Mission & History
Mission Statement: Inspired by Jewish values and ideals, MAZON is a national advocacy organization working to end hunger among people of all faiths and backgrounds in the United States and Israel.
Who is MAZON?
For more than 30 years, MAZON has been committed to ensuring that vulnerable people have access to the resources they need to be able to put food on the table. MAZON is a leading voice in Washington D.C. on anti-hunger issues, especially those that involve populations or problems that have been previously overlooked or ignored.
Our nation's public policies have lasting effects on the lives of millions of people. By promoting change through advocacy, MAZON seeks to ensure that our elected officials and policymakers understand and consider the needs of the millions of American men, women and children who struggle with hunger.
What We Do:
- Work with Policy Makers to protect and strengthen federal nutrition programs like SNAP (food stamps) and school meals
- Confront emerging issues that might otherwise go unaddressed within the national anti-hunger community
- Educate communities across the country about the realities of hunger and what we can all do to end it
- Partner with like-minded organizations to promote long-term solutions to improve ongoing challenges
Key Priority Areas:
In addition to engaging in broad-based advocacy to protect and strengthen the vital federal nutrition programs that help people put food on the table each day, MAZON prioritizes its efforts in the following areas:
- Active duty military families & veterans
- Senior citizens
- Native Americans
- Rural & remote communities
- Nutrition & health
MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger was founded by Leonard "Leibel” Fein (z''l) and Irv Cramer in 1985. Their motivation to create this new organization was simple: to build a bridge between the relative abundance of the American Jewish community and the desperate need felt by millions of hungry people.
MAZON began building relationships with rabbis and synagogues across the country, encouraging them to donate a portion of the cost of life-cycle celebrations (weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, anniversaries, and other joyous occasions), a modern interpretation of the ancient rabbinical tradition of not allowing a celebration to begin until the community’s poor and hungry were seated and fed. American Jews responded to our call to action and, in so doing, validated the importance of a Jewish Response to Hunger.
In its initial years, MAZON’s programmatic work involved making annual grants to small organizations fighting hunger in communities across the country. As the organization grew and its leadership became more deeply engaged with the issue, it quickly understood that the only way we could truly end hunger was to change the circumstances that allowed hunger to persist. Thus MAZON’s focus on advocacy was born, and its influential advocacy work continues to this day.
Today, because of the extraordinary efforts of Irv Cramer, inspired by Leibel’s vision, MAZON is blessed to have an extended family of nearly 1,000 synagogues, tens of thousands of individual donors, and hundreds of current and former grantee partners, all of whom share our commitment to ending hunger, not just in the short-term, but once and for all.