Report: Donor Takes Big Gift Back

June 24, 2015       Patrick Sullivan      

A major donor to Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign has reportedly taken at least $50,000 of $70,000 in donations back from the group, citing lack of programmatic progress.

News outlets report that Genevieve Lynch, a socialite who used to lead the media division at a recruiting firm and owns a Manhattan café, was honored at a Share Our Strength dinner in April. Photographs and Tweets from the event show Lynch at a podium. She reportedly demanded her money back after the event.

A call to an event attendee was not returned. Share Our Strength declined to comment directly on the issue and neither confirmed nor denied that Lynch asked for the donation back.

“Share Our Strength is fortunate to work with a broad group of donors, corporations, partners and supporters around the country, who have joined our campaign because they know it’s making a difference in the lives of hungry children,” said Share Our Strength spokesperson Laura Hosny. “This is especially true in New York City where, starting this fall, all elementary school students will start their day with a healthy breakfast because our campaign and its supporters have been pushing for it tirelessly.”

According to published reports, Lynch contributed $50,000 to the campaign and convinced a friend to commit $20,000. It is unclear whether Lynch requested her donation only or both donations be returned.

Lynch reportedly cited lack of progress on the campaign. One element of the No Kid Hungry campaign was aimed at convincing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to expand access to breakfast at schools. De Blasio announced this week that the city would invest $17.9 million into bringing breakfast into classrooms at 530 city elementary schools by the fall of 2017.

“New York City students were big winners in last night’s budget deal,” said Josh Wachs, Chief Strategy Officer for Share Our Strength via a statement released after the budget deal was announced. “Less than a year ago, New York was last in the country among major American cities in school breakfast participation, holding kids back from reaching their full potential. Now, they are on their way to first.”