Feed the Children has unveiled a new logo, tagline and a program, all aimed at modernizing the 35-year-old organization and putting its recent troubled past behind it.
“I arrived at Feed the Children two years ago. Within months we began working on a new brand and re-envisioning Feed the Children,” said CEO Kevin Hagan. “One thing I knew is we had to evolve our thinking around the way we address hunger. We want to defeat the status quo of hunger. What that means is we want to challenge our peer groups to unite with us.”
The Oklahoma City, Okla.-based organization changed its vision and tagline from “Providing hope and resources for those without life’s essentials” to “No child goes to bed hungry.” The logo, said Hagan, is called “band together,” and shows brightly colored intertwined bands next to the organization’s name. The all-caps “FEED” is for emphasis, and the lower-case “i” in “Children” is meant to show that “in the midst of all of our work, the child is our focus,” said Hagan.
The new logo and tagline are parts of a holistic refocusing. “For far too long, organizations have been more concerned about logos and egos than about attacking the reasons for poverty,” said Hagan. “One thing I’ve made clear is that would not be us. I constantly challenge our organization to put our logo and ego to the side. We have to come together and band together.”
The rebranding is meant in part to move forward from after an ugly legal issue. Beginning with the 2009 ousting of founder Larry Jones, Feed the Children embarked on a legal battle with Jones that ultimately cost the organization an $800,000 settlement and millions in legal fees. “I was hired by the board to move forward. That has been my focus,” said Hagan. “I have exerted very little energy on the past and encouraged the staff to do the same. I did know that based on changes internally and programmatically, that we would need a new brand that fit into the vision of where we’re headed.”
The program Feed the Children announced is designed to leverage the organization’s international experience to effect change locally, starting in Feed the Children’s own backyard. “This is a dismal statistic, but Oklahoma is ranked 51st (out of 50 states plus Washington, D.C.) in the percentage of children with access to summer food,” said Hagan. “When this stat came to my attention, I was mortified. How can one of the biggest anti-hunger organizations be headquartered in a state ranked 51st?”
The Oklahoma Summer Food and Education Program, in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide meals for children to take home and a weekend food box for their families, while also adding an educational component.
“Middle-class and wealthier families’ children have educational opportunities over the summer,” with camps and other summer programs, said Hagan. “Lower income families don’t have those opportunities.” The program, which has already been rolled out, will provide a place for children to receive summer education, as well as backpacks, school supplies and books for summer reading.
That the program has an educational component is not an accident, said Hagan. “It’s deliberate,” he said. “We know that based on our history and on research, education can be a key driver to pulling people out of poverty. We knew that we had to do more than provide a meal today. We want to provide the opportunity for that child to have a meal tomorrow. We have to help them build the capacity to provide for themselves.”
The program, the logo and the tagline are all examples of Feed the Children’s forward thinking. Hagan said his greatest challenge since he took the helm in 2012 has been “re-envisioning the organization as a next generation charity that’s attractive to today’s donors, and envisioning a new Feed the Children moving forward,” he said. “The new Feed the Children is about uniting to defeat the status quo. We are going to look at addressing this issue of childhood hunger in America from all angles.”