Birmingham, Alabama – 21 June 2017 – The Kirchner Food Fellowship is pleased to announce it has established a distinguished board of advisors for the internationally acclaimed program. Sponsored by the Kirchner Impact Foundation (KIF), a non-profit organization that serves as one of the “returning” arms of Kirchner Group a traditional merchant bank widely recognized as one of the leading boutique advisors to agtech companies. The advisory board will participate in gatherings, provide informal assistance with the program’s operations and direction, as well as continue to promote the program internationally.
The three inaugural members of the advisory board are:
Vicente Fox Quesada – Former President of Mexico and a well-known businessman. President Fox and his wife established Centro Fox in 2006 to foster leadership through a multi-faceted range of programs including education, business development and information management.
William Buckner – President and Chief Executive Officer of the Noble Research Institute, the largest independent agricultural research institution in the U.S. and previously Regional Head of North American Operations for Bayer CropScience.
Shaun Donovan – Former Federal Budget Director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget and previous Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Shaun was also the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development.
“As our domestic and international profile continues to grow we felt it was important to establish a world renowned advisory board that shares our belief and passion for the program,” stated Blair Kirchner, Director of the Kirchner Food Fellowship. “We are extremely flattered by the response to our Fellowship that was born on the back of our 30+ year corporate track record of collaborating with agtech and food companies and their investors.”
“This program is continuing its legacy as one of the cornerstones of the global Food Security movement,” stated June Henton, Dean of the College of Human Sciences at Auburn University and Executive Director, Hunger Solutions Institute. “The Kirchner Food Fellowship is an important component of the solution to what has been described as the greatest challenge of our time. I applaud Kirchner’s remarkable foresight and dedication to this initiative.”
The Kirchner Food Fellowship is proud to be an investor in innovative businesses such as Lucky Iron Fish, a safe, cost-effective, easy-to-use alternative to pills for those suffering from iron deficiency. Green Zebra Grocery, a socially responsible convenience store chain focused on healthy and local options for customers. Till Mobile, a software company using SMS to address supply chain management deficiencies between small producers and large retailers; and Kuli Kuli a consumer packaged goods company selling healthy food products made with moringa sourced primarily from small holder farmers in Africa and central America. Most recently, the program completed an investment in Tomato Jos a vertically-integrated tomato-paste processing company serving the local Nigerian market—the largest tomato paste importer in the world.
“Kirchner Group challenges thought processes to sharpen and validate decision-making for effective capital allocation. They help test ideas against a wealth of experience through their network and their extensive expertise in the agriculture and food sector,” added Gavin Armstrong, PhD Founder & CEO of Lucky Iron Fish and Emeritus Fellow. “Kirchner Group does not just invest in the venture, but they invest in the entrepreneur as well, which has a profound impact on the success of the companies they are involved with.”
Kirchner Food Fellowship
The Kirchner Food Fellowship, a Kirchner Impact Foundation initiative, is a unique, innovative, impact investment program that harnesses the power of millennials to find, fund and assist promising socially responsible agricultural businesses. The program provides capital and unprecedented hands-on training in capital allocation for university students. The program applies a problem-based learning and solutions approach with the goal to enhance capital efficiency, lessen deployment costs, shorten time frames and increase the likelihood of investment success. www.fundthefood.com
Kirchner Food Fellowship
Kirchner Group was founded in 1985 on two fundamental premises: every business can be improved and every business should improve the world. Today, the firm is a values-based corporate ecosystem, committed to the integration of “earning and returning”.
The firm provides advisory and operational services, enterprise development and transactional support to companies, investors and institutions through a proprietary approach that dovetails domain and process expertise. Kirchner Group also manages assets for family offices and some of the world’s largest insurance companies, commercial banks and institutional investors. www.kirchnergroup.com
Managing Director & Co-Head of Impact Activities