Spring 2011

[Alumni News]

Brian Greene

Inspired to Help

Photo courtesy of Brian Greene

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO FEED 137,000 people each week—and to know at least half of them are children living below the poverty line?

Brian Greene (‘86, Economics), the 47-year-old president and CEO of the Houston Food Bank, will tell you “providing dinner each evening to kids who would otherwise go hungry is all the motivation I need.”

As the head of a massive food-distribution program that serves 18 counties in southeastern Texas, Greene is responsible for collecting, storing and dispensing over 40 million pounds of donated food each year, all while directing 20 employees and nearly 28,000 volunteers.

Greene has been at the Houston Food Bank since 2005, and spent 12 years as the executive director of the Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans. Since his arrival in Texas, he’s been amazed to see how many people are now going hungry. “The problem has gotten worse as more workers lose jobs in the recession,” he says.

But before coming to work at a food bank, Greene had his sights set on academia, and was working on a Ph.D. in economics. After volunteering at a local charity, he left the doctorate program and hasn’t looked back.

“That experience changed my life,” he says. “All at once, I saw how important the food we distributed was to the hungry people we served. Somehow, that kind of work seemed a lot more important than writing a dissertation.”