John Coonrod

Global Staff


Strategic Advisor


John Coonrod has retired as Executive Vice President of The Hunger Project, and now serves as a Strategic Advisor. He is the Founder and US Chair of the Movement for Community-led Development, which was launched in 2015 within The Hunger Project and as of 2024 is now a distinct global network strongly supported by THP. He is also chair of Sarvodaya USA which supports community-led development in Sri Lanka and Nepal.

John’s passion and dedication has supported the growth of the Movement, which now includes over 2000 local and community-based organizations and 35 international organizations and networks from around the world. 

John was The Hunger Project’s first volunteer in March of 1977, joined its staff in 1985, and has participated in the development and implementation of all of its programs.

He is a lead spokesperson and advocate for bottom-up, gender-focused development and decentralized local governance. He has lectured about the topic at the United Nations, Columbia University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), New York University (NYU), Princeton University and the United States Air Force Academy.

John grew up in the Midwest and was trained as a physicist at Stanford (BSc) and the University of California-Berkeley (MS, PhD), during which time he was active in the civil rights and anti-war movements. He worked as a research physicist at Princeton University from 1978 through 1984. As a physicist, he was involved in the design and construction of the High-Energy Astronomical Observatory satellite, the first whole-body CAT scanner and the first tokamak designed to achieve a break-even fusion reaction.

At The Hunger Project, John met his colleague and future wife Carol. They were married in 1988 and are living happily ever after in Washington, DC. 

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