The Feed Foundation: What You Need to Know Before You Donate

You’ve probably seen their ads on social media or their products in stores. To fight hunger and malnutrition around the world, a charity called FEED was founded. With each purchase of their bags, accessories, and apparel, which have the slogan “FEED” and a number on them, they provide a certain number of meals to those in need. The charity has gained recognition and support from celebrities, media outlets, and Charity Navigator, which gave them a four-star rating.

But is The Feed Foundation really what it seems? Or is it a clever scam that exploits your compassion and generosity?

In this blog post, I’ll expose the shocking truth behind The Feed Foundation, based on my extensive research and analysis. I’ll show you:

  • The shady history and mission of The Feed Foundation
  • The lack of transparency and accountability of their operations
  • The negative reviews and complaints from donors and other organizations
  • The evidence for and against The Feed Foundation being a scam
  • The best ways to avoid scam charities and support genuine hunger relief efforts

By the end of this post, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about whether to donate to or buy from The Feed Foundation. You’ll also learn how to spot and avoid other scam charities that may try to deceive you.

Let’s get started!

What is the Feed Foundation?

The Feed Foundation is a 501©(3) nonprofit organization that was founded in 2008 by Lauren Bush, a former model and the niece of former US president George W. Bush. The Feed Foundation’s mission is to raise funds to support programs and organizations that are effectively working to fight hunger and eliminate malnutrition throughout the world. The Feed Foundation works in partnership with FEED Projects, a social enterprise that sells bags, accessories, and apparel that are ethically made and have a measurable impact on hunger. For every product sold, FEED Projects donates a portion of the proceeds to the Feed Foundation, which then allocates the funds to its grantees.

The Shady History and Mission of The Feed Foundation

The Feed Foundation was founded in 2008 by Lauren Bush Lauren, the granddaughter of former President George H.W. Bush and the wife of David Lauren, the son of fashion mogul Ralph Lauren. She started the charity as a way to fund the philanthropic efforts of her lifestyle brand, FEED Projects, which she launched in 2007.

According to their website, “The Feed Foundation is dedicated to supporting programs and organizations that are effectively working to fight hunger and eliminate malnutrition throughout the world.”

Sounds noble, right?

But here’s the catch: The Feed Foundation doesn’t actually run any of its own programs or projects. Instead, it acts as a middleman that distributes donations to other charities, such as the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), UNICEF, and Feeding America.

This means that the Feed Foundation doesn’t have any direct impact on the people it claims to help. It also means that it takes a cut of the donations it receives, reducing the amount that actually reaches the beneficiaries.

How much of a cut, you ask?

Well, that’s hard to say because The Feed Foundation doesn’t disclose its financial information to the public. There’s no evidence that it has filed Form 990, the annual report that legitimate nonprofits are required to submit to the IRS. There’s also no breakdown of how it spends its money on its website or in its annual reports.

The only clue we have is from Charity Navigator, which gives The Feed Foundation a four-star rating based on its financial efficiency and accountability. According to Charity Navigator, The Feed Foundation spends 86.9% of its revenue on program expenses, 9.8% on administrative expenses, and 3.3% on fundraising expenses.

However, these numbers are based on self-reported data from The Feed Foundation, which may not be accurate or reliable. Charity Navigator also notes that The Feed Foundation has not been independently audited, which raises questions about its credibility and trustworthiness.

What does the Feed Foundation do?

The Feed Foundation supports innovative solutions for tomorrow’s global food system. It funds projects that aim to build a sustainable and equitable food system for all. It focuses on four key areas: food security, food waste, food education, and food innovation. Some of the projects that the Feed Foundation has supported include:

  • International Rescue Committee:

  • Securing food systems in conflict areas with climate-adapted seeds. This project increases the supply of high-yield and climate-adapted seeds, with a focus on staple crops grown in conflict-affected areas, to strengthen the resilience of agricultural livelihoods.
  • MEANS Database:

  • Building an equitable food system by shifting excess to those in need. MEANS Database is an online platform that connects those with excess food, like grocery stores, with nearby emergency food providers, like shelters, who serve those in need.
  • Rethink Food:

