one killer of children globally, it often remains an afterthought in global health and development. To date, global malnutrition receives less than 1% of all official development assistance. Stronger Foundations for Nutrition aims to elevate malnutrition as one of the world’s greatest and most critical challenges.
“Nutrition is not just about system strengthening and capacity building – it’s about delivering real, lifesaving services to people who need them,” said ECF CEO William Moore, “For decades, we’ve known how to prevent and treat deadly malnutrition in a cost-effective way: prenatal vitamins for pregnant women, support for breastfeeding mothers, vitamin A supplementation for young children, and treatment with therapeutic food to stop severely malnourished kids from dying. We need to deploy these tools and scale these interventions to save lives. It’s time to focus our efforts and get to work.”
ECF will devote at least $50 million over the next several years to bring these interventions – collectively known as the “Power 4” – to scale across nine high-burden countries. Building off an initial announcement at the Milan summit in 2017, ECF will continue to combat severe malnutrition through its robust research, policy, and advocacy portfolio that include working with the World Health Organization and UNICEF to scale up proven interventions. ECF will also continue to build on a coalition-led, bipartisan proposal called Nourish the Future that aims to strengthen the links between health and food systems to combat malnutrition and save and improve millions of lives.
LifePack, developed by ECF, will also partner with KRAFTON (PUBG: BATTLEGROUNDS) and other gaming companies to reach more than 1 million children with therapeutic foods in 2022. This initiative will be funded by donations mobilized through the LifePack video gaming campaign.
2021 Nutrition for Growth Summit: Philanthropic Commitments
Along with ECF, founding members of Stronger Foundations for Nutrition include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, Tata Trusts, Rockefeller Foundation, Dangote Foundation, King Philanthropies, Family-Larsson Rosenquist Foundation, Chaudhary Foundation, Kirk Humanitarian, and Rotary International. Stronger Foundations for Nutrition works across health, food and social protection systems in pursuit of all nutrition outcomes and more virtuous and sustainable food systems.
Other commitments made at the event included:
- The Rockefeller Foundation announced that they will support the creation of new, more robust metrics for tracking diet quality which can help align stakeholders around a common vision of success. Additionally, soon to be announced investments aimed at leveraging the power of institutional food procurement systems will shift the consumption of 20 million people globally toward more sustainably produced, healthy diets.
- Givewell, an organization channeling large scale private giving to highly impactful and cost effective global health and development programs, has committed to disburse $28 million to community-based management of acute malnutrition, and seeks future opportunities to scale up evidence-backed nutrition interventions that are highly cost-effective at saving and improving lives.
- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation committed an initial $10 million (on top of their previously announced $922 million commitment) to join the UNICEF-managed Nutrition Commodity Fund to expand the fund’s product offering to include maternal nutrition products such as Multiple Micronutrient Supplements (MMS) to improve women’s health, improve birth outcomes and prevent acute malnutrition, match-funded by contributions from national governments.
- Rotary International committed $2.5 million from The Rotary Foundation as part of a holistic nutrition program in Ethiopia, alongside the END Fund, Eleanor Crook Foundation and the Power of Nutrition. Rotary International will seek future opportunities to leverage the network of more than 1.4 million Rotarians around the world to improve nutrition outcomes by joining the Steering Committee of Stronger Foundations for Nutrition.
- Rabobank committed to measure dietary diversity as a key indicator in all smallholder agroforestry carbon projects certified and sold on the Acorn carbon marketplace.
Additional philanthropic commitments from Stronger Foundations for Nutrition members made in the 2021 Nutrition for Growth Year of Action include:
- $922 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation over the next five years to advance the foundation’s systems approach – prioritizing efforts across food, health, and social protection systems to reach the most vulnerable. The pledge is the foundation’s largest nutrition commitment to date.
- $50 million from the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, investing alongside the UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office and UNICEF to form a Nutrition Commodity Fund to focus on the treatment, early detection and prevention of child wasting. This investment creates a new ecosystem for wasting financing, allowing countries to unlock matched funding with domestic allocations to procure and distribute highly impactful nutrition interventions to prevent and treat wasting.
This brings the total philanthropic commitments pledged in 2021 to over $1 billion.
Since the Nutrition for Growth Summit in 2013, these private philanthropies have pledged more than $3.4 billion to nutrition, joining governments, civil society organizations and the private sector to raise new resources toward ending malnutrition. The community of philanthropic funders for nutrition has grown from just two at the 2013 Nutrition for Growth Summit to more than a dozen funders today.
Image 1 – © UNICEF/UN0509184/Abdul