Mary Ellen McNish Appointed President & CEO


It is with great pleasure that we announce that Mary Ellen McNish has been appointed President and CEO of The Hunger Project.

Mary Ellen joins THP after serving 10 years as General Secretary, the executive head, of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). AFSC is a Quaker organization founded in 1917 that includes people of various faiths who are committed to social justice, peace and humanitarian service. AFSC was a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947 for its work in post-World War II Germany on behalf of Quakers.

At AFSC, Mary Ellen led the day-to-day operations of the organization, which had a budget of $47 million, a staff of 500 and 67 offices in the U.S. and overseas. Among many other accomplishments, Mary Ellen led the organization in creating its first strategic plan, directed development efforts including a successful $30 million capital campaign and served as the principal spokesperson for the organization, speaking out on behalf of human rights, economic justice and conflict transformation. She represented AFSC at the Nobel Peace Laureates Annual Summit and other national and international coalitions, including serving on the board of InterAction, the umbrella organization of international relief and development organizations of which THP is also a member. Mary Ellen has led peace delegations to North Korea, Iran, China, Israel/Palestine, Brazil and seven African countries.

Mary Ellen has 35 years of progressive leadership experience in non-profit business settings, including as Executive Director of Development at Weill Medical College of Cornell University and New York Presbyterian Hospital, and Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood of Maryland. Earlier in her career, she worked as a teacher and parent educator, and managed children's and women's programs, including spouse abuse prevention, at the YWCA in Camden, NJ. She has a B.S. in Education from East Stroudsburg University and a M.S. in Business from Johns Hopkins University.

Mary Ellen has a deep connection with The Hunger Project's mission, vision and values, and our work resonated with her as unique and valuable, particularly in regards to our core values of fostering self-reliance, empowering women and building partnerships with local governments.

She said, "Changing people's lives from hopelessness to hopefulness, from poverty to abundance, from marginalization to full participation and from supplication to transformation is the bedrock foundation upon which The Hunger Project is built. I am grateful to have the opportunity to be part of this incredible effort."

Mary Ellen will formally begin on September 13, 2010.