In a ceremony before more than 500 community leaders, CEOs, top chefs, and restaurateurs, elected officials and anti-hunger organizers at Share Our Strength’s Conference of Leaders, 17 individuals, organizations, and business leaders were honored for their exceptional commitment to ending childhood hunger in America. These seven award-winners represent the hospitality industry at its finest:
RJ Melman, Partner, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Chicago:
2011 Share Our Strength’s Chef/Restaurateur of the Year
After two years as co-chair, Melman served as the 2011 chair of Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation Chicago, doubling the event’s revenue from the previous year. Melman, a partner in Lettuce Entertain You, leveraged his resources as a restaurateur to bring in tens of thousands of dollars in new sponsorships and donations to Share Our Strength’s cause.
He also attracted top chef, vendor, and celebrity talent to the all-volunteer committees, built goodwill for the organization among a very influential young donor community in Chicago, and actively supported fundraising operations for the roll-out of Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Illinois campaign.
Stephen J. Brady, President, Sodexho Foundation, and Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, Sodexo, Gaithersburg, Maryland:
2011 Tyson Power of the Spirit Award
Brady, who passed away March 5, 2011, was a tireless advocate in the fight to end childhood hunger. He served on countless task forces and committees with Share Our Strength and was among the first people to invest in Share Our Strength’s strategy to end childhood hunger in America. He brought his commitment to life through the implementation and support of Sodexo’s programs Feeding Our Future, Heroes of Everyday Life, Sodexo Servathon, and the STOP Hunger Scholarships, now named after Brady. Under his leadership, the Sodexo Foundation distributed grants totaling $15 million to hunger-related causes across the U.S. since 1999.
His wife Pascale accepted the award, saying, “This is a fitting tribute to Steve’s ceaseless efforts to fight child hunger in America. Steve was not only committed to Share Our Strength’s mission but also impressed with the organization’s leadership and vision. It both pained and aggravated him to know that children in our prosperous nation could go to bed hungry.”
Share Our Strength created this award with Tyson to honor Sue Brockaway, a Tyson employee who has always shared her strength, commitment, and indomitable spirit to help end childhood hunger.