Rachel Sumekh is the CEO and founder of Swipe Out Hunger, the nation's leading nonprofit working to end hunger amongst college students. Swipe Out Hunger runs programs on over 450 college campuses, including food pantries where students can access food and other basic needs. Since 2013, Rachel’s organization has donated over 4.8 million warm meals to students, and is making college a more equitable place for all. All in all, she’s fighting the good fight, and most loves “working with a team of people who are also idealistic and believe it's possible to build a better world, if we simply commit ourselves.”
Rachel's work as an education and hunger advocate goes far beyond charity — the Hall of Femme honoree has also helped to write and pass legislation. Her bill, the Hunger Free Campus Act, has passed in California, New Jersey, Maryland, Minnesota, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. To date, this bill has sent over $102 million to fund campus programs to help end student hunger. In September 2021, Rachel was invited by the House Rules Committee to testify before Congress at the first-ever hearing on college hunger.
Rachel credits being the child of Iranian Jewish immigrants for her perspective and intersectional leadership style, and is motivated by “the knowledge that I can improve someone's life, either through my nonprofit or being kind to whoever I might bump into that day.” She is deeply invested in the Jewish community and serves on the board of her Los Angeles-based temple, IKAR, is a Schusterman Fellow, and mentors young Iranian women “through the lens of their full potential.” For Rachel, success is “staying aligned with your values as you pursue new and challenging work.”
“My work centers the people we serve, we do it with integrity and do so authentically,” Rachel says. “Each of these are values my team and I have refined and [they] guide us daily.”Find Rachel on Instagram and Twitter.