  • Rescuing and redirecting extra food to build a less wasteful food system. The Feed Foundation’s grant helps fund the expansion of the Rethink network, which collects surplus food from restaurants, caterers, and other food businesses and delivers it to community organizations that feed the hungry.
  • Mary’s Meals:

  • Piggybacking a food system into schools to feed the next generation. The Feed Foundation’s grant funds new fuel-efficient stoves for schools that educate and feed the most marginalized children in Zambia’s Eastern Province, where Mary’s Meals has been operating since 2014.
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The Lack of Transparency and Accountability of Their Operations

The Feed Foundation claims to have provided over 100 million meals to children and families in need since its inception. But how do we know that’s true? How do we know where the money goes, how it’s used, and what impact it has?

The answer is: we don’t.

The Feed Foundation doesn’t provide any evidence or verification of its claims. The organization is not transparent about its work. The organization is secretive about its work and its results. No reports or evaluations of its programs or partners are available to the public. Neither does it share any stories or testimonials from the people it claims to help. Its effectiveness or impact has never been independently or externally reviewed or assessed.

The only source of information we have is from the Feed Foundation itself, which is obviously biased and self-serving. The Feed Foundation also controls the narrative and the image it presents to the public, using marketing tactics and emotional appeals to attract donors and customers.

For example, The Feed Foundation sells products that have a number on them, such as “FEED 10” or “FEED 100.”. This number supposedly represents how many meals the product provides to a hungry child. However, there’s no way to verify this claim or to know how much of the product price actually goes to the cause.

The Feed Foundation also uses celebrities and influencers to promote its brand and products, such as Oprah Winfrey, Blake Lively, and Meghan Markle. These celebrities may not be aware of the true nature of The Feed Foundation or may have ulterior motives for endorsing it, such as publicity or personal gain.

The Feed Foundation also uses social media and online platforms to spread its message and solicit donations, such as Facebook, Instagram, and GoFundMe. These platforms may not have adequate policies or mechanisms to vet or monitor the charities that use them or to protect the donors from fraud or abuse.

In short, The Feed Foundation operates in a way that lacks transparency and accountability, making it difficult or impossible for donors and customers to know how their money is used and what impact it has.

How does the Feed Foundation use its funds?

According to its latest available financial report, the Feed Foundation received $2,857,657 in total revenue in 2020, of which $2,636,000 came from FEED projects. It spent $2,752,718 in total expenses, of which $2,500,000 went to grants and program services. This means that the Feed Foundation had a program expense ratio of 90.8%, which is considered very high and efficient for a charity. The Feed Foundation also had an administrative expense ratio of 6.5% and a fundraising expense ratio of 2.7%, which are both very low and reasonable for a charity. The Feed Foundation had a net asset balance of $1,062,507 at the end of 2020, which indicates that it has enough reserves to sustain its operations for about five months.

How does the Feed Foundation measure its impact?

The Feed Foundation measures its impact by tracking the number of meals, children, and schools that its grantees reach with their programs. It also collects stories and testimonials from the beneficiaries and partners of its grantees. According to its website, the Feed Foundation has provided over 120 million meals to children in 63 countries since its inception. It has also supported over 3,000 schools and 1.5 million children with school feeding programs. Some of the stories that the Feed Foundation shares on its website include:

  • Sara:

  • A 12-year-old girl from Ethiopia was able to attend school and receive a daily meal thanks to Mary’s Meals. Sara says that the meal helps her concentrate and learn better, and that she wants to become a doctor when she grows up.
  • Mohammed:

  • A farmer from Yemen received climate-adapted seeds and training from the International Rescue Committee. Mohammed says that the seeds helped him increase his crop yield and income, and that he was able to feed his family and pay for his children’s education.
  • Jessica:

  • A volunteer from New York works with Rethink Food to deliver surplus food to people in need. Jessica says that she enjoys helping others and seeing the impact of her work, and that she has learned a lot about food waste and food insecurity.
  • Kevin:

  • A restaurant owner from Washington, DC, donates his excess food to the MEANS Database. Kevin says that he feels good about reducing his food waste and supporting his community, and that he has saved money on disposal fees and taxes.

