RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — If you are looking for a good cause to support in 2009, why not chose one that incorporates entrepreneurship and high-tech in fighting world hunger?

Nourish International, which got its start at UNC-Chapel Hill, is hosting a wine tasting complete with what it calls a “hunger lunch” and a talk by best-selling author and Duke professor Dan Ariely ("Predictably Irrational") on Friday night. The food includes rice, beans and cornbread.

As good as the modest meal and wine might be, however, the purpose of the fundraiser is to help Nourish spread its program of combating hunger and other global health challenges. The group does so through college students at more than 20 campusus who each summer involve themselves in entrepreneurial projects focused on sustainable development.

In other words, they teach people how to feed themselves in new, healthier ways so they can become more self reliant.

Ryan Allis, chief executive officer of e-mail marketing firm iContact in Durham, is chairman of Nourish. He counts himself as one of many in the youngest rank of high-tech entrepreneurs who are focused on more than making money.

“There is great interest among my generation locally and globally to address these issues,” he says. “I hope to be part of a generation that creates a world in which every human has access to food, water, medicine, sanitation and shelter and (in which) global leaders realize that which separates us is much less important than that which binds us together.

“I feel motivated now more than ever to go after the dream of ending global poverty and hunger in our lifetimes – and after seeing the great achievements in the last 60 years in the world, I know it is possible.”

Here’s the link about the event:

We’ll be writing more about the Nourish event and organization later this week. Check this event out – and get involved in this cause or another – or two or three – in 2009.

In a year of crisis, there is no better or more important time to give back to our world and fellow beings.