Ellen Parker - A Biographical Note

As executive director of Project Bread, Ellen Parker has raised more than 100 million dollars to feed hungry children and families in Massachusetts. At the same time, she has transformed Project Bread from a narrowly focused antihunger organization to a national model that presents a broad and comprehensive set of solutions for hunger relief and prevention.

Since 1996, she has reframed the thinking about hunger by focusing on public health and learning. She initiated a successful statewide campaign for universal breakfast for low-income elementary children; introduced the Chefs in Schools Initiative in Boston, Lawrence, and Salem, and created hunger screening programs in health centers across Massachusetts. Ellen Parker, Executive Director

In accomplishing this, she’s brought vibrant new partnerships to the table — engaging research institutions, legislators, hospital networks, corporate partners, the media, as well as school districts in her work.

Through her leadership, Ms. Parker has worked to establish new nutritional standards for school meals while also providing funding for 430 community food programs in 125 communities throughout Massachusetts. Under her direction, the importance of Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline has grown and counselors receive more than 49,000 calls each year from people who seek help finding enough food to eat. 

Before assuming the leadership of Project Bread, Ms. Parker was vice president of Programs at Crittenton Hastings House, Boston; regional director of Catholic Charities, Boston, and senior policy advisor for Human Services to the Mayor of Boston. She holds two master’s degrees from Boston University, including one in social work and one in business administration and public management.

Honors and Awards

2011 − Massachusetts Public Health Association’s Community Leadership Award

2009 − The Speaker Thomas P. O’Neill, Jr., Award for Exemplary Public Service

2008 − Shattuck City Champion Award

2007 − The Boston Celtics “Heroes among Us” Award

2003 − The Hubie Jones Award for Urban Service, issued by Boston University’s School of Social Work

2001 − The New England Women’s Leadership Award for Outstanding Leadership in Human Services

Ellen on NECN's "CEO Corner" — December 20, 2010


Ellen Parker and Tom O'Neill III

Tom O'Neill III presents The Speaker Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr., Award for Exemplary Public Service to Ellen Parker, 2009.

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