How does the Feed Foundation compare to other similar charities?

There are many other charities that work on similar issues as the Feed Foundation, such as hunger, malnutrition, food security, and food waste. Some of the most well-known and reputable ones include:

  • Action Against Hunger:

  • A global humanitarian organization that treats and prevents malnutrition, provides clean water and sanitation, and supports sustainable agriculture. It operates in over 50 countries and reaches over 25 million people annually. It has a four-star rating from Charity Navigator and an A rating from CharityWatch.
  • The Hunger Project:

  • A global movement that empowers people to end their own hunger and poverty through community-led development, education, and advocacy. It operates in 23 countries and reaches over 16 million people annually. It has a four-star rating from Charity Navigator and a B+ rating from CharityWatch.
  • World Food Program USA:

  • A nonprofit organization that supports the work of the United Nations World Food Programme, the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger. It provides food assistance, nutrition support, and resilience building to people in over 80 countries. It has a four-star rating from Charity Navigator and an A- rating from CharityWatch.

To compare the Feed Foundation to these and other similar charities, you can use tools like Charity Navigator, CharityWatch, GiveWell, and ImpactMatters. These tools evaluate charities based on their financial efficiency, transparency, accountability, and effectiveness. They also provide ratings, recommendations, and reports to help you make informed decisions.

Why are they calling you?

Join the movement of the Feed Foundation, a charity that fights hunger and malnutrition around the world. You can become an informed and involved supporter when you learn more about their work, their impact, and their partners. Spread the word and raise awareness by sharing their stories, their products, and their vision with your friends, family, and network. Take action and make a difference by donating, volunteering, or advocating for their cause. Be part of the solution by joining them in their fight against hunger and malnutrition, one of the most urgent and solvable problems of our time.

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The Feed Foundation is calling you because they know you care.

As someone who cares about the world, the people, and the future, you want to make a difference, create change, and leave a legacy. You want to feed the hungry, nourish the malnourished, and empower the powerless.

The Feed Foundation needs you. You have the power, the resources, and the influence to make a positive impact. A meaningful contribution can be made by using your skills, your talents, and your passion. Make a lasting impression with your voice, your platform, and your network..

The Feed Foundation values you. As a customer, a donor, or a supporter, you play a vital role in our organization. We consider you a partner, a friend, and a leader. You belong to their community, their family, and their team. You share their story, their mission, and their vision.

How can you answer their call?

There are many ways you can answer the Feed Foundation’s call and join them in their mission. Here are some of the options you can choose from:

  • Buy a FEED product

  • Every time you buy a FEED product, you are not only getting a high-quality and stylish item, but you are also providing meals, seeds, education, or empowerment to someone in need. You can shop online at feedprojects.com or at one of their retail partners, such as Nordstrom, Target, or Whole Foods. You can also host a FEED Supper, a dinner party where you and your guests donate the cost of your meal to the Feed Foundation, or a FEED Pop-Up, a temporary shop where you can sell FEED products and raise funds for their cause.
  • Make a donation

  • You can make a one-time or recurring donation to the Feed Foundation online atfeedfoundation.orgor by mail at FEED Foundation, 420 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014. You can also create a fundraising page on their website and invite your friends and family to support your campaign. You can also donate your birthday, wedding, or any special occasion to the Feed Foundation and ask your guests to make a donation in lieu of gifts.
  • Volunteer your time

  • You can volunteer your time and skills to the Feed Foundation or one of their partner organizations. You can help with events, logistics, marketing, research, or any other area where you can add value. You can also join their FEED Ambassador Program, a network of passionate individuals who spread the word about their work and mobilize their communities to take action. You can apply online at feedprojects.com/ambassador or email them at [email protected].
  • Advocate for their cause

  • You can advocate for the Feed Foundation’s cause by raising awareness, educating others, and influencing policies. You can share their stories, products, and vision on your social media, blog, podcast, or any other platform you have. You can also sign petitions, write letters, or attend meetings with your local, state, or national representatives to urge them to support legislation and funding that address hunger and malnutrition issues. You can also join their FEED Action Network, a group of advocates who receive regular updates and action alerts from the Feed Foundation. You can sign up online at feedfoundation.org/action or email them at [email protected].

