Remembering the life and impact of Valerie Harper, a long-time activist and investor in The Hunger Project.
It is with a heavy heart that we report the loss of a dear friend, Valerie Harper — activist and actor. Valerie was deeply committed to the empowerment of people both on and off screen and we were honored to count her among the first enrolled in the work of The Hunger Project in 1977.
As an investor in our work to empower women and men for the end of hunger, she was front and center when The Hunger Project launched its Washington strategy, she traveled to Africa with founding Hunger Project President Joan Holmes and was at the first ever meeting to create the women’s initiative within the work of our organization.
Valerie believed that the key to enacting change was a bold commitment to optimism, action and humility. “I believe I make a difference. I think we all do. I’m no special person,” she said.
She brought that same commitment and powerful voice to the work of The Hunger Project over the years, embodying the mission to end hunger and poverty in so many ways. In 2007, Valerie told AARP Magazine, “The real issue holding hunger in place is the subjugation, marginalization, and disempowerment of women. Wherever you have abject hunger, you will see low status of women. But when there are resources in the hands of women, the kids eat.”
Valerie was an inspiration to many and her legacy will live on in the hearts of the thousands of people that connected with her through The Hunger Project. In 2013, a circle of 15 friends of Valerie created The Valerie Harper Women’s Leadership Fund and grew it to $200,000 with investments from over 90 people who love her and shared her commitment to a world free from hunger. This fund was used to empower women through The Hunger Project.
Of her activism Valerie once wrote, “My celebrity became a tool I used to contribute to my community and my world. But I must make the choice to do so and find the means.”
Our deepest thanks to Valerie for her unfailing leadership, passion and for always being a model of dedication to transformation.
We will miss you.
Scroll through the photos below of Valerie’s time with The Hunger Project.
Valerie Harper: August 22, 1939 – August 30, 2019