Actress & Advocate Viola Davis Visits Portland Feb. 3, 2015

PORTLAND, Ore.--()--When Viola Davis is not starring in ABC’s new primetime series How to Get Away with Murder, she is advocating for the eradication of childhood hunger.

“Being hungry is a very real barrier to education for many children today”

Davis caught the interest of education advocates at Concordia University when she became spokesperson for “Hunger Is,” an initiative of The Safeway Foundation and the Entertainment Industry Foundation.

Viola Davis will keynote Concordia University’s Victor Atiyeh Leadership in Education Awards, presented by HotChalk Inc. and sponsored by Construct Foundation, on Feb. 3, 2015 at the Portland Art Museum. Recipients of the award will be announced soon. Proceeds from the event will benefit student scholarships and 3 to PhD™, the public-private partnership between Concordia University, Faubion School and Portland Public Schools as they develop a new national model to create safer, healthier, more educated communities.

“Being hungry is a very real barrier to education for many children today,” said Kevin Matheny, Concordia University’s chief development officer. “Viola Davis’ personal experiences and commitment to eradicating childhood hunger opens new doors for communities coming together. We have a lot to learn from Ms. Davis.”

An award-winning actress, Viola Davis has appeared on stage, television and screen. She is just beginning to tell people about her challenges growing up hungry with the goal of eradicating childhood hunger. She remembers digging in trash cans as a child hoping to find something to eat, and if she found nothing, distracting a clerk at the grocery store so she could steal food.

In America, one in five children are suffering from hunger. “I was one of the nearly 17 million kids in the United States who worry where their next meal will come from.”

Hunger has an effect on kids’ academic and health outcomes, according to a study from No Kid Hungry, a campaign to increase access to school breakfasts and improve testing scores.

She points out that there are children everywhere going hungry and some of them may be living near you: “Children in your neighborhood are suffering, but hunger is not always easy to see,” she says.

To sponsor the Concordia University Governor Victor Atiyeh Leadership in Education Awards, contact Trish Turchiarolo-Vanoni at or 503-280-8505.


Concordia University is a private, Lutheran, liberal arts university located in northeast Portland, Ore. with a mission of preparing leaders for the transformation of society. Founded in 1905, Concordia University is Oregon’s fastest growing university, now serving more than 7,300 students on its campuses and online, through its College of Education, College of Health & Human Services, College of Theology, Arts, & Sciences, School of Management, and Concordia University School of Law in Boise, Idaho. For more about Concordia University, visit and


Concordia University
Madeline Turnock, APR, 503-803-3729

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