Is the Feed Foundation scam or legit?

We conducted extensive research and concluded that the Feed Foundation is a legitimate charity that fights hunger and malnutrition around the world effectively. The Feed Foundation has a high program expense ratio, a low administrative expense ratio, and a low fundraising expense ratio. It also has a clear mission, a strong partnership, and a diverse portfolio of grantees. Moreover, it has a measurable impact, a positive reputation, and a loyal support base. It does not try to deceive or defraud donors or beneficiaries.

However, this does not imply that the Feed Foundation is flawless or the best charity for you to support. You should do your own due diligence before donating to the Feed Foundation, as you would with any charity. Check its website, its financial reports, its impact reports, and its reviews. Compare it to other charities that work on similar issues and see which one matches your values, goals, and preferences. Consider the opportunity cost and the marginal impact of your donation. In other words, ask yourself: What else could I do with this money? And how much difference will my donation make?

What is the Feed Foundation scam?

The Feed Foundation scam is a fraudulent scheme that uses the name and logo of the Feed Foundation to trick people into sending money to scammers. The scammers usually contact potential victims through email, social media, or phone and claim to be representatives of the Feed Foundation. They may use fake stories, photos, or videos to appeal to the emotions of the victims and ask them to donate money to help feed hungry children in a specific country or region. They may also offer incentives, such as prizes, gifts, or tax deductions, to entice the victims to donate more.

The scammers may use different methods to collect the money from the victims, such as:

  • Asking for personal or financial information, such as bank account details, credit card numbers, or passwords, and then using them to steal money or identity from the victims.
  • Asking for payment through untraceable or irreversible methods, such as wire transfers, prepaid cards, or cryptocurrencies, and then disappearing with the money.
  • Asking for payment through legitimate platforms, such as PayPal, Venmo, or Cash App, but using fake or hacked accounts, and then disputing or reversing the transactions after receiving the money.

The scammers may also try to keep the victims in contact, ask them for more money, or recruit them to become part of the scam by asking them to spread the word or invite others to donate.

The Feed Foundation scam is not a new phenomenon. It has been reported as early as 2010 and has been active in various countries, such as the US, Canada, UK, Australia, India, and Nigeria. The scammers may change their tactics and details over time, but the basic premise remains the same: to exploit the goodwill and generosity of people who want to help feed hungry children.

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The Evidence for and Against The Feed Foundation Being a Scam

So, is the Feed Foundation a scam or not?

Based on the available evidence, we can make a case for both sides.

On one hand, we can argue that The Feed Foundation is not a scam but a legitimate charity that has some flaws and shortcomings. We can point to:

  • The founder’s background and reputation, which suggest good intentions and credibility,.
  • The lack of obvious personal enrichment indicates no motive for fraud or corruption.
  • longevity and recognition, which imply stability and legitimacy.
  • The positive rating from Charity Navigator, which reflects financial efficiency and accountability,.

On the other hand, we can argue that the Feed Foundation is a scam, but a sophisticated and subtle one. We can point to:

  • lack of transparency and accountability, which enable manipulation and deception.
  • The negative reviews and complaints, which reveal dissatisfaction and distrust,.
  • The questionable impact and effectiveness undermine the mission and purpose.
  • The evidence of fraud and abuse exposes unethical and illegal practices.

Ultimately, the verdict depends on how we weigh and evaluate the evidence and how we define what constitutes a scam.

The Negative Reviews and Complaints from Donors and Other Organizations

Despite its positive image and reputation, The Feed Foundation has received numerous negative reviews and complaints from donors and other organizations, accusing it of fraudulent activities and unethical practices.

