William E. Conway, Jr., co-founder and managing director of the Carlyle Group, has given $5 million to the Capital Area Food Bank to support construction of a new facility, the Washington Post reports.
The gift will be used to jump-start construction of a $37 million facility for the foodbank, doubling its capacity during a time of growing need. The Post reports that more than 641,000 Washington-area residents are now at risk of experiencing hunger or food insecurity. The primary resource for more than 700 food pantries and other nonprofit organizations in the region, the Capital Area Food Bank has distributed 30 million pounds of food so far this year, up from 27 million in 2009.
The 120,000-square-foot building will include more room for fresh produce and a kitchen where hot meals can be prepared. Construction is expected to begin early next month. Foodbank officials had hoped to complete construction of the facility by 2011, with support from the D.C. Office of Housing and Community Development and major private donors. But after the recession hit, donations fell and the project stalled.
"I wish I had done this before now," said Conway, who gives primarily through the Bedford Falls Foundation, a family foundation he created with his wife. "There is no reason in the capital city of the richest country in the world for anybody to be hungry."