Claire Babineaux-Fontenot ’92 leads the charge to keep food on the table for millions in need. As the chief executive officer of Feeding America, Babineaux-Fontenot oversees a national nonprofit network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and programs that served more than 6 billion meals during the pandemic. Her inspiring work earned recognition on the 2020 TIME 100 and NBC’s Inspiring America 2021 lists.
While growing up in Louisiana, she witnessed the devastating effects of poverty and the power of compassion. She has 107 brothers and sisters through birth, adoption and foster care. Her parents valued education and nurtured her big dreams. Babineaux-Fontenot received a Master of Laws in Taxation from SMU’s Dedman School of Law in addition to a bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisiana and a Juris Doctor from Southern University Law Center.
For nearly three decades, Babineaux-Fontenot has directed corporate, legal and philanthropic teams. Prior to joining Feeding America in 2018, she spent 13 years with Walmart, serving most recently as executive vice president and global treasurer. Before Walmart, she was partner-in-charge of the Baton Rouge office and tax practice leader for Adams and Reese LLP. Earlier in her career, she was dispute resolution practice group leader at PwC and an assistant secretary for the office of legal affairs for the state of Louisiana.
Under Babineaux-Fontenot’s leadership, Feeding America assisted SMU Law in creating two volunteer events for alumni and students that allowed Mustangs to give back to their community. She also participated in a “fireside chat” hosted by the law school in December 2020.
With a deep personal commitment to strengthening communities, Babineaux-Fontenot has volunteered in the fight against hunger and other causes since her youth. She has served on numerous nonprofit boards, including the Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the National Urban League. She also served on the global board of directors and executive committee of the Walmart Foundation.