avatar for David Beckmann

David Beckmann

Bread for the World

David Beckmann, first through his work at the World Bank and then as head of Bread for the World, has had a significant impact in shaping international development programs so that they truly reflect the needs of the poorest people in the world, and in mobilizing a grassroots effort for more focused policies and increased appropriations for hunger alleviation by the U.S. government and its partners.

Since 1991, as the second president of Bread for the World-described as "a collective Christian voice urging decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad"-Beckmann has marshaled a quarter of a million constituent contacts a year with elected officials through letters, email messages, and meetings. Bread's army of citizen advocates has engaged an ever-expanding network of concerned people urging support for legislation to change the policies, programs, and conditions that allow hunger and poverty to persist.

Beckmann's inspired leadership has resulted in a dramatic growth in Bread's grassroots, bipartisan participation. He has increased Bread's membership, found in all 435 congressional districts of the United States, from 44,500 to more than 72,500 in the past decade. In addition, through the more than 5,000 local church congregations and 50 national denominations that are counted as members of Bread, more than 1 million Christians have become actively engaged in its advocacy to end hunger.

The innovative and impassioned strategies Beckmann has implemented to rally public support for bringing about policy changes have resulted in important legislation focused on long-term solutions, including increased resources for agricultural science and technology as well as support for development in poor countries.

The impacts of the government policies and programs he has fought for have brought hundreds of millions of people out of hunger and poverty. Included among these:

  • Congress has tripled poverty-focused development assistance during the past decade, from $7.5 billion in FY2000 to $22 billion in FY2010;
  • U.S. aid to Africa has quadrupled, and funding for agriculture and rural infrastructure has increased eightfold;
  • Domestic nutrition programs and federal food assistance to needy families increased from $33 billion in FY2000 to $80 billion in FY2009; and
  • Reforms in the U.S. Farm Bill have provided greater opportunity for struggling families in rural America and rural areas of the developing world.

David Beckmann is one of the world's leading advocates for the poor and hungry.

While these positive strides have many causes, they would not have happened without Beckmann and Bread for the World leading millions of citizen advocates across the country to press for change, nor without Beckmann's personal commitment to founding and strengthening other organizations working in concert to improve the lives of the poor.

He founded the U.S Alliance to End Hunger in 2004, which has brought together diverse religious groups, charities, foundations, corporations, unions, and individuals to coalesce the public will to end hunger in the United States and worldwide. Beckmann has also helped to build and strengthen the political influence of many other humanitarian organizations, including: the Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa, the ONE CampaignInterActionWorld VisionFeeding America, the Global Foodbanking NetworkUniversities Fighting World HungerElanco,MAZON: The Jewish Response to Hunger, and the UN Millennium Hunger Task Force.

David Beckmann, a native of Nebraska, is a Lutheran pastor and an economist. He worked on poverty issues at the World Bank for 15 years before becoming president of the Washington D.C.-based Bread for the World in 1991. He has lived and worked in Ghana and Bangladesh and holds degrees from Yale, Christ Seminary, and the London School of Economics. He has authored many articles and books, including Transforming the Politics of Hunger and Grace at the Table: Ending Hunger in God's World. His latest bookExodus from Hunger: We Are Called to Change the Politics of Hunger, will be published in the fall of 2010. 



My Speakers Sessions

Wednesday, October 17

7:30pm CDT