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Building Support for WIC: Opportunities for Philanthropic Advocacy

October 10, 2023 @ 11:00 am 12:00 pm PDT

Co-hosted by SAFSF and Grantmakers in Health (GIH)

Research shows that participation in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) contributes to healthier births, more nutritious diets, improved infant feeding practices, better health care for children, and higher academic achievement for students. However, only about half of eligible low-income people currently access the program, and an even smaller share of eligible pregnant people and children aged 1 through 4 utilize the benefit. 

This session will bring together experts from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the National WIC Association, and 1,000 Days to explore why increasing WIC participation is vital to improving maternal and child health outcomes in the U.S. This panel will discuss the current opportunities and challenges facing WIC, including how we can best uplift the voices of WIC clients in the policy conversation, reduce barriers to services, improve the WIC user experience, and ensure the program is adequately funded. Funders will leave this session with a better understanding of strategies and opportunities to build support for WIC, the organizations doing the work on the ground, and the families that can benefit from this program.  

This is a free, funder-only event. Registration is required.


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Ty Jones Cox, Vice President for Food Assistance, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Ty Jones Cox is the Vice President for Food Assistance. Ty brings over 15 years of experience working for individuals in need, starting as a legal aid attorney in Virginia before joining the Center in 2010 as a Senior Policy Analyst on the Food Assistance Team. While at the Center, Ty worked with state and federal officials, as well as state advocates, to strengthen SNAP delivery and connections to other economic security programs such as health care and child nutrition.

Ty went on to become the Director of Policy at Benefits Data Trust where she led a team focused on using data and policy to increase and streamline benefits access. She spent time at AARP Foundation as a Senior Advisor on Food Assistance prior to launching a business where she provided consultancy and guidance to state human services agencies and nonprofit organizations around eligibility and enrollment policy for safety net programs, specifically SNAP, Medicaid, and WIC. She also provided strategic guidance to health care entities seeking to implement food security and social determinants of health screenings in clinical settings.

Ty earned her B.A. in American Politics and African American Studies from the University of Virginia and her J.D. from Howard University School of Law.

Zoë Neuberger, Senior Policy Analyst, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Neuberger, a Senior Policy Analyst, joined the Center in May 2001. She works on nutrition assistance programs. Neuberger provides analytic and technical assistance on child nutrition programs such as WIC and school lunches to policymakers and state-level non-profit groups.

Previously she worked as an analyst at the White House Office of Management and Budget, where she was responsible for oversight of over $30 billion in federal spending on TANF, child care, child nutrition, WIC, and low-income tax credits.

She holds a law degree from Yale University and a Master in Public Policy degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Solianna Meaza, Interim Initiative Director, 1,000 Days

Solianna is the Interim Initiative Director at 1,000 Days. At 1,000 Days, she leads the domestic and global nutrition policy and advocacy agenda.

Prior to joining 1,000 Days, Solianna was a Senior Consultant at Guidehouse, formerly known as PwC Public Sector. At Guidehouse, she led a team supporting the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) that focused on financial data aggregation, analysis, and visualization to provide data-driven recommendations to improve the PEPFAR portfolio.

Throughout her career, Solianna held progressive leadership roles at international development organizations including the Eleanor Crook Foundation, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and worked at the US House of Representatives. At USAID, she served as a political appointee in the Office of the Administrator under the Obama Administration.

Solianna received her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from North Carolina State University. She lives in Washington D.C. with her husband and rescue dog, Evie.

Georgia Machell, PhD, Interim President and Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer, National WIC Association

Georgia is responsible for directing program operations for NWA. This involves managing the NWA staff and working closely with senior management to ensure the Association develops projects, programming, and products that support the mission and vision of NWA. In addition, Georgia develops WIC research priorities and leads efforts to connect NWA members with new research findings and provides guidance on planning, conducting, and communicating WIC research.


Monica Beltran, Program Officer, W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Monica Beltran is a program officer for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Michigan. In this role, she supports the foundation’s systems change efforts to promote thriving children, working families and equitable communities.

She focuses on systems impact and health equity. She brings maternal and child health expertise, professional experience working directly with public health agencies to address inequities in birth outcomes, experience in philanthropy and a passion for social justice.

Areas of Impact:

Health  |   Human/Public Health  |   Hunger  |   Nutrition

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