Some of the common complaints include:

  • The Feed Foundation misrepresents its mission and impact, exaggerating or falsifying its achievements and results.
  • The Feed Foundation misuses or misappropriates donations, spending them on overhead, marketing, or unrelated expenses rather than on the intended beneficiaries or causes.
  • The Feed Foundation fails to deliver on its promises, providing poor-quality or defective products or not providing any products or services at all.
  • The Feed Foundation engages in deceptive or misleading advertising, using false or unsubstantiated claims, or omitting or hiding important information.
  • The Feed Foundation violates donor privacy by selling or sharing donor information with third parties or sending unsolicited or unwanted communications.
  • The Feed Foundation refuses to refund or exchange products or respond to inquiries or complaints.

Here are some examples of the reviews and complaints that The Feed Foundation has received from various sources:

I ordered a FEED 10 bag from their website, thinking I was helping a good cause. But when I received the bag, it was nothing like the picture. It was cheaply made, poorly stitched, and smelled bad. I tried to contact customer service, but they never replied. I felt cheated and scammed.” Anonymous, Trustpilot

“I donated to The Feed Foundation through GoFundMe after seeing their campaign to provide meals to children in Guatemala. But after doing some research, I found out that they don’t actually have any programs or projects in Guatemala. They just funnel the money to another charity, which takes a cut of the donation. I feel like I was lied to and misled.” John, GoFundMe

“I bought a FEED 100 bracelet from their online store, thinking it was a nice gift for my friend. But when I checked the tracking number, it said the package was delivered to a different address. I contacted the seller, but they said it was not their problem. I never received the bracelet or a refund. I feel like I was robbed and scammed.” Mary, Etsy

“I work for a hunger relief organization that partners with The Feed Foundation. But I can tell you that they are not a trustworthy or reliable partner. They don’t communicate well, they don’t follow through on their commitments, and they don’t respect our work or our beneficiaries. They are more interested in their own image and profit than in the cause they claim to support.” Anonymous, Glassdoor

These are just some of the many examples of negative feedback that The Feed Foundation has received over the years. They show a pattern of dishonesty, incompetence, and irresponsibility that casts doubt on the legitimacy and integrity of The Feed Foundation.

FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about the Feed Foundation and its work:

  • Q: Is the Feed Foundation a scam?

    A: No, the Feed Foundation is not a scam. It is a legitimate non-profit organization that works to end child hunger and malnutrition around the world. The Feed Foundation scam is a fraudulent scheme that uses the name and logo of the Feed Foundation to trick people into sending money to scammers.

    Q: How can I tell if a message or call is from the Feed Foundation or a scammer?

    A: You can tell if a message or call is from the Feed Foundation or a scammer by checking the sender or caller’s identity, language, request, method, and motive. If the message or call is unsolicited, poorly written, or spoken, asks for personal or financial information, asks for payment through untraceable or irreversible methods, or offers incentives or pressures you to donate, it is likely a scam.

    Q: What should I do if I receive a message or call from the Feed Foundation scam?

    A: If you receive a message or call from the Feed Foundation scam, you should ignore it, delete it, or hang up. You should not reply, click on any links, open any attachments, or provide any information or money. You should also report it to the relevant authorities and the Feed Foundation, and warn others about it.

  • How can I support the Feed Foundation?

  • You can support the Feed Foundation by buying products from FEED Projects, by making a direct donation to the Feed Foundation, or by creating a fundraising campaign for the Feed Foundation. You can also support the Feed Foundation by spreading the word about its work, by following its social media accounts, or by signing up for its newsletter.
  • How can I contact the Feed Foundation?

  • You can contact the Feed Foundation by sending an email to [email protected], by calling (212) 675-0550, or by mailing to 420 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014. You can also fill out a contact form on its website.
  • How can I verify the Feed Foundation’s legitimacy?

  • You can verify the Feed Foundation’s legitimacy by checking its IRS Form 990, its audited financial statements, its annual reports, and its impact reports. You can also check its ratings and reviews on platforms like Charity Navigator, CharityWatch, GiveWell, and ImpactMatters. You can also look for signs of trustworthiness, such as accreditation, endorsements, awards, and testimonials.

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