- April 19, 2021
For Immediate Release
Abigail Seiler, Communications Director
(202) 269-6857 (office); (443) 854-4368 (cell)
Philanthropist Brad Clark Donates $5 million to Food & Friends
Organization’s Largest Ever Gift Will Expand Reach of Meal Deliveries as Pandemic Exposes Failures in Healthcare and Food Access
WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 19, 2021)—On the heels of a global health pandemic, philanthropist Brad Clark has donated $5 million to Food & Friends—the region’s leading organization promoting nutrition and health through medically tailored meals. This is the first major public philanthropic gift from Brad Clark to an organization in the Washington Metropolitan Area. He is the founder and creative force behind the Maryland Lyric Opera, where he currently serves as Artistic Director. Mr. Clark is the son of Alice B. Clark and the late A. James Clark who was Chairman and CEO of Clark Construction and was a well-known philanthropist.
According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Mr. Clark’s gift is one of only three million-dollar-plus gifts donated to a food-focused social service organization in the Washington, D.C. region in the last year. Michael Bloomberg donated $6 million to World Central Kitchen and Angelina Jolie donated $1 million to No Kid Hungry.
“This is the largest gift in Food & Friends’ 33-year history and will impact tens of thousands of people in the coming years,” said Carrie Stoltzfus, Food & Friends’ executive director. “We believe in a community where everyone who is seriously ill has the nourishment they need to manage their illness. Brad’s investment will ensure our operations are reaching the most vulnerable in our community and will allow for significant program growth and expansion.”
Food & Friends will prepare and deliver 1.3 million medically tailored meals this year to more than 4,000 individuals living with a serious or chronic illness, including caregivers and dependents—a number that continues to rise each year. The specialized program delivers to clients throughout Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia area.
Responding to why he made this investment, Mr. Clark stated: “To be able to give to such a deserving organization in the city that I call my home fills me with pride and gratitude. There are so many people in the D.C. area who do not have the ability to feed themselves nutritious meals that could sustain them through an illness. Food & Friends is essential to keeping this community healthy and cared for and I cannot think of a more worthy goal in keeping our nation’s capital healthy.”
Added Stoltzfus, “Brad’s investment will help us explore property and program expansion, support several new staff positions and, using $500,000 of his gift, we will create the Samuel P. Bratton Endowment for Direct Service, named for his maternal grandfather. In recognition of this extraordinary commitment, our delivery program will now be named the Brad Clark Meal Delivery Program. His gift is one of community, compassion and dignity. We are humbled Brad chose to invest in our region by way of Food & Friends.”
Founded in 1988 during the AIDS epidemic, Food & Friends is the only community-based organization in the Washington, D.C. region that prepares nutritionally tailored, home-delivered meals to people living with a serious or chronic illness. They offer 11 different meal plans (renal, diabetic, heart healthy, etc.) designed by registered dietitians who also provide nutrition counseling and education.
While individuals with cancer, HIV/AIDS, and diabetes make up the majority of the organization’s clients, in 2019, Food & Friends expanded its illness eligibility to include congestive heart failure, renal disease, COPD, ALS (Lou Gherig’s disease), multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.
Client eligibility comes from being nutritionally at-risk and limited in one’s ability to access and prepare wholesome meals for themselves and their families. Referrals come from more than 100 regional health care partners, including all the major hospitals, Medicaid providers, clinics and social service organizations. Services are free, confidential and based only on medical need—with no income requirement, though most clients live below the poverty line.
An active member of the national Food Is Medicine Coalition, Food & Friends believes food heals. Numerous research studies conducted by coalition members found that medically tailored meal programs produce better health outcomes, reduce healthcare costs and lead to better health care behaviors.
About Food & Friends:
Established in 1988, Food & Friends is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. that provides nutritionally tailored, home-delivered meals to people facing a life-challenging health crisis. We believe that food heals and each year we prepare and deliver more than 1.3 million meals across 5,300 square miles to our neighbors – at no charge. We help our clients feel better, connect them to their community and empower them to manage their illnesses. Over 5,400 volunteers touch more than 4,000 lives annually. At Food & Friends, we are driven by a simple premise: anyone can get sick and everyone can help.