Ellen Parker, Executive Director


Ellen Parker has led the evolution of Project Bread from a traditional anti-hunger organization to a leading national model that responds to the individual crisis of food insecurity while investing in systemic changes to prevent hunger.

Parker was among the first, and strongest voices, to recognize hunger as a public health problem in low-income communities––and to call for leaders in behavioral economics and public health to initiate review and evaluation of the efficacy of food distribution as a dominant answer to this problem of economics and health.

For over a decade Parker has advocated for healthy food school food and community-based programming that reflects local need. 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.

During her tenure, she has raised more than 100 million dollars to help children and families struggling with hunger and food insecurity.

Before assuming the leadership of Project Bread, Ms Parker was vice president of Programs at Crittenton Hastings House, Boston; Metro-Boston director of Catholic Charities; and the senior policy advisor for Human Services to the Mayor of Boston. She began her career as an advocate for women and children and a community organizer. She holds two master’s degrees from Boston University: one in social work and one in business administration and public management. She has lectured at Boston University, MIT and Dartmouth. 

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 Parker, Executive Director