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Social Capitalists

By Ryan Underwood

Share Our Strength

Washington, DC

Founded: 1984
Field: Poverty
Budget: $17.7 million

If you don't recognize the name Share Our Strength, you'll certainly remember its most successful campaign: Charge Against Hunger. During that program, which ended in 1996, you could hardly walk into a restaurant without seeing a little blue-and-white sticker by the entrance with a plate and a strand of wheat. You've also probably heard of the organization's latest blockbuster of a program, Taste of the Nation, an upscale food and wine-tasting event in 80 markets across North America.

  • Entrepreneurship: A-
  • Innovation: B
  • Social Impact: B+
  • Aspiration: B+
  • Sustainability: A-

All that high-profile campaigning supports a group that, over 20 years, has distributed more than $70 million to more than 1,000 hunger-fighting programs around the world. Bill Shore, a former staffer for Senators Gary Hart and Robert Kerrey who founded and still runs SOS, says that the organization is unique because it creates its own wealth. In other words, Shore has mastered the bake sale on an epic scale. Now, with partners ranging from Evian and Mercedes-Benz to Yahoo! (and American Express, which backed Charge Against Hunger), Shore says he doesn't have to compete with other nonprofits for a share of the philanthropy pie. Rather, his organization works to expand it.

"SOS has been a phenomenal partner," says Scott Feldman, vice president of industry relations and strategy for American Express, which has been working with SOS since 1991. "In addition to being a very worthy cause, Share Our Strength gave us a direct line to our partners in the restaurant industry."

Shore says SOS's money-raising events continue to grow every year at a rate of about 5%. Last year, the nonprofit distributed between $8 and $10 million. Shore hopes in the near-term to see that distribution figure grow closer to $40 million.

Bill Shore, Founder and executive director

Bill Shore is the author of The Cathedral Within, which offers a blueprint for nonprofits in the future. In 1997, Shore launched his first for-profit enterprise, Community Wealth Ventures Inc., and chaired the President's Summit for America's Future's private-sector task force. Shore, 48, was chief of staff for Senator Robert Kerrey and served on the senatorial and presidential campaigns for Senator Gary Hart. He holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and a JD from George Washington University. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including being named one of The Non Profit Times' "Power and Influence Top 50 Leaders" in 1999 and receiving Bon Appetit's 1999 Humanitarian of the Year award.

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