SOURCE: School Nutrition Association

December 12, 2007 12:43 ET

Edward M. Cooney to Receive 2008 Gene White Lifetime Achievement Award for Child Nutrition

ALEXANDRIA, VA--(Marketwire - December 12, 2007) - The 2008 Gene White Lifetime Achievement Award for Child Nutrition will be awarded to a leader who has spent over thirty-five years combating hunger in the U.S. and internationally. Edward M. Cooney, Executive Director of the Congressional Hunger Center (CHC), will be honored as a champion of child nutrition at the 5th annual A Possible Dream Gala on March 4, 2008, at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, DC.

Mr. Cooney has spent his professional career dedicated to the cause of feeding hungry children. His work began as a legal services attorney in Connecticut in the early 1970s and progressed to state, national and now international programs. He has worked with nutrition and public assistance program participants, faith-based groups, local and state officials, and anti-hunger groups. His work through public and private sectors has set policy and promoted child nutrition programs worldwide. He has been an ardent supporter of child nutrition programs and has stood with the School Nutrition Association as they have lobbied relentlessly on behalf of these programs throughout the years.

Mr. Cooney has served as the chief lobbyist and political strategist for the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC). In this capacity, he worked on every major federal food assistance program bill from 1979 to 1996, including legislation which led to full funding of the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, increased participation by low-income children in the School Breakfast Program and improved access to and significant benefit increases in the Food Stamp Program.

As the Deputy Administrator for Special Nutrition Programs with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Mr. Cooney's primary responsibilities included the development of policy, legislation and regulations for all child nutrition programs, WIC, The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and other commodity assistance programs. As the chief architect of the 1998 Child Nutrition Program Reauthorization bill, he was able to create new entitlements for nutritious snacks for at-risk youth in after school programs and meal service for young children in homeless families.

As the Executive Director of the Congressional Hunger Center, a nonprofit anti-hunger training organization which exemplifies a bipartisan approach to ending hunger, Mr. Cooney oversees the Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellows Program which provides year-long leadership development for emerging leaders in the fight against hunger in the United States. He also oversees the Mickey Leland International Hunger Fellows Program which sends talented US citizens to the world's poorest countries to continue the fight against hunger.

Mr. Cooney will be the sixth recipient of the award, created to honor the woman for whom it was named -- Gene White, an extraordinary woman who dedicates her life to children and the benefits that good nutrition can provide them. Other recipients of this award include Senators Bob Dole and George McGovern, Dr. Josephine Martin and Catherine Bertini.

The A Possible Dream Gala will take place during SNA's Legislative Action Conference, which will be held from March 2-5, 2008. This year marks the 5th anniversary of this gala event which was designed to honor champions of childhood hunger and raise awareness and funds for the Global Child Nutrition Foundation's efforts to combat global child hunger through sustainable school feeding programs. During the gala, two other champions of child nutrition will be honored. Geri Dee, SNS, the 2007 National Outstanding Director of the Year, and Mimi Ford, the 2007 SNA Industry Member of the Year, will be recognized for their tremendous contributions to child nutrition.

The Global Child Nutrition Foundation ( is a nonprofit corporation whose mission and vision are to help the nations of the world nurture young bodies and advance young minds through the time-tested practice of school-based nutrition. The School Nutrition Association ( is a national, non-profit professional organization representing more than 55,000 members who provide high-quality, low-cost meals to students across the country.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Julie Curtis
    Global Child Nutrition Foundation
    (703) 739-3900, ext. 145