As many of you already know, Food Equality Initiative does a lot for food allergy advocacy. We regularly attend conferences and speak on behalf of those with severe food allergies and dietary restrictions. We lobby for bills to ensure proper food labelling and make government assistance programs like SNAP and WIC more accessible for people of all diets.
On top of all that work, this year Food Equality Initiative established the Seven Percent Coalition & Fund, perhaps our largest advocacy endeavor to date. This article is here to serve as a comprehensive explanation of the Fund and the reasoning behind the founding of the Coalition.
The Seven Percent Fund & Coalition was born June 19, 2020.
On March 18, 2020, the Journal Academic Pediatrics published a study stating that: “Black children [are] 7% more likely to have food allergies than white children.”
On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was murdered by police in Minneapolis, sparking protests across the country, unified under the motto: Black Lives Matter.
In the combination of these two elements, Emily Brown, founder and CEO of Food Equality Initiative, felt that she could not stay silent. She wrote an open letter to the food allergy community. This letter spurred the food allergy community into action to discuss the racial and economic disparities in healthcare and food allergy. This evolved into the webinar series For The Health: Conversations on Race & Food Allergies, hosted by FEI (which you can read more about in the Year-in-Review article). During the first conversation, Emily Brown introduced the Seven Percent Coalition & Fund.
The Seven Percent Fund is exactly what it sounds like. It is a sum of money dedicated to the activities of educating about racial and economic disparities in food allergies. This money comes from industry partners, corporations, and individual donors which can be made in a one-time or recurring donation. It is spent on providing educational services such as the For The Health webinars.
The Fund also goes toward the expansion of FEI’s box delivery service outside of the Kansas City metro. (The more people we are able to feed healthy food regularly, the smaller the gap becomes in underlying health issues.) Finally, the Fund is set up to support future research of food allergies in underrepresented populations, particularly communities of color and poor communities. We believe research should be inclusive and representative in order to best serve everyone’s needs.
The Seven Percent Coalition is a necessary supplement to the Fund. Money can help, but in order to cause real change, industry partners have to be on board and have to want to make a difference.
The Coalition aims to bring the corporations involved in food allergy, health care, food manufacturing, and research together to change the power dynamics within those institutions. Along with donating money to the Fund, these Founders donate time and brain power to solve problems to ensure a sustainable change is being made to help end the racial and economic disparities in healthcare and beyond. With FEI as a backbone, these industry partners are the ones paving the way into the future. They are our partners, ready to mobilize for food allergy advocacy.
The Coalition meets quarterly and will release a mission statement in early 2021.
The original organizations and brands founding the Seven Percent Fund & Coalition are: Partake Foods, O’My Dairy Free Gelato, The Natalie Giorgi Sunshine Foundation, The Center for Food Allergy and Asthma Research (CFAAR), Prevail Jerky, Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team (FAACT), Enjoy Life Foods, Chomps, Alerje, JOI, and Spokin Inc.
Our Bold Goal:
$70,000 in 7 Months with 70 Corporate Partners and 700 Individual Donors. We have made significant progress on this goal, but we still have a long way to go. If you or someone you know would like to make a donation you can do so here. For more info or to join as a corporate partner, visit foodequalityinitiative.org/seven-percent-fund/.