Bread for the World president Rev. David Beckmann. Bread for the World photo

Rev. David Beckmann


Rev. David Beckmann has been president of Bread for the World and Bread for the World Institute since 1991, leading large-scale and successful campaigns to strengthen U.S. political commitment to overcome hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world.

Beckmann also founded and serves as president of the Alliance to End Hunger. A World Food Prize laureate, he appears regularly in the media and most recently authored Exodus from Hunger: We are Called to Change the Politics of Hunger.

Beckmann is a Lutheran minister and has a degree from the London School of Economics.

Full Biography

World Food Prize laureate David Beckmann is one of the foremost U.S. advocates for hungry and poor people. He has been president of Bread for the World since 1991, leading large-scale and successful campaigns to strengthen U.S. political commitment to overcome hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world. Bread for the World is a U.S. Christian advocacy movement to end hunger.

Beckmann is also president of Bread for the World Institute, which provides policy analysis on hunger and strategies to end it. He founded and serves as president of the Alliance to End Hunger, which engages diverse U.S. institutions—Muslim and Jewish groups, corporations, unions, and universities—in building the political will to end hunger.

Beckmann is a Lutheran pastor and an economist. He earned degrees from Yale University, Christ Seminary, and the London School of Economics. Seven universities have awarded him honorary doctorates. In 2010, he was named a World Food Prize laureate.

Beckmann has appeared on "Bill Moyer's Journal," PBS's "Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly," CNN Español, C-Span, NPR's "Morning Edition," and "The Diane Rehm Show." His latest book is Exodus from Hunger: We Are Called to Change the Politics of Hunger.

Currently Beckmann serves on USAID's Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid, the U.S. Trade Representative's Advisory Committee on Africa, and the Executive Committee of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network. He has served as a board member of InterAction, the Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa, the ONE Campaign, and the National Anti-Hunger Organizations. Beckmann is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Prior to joining Bread, Beckmann worked at the World Bank for 15 years, overseeing large development projects and driving innovations to make the bank more effective in reducing poverty.

Beckmann has lived in Bangladesh and Ghana, overseen projects in Bolivia and Ecuador, and visited more than 70 countries. He speaks Spanish.

Contact David Beckmann

Awards and Honors

Bread for the World and Bread for the World Institute are honored to work with and among other organizations and groups committed to ending hunger.

World Food Prize

In 2010, David Beckmann received the World Food Prize. He was honored alongside Jo Luck, president of Heifer International, jointly recognized for landmark achievements in building two of the world's foremost grassroots organizations leading the charge to end hunger and poverty for millions of people around the world. World Food Prize video about David Beckmann »

Honorary Degrees

In addition to a Bachelor of the Arts from Yale University, a Master of Divinity from Christ Seminary, and a Master of Science from the London School of Economics, David Beckmann has received honorary degrees from:

  • Capital University, Doctor of Humanities, 1993
  • Berkeley School of Theology, Doctor of Divinity, 1996
  • Villanova University, Doctor of Humane Letters, 2000
  • Augustana College, Doctor of Humane Letters, 2005
  • Wartburg College, Doctor of Divinity, 2006
  • Sewanee, The University of the South, Doctor of Civil Law, 2010
  • Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, Doctor of Divinity, 2012

InterAction Julia Vadala Taft Outstanding Leadership Award

InterAction honored David Beckmann in 2016 with this award that honors outstanding and distinguished leaders in the community of U.S.-based international nongovernmental organizations. Beckmann was cited "for outstanding leadership and commitment to the voice of the U.S. NGO community, the alleviation of human suffering, the promotion of human rights, and the cause of peace." Watch David Beckmann's acceptance speech »

Community of Christ

In 2014, the Community of Christ awarded David Beckmann its International Peace Award, established in 1993 to recognize peacemakers throughout the world. Watch David Beckmann's acceptance speech »

Rumi Forum Peace and Dialogue Awards

Rumi Forum honored David Beckmann in 2014 with its Extraordinary Commitment of Service to the Community. Read David Beckmann's acceptance speech »

National Latino Evangelical Coalition

In 2015, the National Latino Evangelical Coalition awarded David Beckmann its Anti-Poverty Champion Award for his leadership in advocacy efforts to end hunger in the United States and around the world. Bread for the World's press release »

Center for Public Justice Leadership Award

The Center for Public Justice annually recognizes a public servant in pursuit of justice.

Catholic Charities Centennial Medal

Catholic Charities USA awarded Bread for the World its Centennial Medal in recognition of our service to people in need. Rev. Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities, presented the medal to David Beckmann: "In our centennial, it is a privilege and honor for Catholic Charities USA to pay tribute to such essential organizations as Catholic Health Association and Bread for the World," he said. "Their willingness to stand with the poor and disenfranchised as we advocate for services and solutions that reflect dignity and respect for all people is truly inspirational. We are so fortunate to partner with people and work of this caliber."

Selected Appearances, Speeches, Interviews, and Articles

David Beckmann regularly appears on a variety of radio and news outlets, magazines, and websites. You can also often find him at:

Congressional Testimony

David Beckmann has testified before Congress more than 20 times. He has most often appeared before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives Committees on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, and the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittees on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs.

He has also testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, the U.S. House Committee on International Relations, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Rules, and the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.

His testimonies to the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives can be found on their websites.

from our Resource Library

For Education

  • Election Resources

    One of the best times to raise the issues of hunger and poverty is during election campaigns. Engage candidates in your state/district on hunger and poverty using our elections resources.
  • U.S. Hunger and Poverty State Fact Sheets

    These fact sheets provide a snapshot of hunger and poverty in the United States and in each state plus Washington, D.C. 

  • Conflict and Fragility Are Hunger Issues

     Conflict is a main driver of the recent increase in hunger around the world and of forced migration. Hunger also contributes to conflict. 

For Faith

  • Unity Declaration on Racism and Poverty

    A diverse body of Christian leaders calls on the churches and Congress to focus on the integral connection.

    Dear Members of Congress,

    As the president and Congress are preparing their plans for this year, almost 100 church leaders—from all the families of U.S. Christianity—are...

  • In Times Like These … A Pan-African Christian Devotional for Public Policy Engagement

    This devotional guide invites deepened relationship with and among Pan-Af­rican people and elected leaders in the mission to end hunger and poverty.

  • Sermon by David Beckmann at Duke University Chapel

    Remarks delivered October 1, 2017 at Duke University Chapel in Chapel Hill in North Carolina.

    Thank you for inviting me to preach here at Duke University Chapel. And I especially want to thank the Bread for the World members who have come this morning.

    Bruce Puckett urged...

For Advocacy

  • Fact Sheet: Why We Need $200 Million for Global Nutrition Programs

    Bread for the World and its partners are asking Congress to provide $200 million for global nutrition in the fiscal year 2020 budget. 

  • Fact Sheet: Hunger by the Numbers

    In 2017, 11.8 percent of households in the U.S.—40 million people—were food-insecure, meaning that they were unsure at some point during the year about how they would provide for their next meal.

  • Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017

    Unnecessarily long prison sentences, combined with the lack of rehabilitative programs for people in prison, exacerbate hunger, poverty, and existing inequalities.

    Overly harsh mandatory minimum prison sentences have contributed to the rapid increase of our country’s prison population. The...


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