A Message from the Chairman of the Board

Portrait of PHA Board Member Peter Dolan. When I stepped into my role as Board Chair for Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) in April 2020, we were in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Systemic health injustices and disparities, which predated the pandemic, but were now spotlighted for all to see, could no longer be ignored.

Vulnerable communities were dying of COVID-19 at disproportionate rates due to numerous factors including comorbidities strongly tied to diet-related diseases like hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease. It became abundantly clear that our food system has failed to provide sufficient access to healthy food options for lower socioeconomic groups.

As we emerge from the global pandemic this month and reflect on the many challenges of 2020, we hold steadfast to our mission of transforming the food landscape in pursuit of health equity. And our commitment to our partners, supporters, and friends, has never been stronger.

While the backdrop of COVID-19 made 2020 a challenging year for all nonprofits, including PHA, it also yielded the opportunity for us to show the nation that we are resilient and that our work transforming the food landscape is of critical importance.

With 1 in 3 nonprofits at risk of closing within the next two years due to the financial strain of the pandemic, we knew we needed to move quickly and adeptly to remain financially strong. By creating new programs like the COVID-19 Fresh Food Fund, we not only met the emergency food needs that arose from the pandemic, but secured new funding opportunities that set us up for a year of tremendous growth.

Through these new programs and partnerships, which tie directly to our work, we reached new audiences, grew our resources, and implemented strategies to remain relevant and grow our net assets. We have successfully strengthened many of our existing partnerships, identified new partners who share our passion, and built programs that led to organizational sustainability.

We leveraged the magnetism of Mrs. Obama and the enthusiastic support of public figures like NBA All-Star Chris Paul. We coordinated our activities with the First Lady and her staff, who created opportunities for us to gain visibility and credibility far beyond our size and resources. And we organized a national, first-of-its-kind Virtual Summit, bringing together sponsors, partners, and other supporters to energize our vision for making food equity a reality.

Thanks to a strong and tireless team who redoubled their commitment, we were able to confront the challenges of 2020 head on and remain strong.

At PHA, we are guided by the conviction that health equity cannot exist without food equity. Together, with our partners and community supporters, we are emerging stronger and making a meaningful difference for Americans most in need.

Peter Dolan
Chairman of the Board of Directors
Partnership for a Healthier America

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    To assess the progress of PHA partner commitments, we work with a team of external verifiers, including: Altarum, Hudson Institute, Leading Health, LLC, and Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.