Lunchtime Silicon Valley mission to raise awareness of malnutrition

Invitations for 10 lunches in 10 days during August? Nothing so unusual in that, until you find out that the lunches are with some of the world’s biggest and most influential tech companies ‒ including Facebook, Microsoft, Google and NASA ‒ and the invitation comes from Tom van Berkel, a second-year MSc Business Information Management student at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM).

In stark contrast to conditions in some African countries, many IT companies in Silicon Valley provide employees with free, high-quality lunches. According to UNICEF, an astonishing 18, 000 children die of malnutrition every day. This horrific statistic motivated Dutch master student Tom to step in and act during the two weeks he will spend in San Francisco USA in August before going on study exchange to the University of Pennsylvania this autumn.

Tom aims to take lunch at the world’s top tech companies to raise awareness of malnutrition. He hopes his Silicon Valley invitations will help him to gather donations to fund lunches for those that need it most. Tom’s lunchtime mission starts on 1 August and is the result of a challenge from a friend; it will be documented at, where there’s also a link for making donations to UNICEF. Donating as little as €7.50 can provide 10 lunches to people in the poorest parts of the world.

“During previous internships at Google and Microsoft, I realised the influence of tech companies goes beyond opportunities for my own career. Getting companies such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook on board could generate awareness for malnutrition around the world. And so the idea for the 10-day lunch challenge was born,” Van Berkel says.

According to RSM’s Dean, Professor Steef van der Velde, Van Berkel’s mission is typical of the approach of RSM students, who are coached to be aware of the effect of their actions on society and to use their management education training towards a sustainable future for everyone. “He has the School’s full support. I think his mission shows compassion and ambition,” said the Dean.

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is ranked among Europe’s top 10 business schools for education and among the top three for research. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam - a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who carry their innovative mindset into a sustainable future thanks to a first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes. RSM also has offices in the Amsterdam Zuidas business district and in Taipei, Taiwan.

For more information on RSM or on this release, please contact Olivia Manders, Media Officer for RSM, on +31 10 408 2028 or by email at 

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