To the 412 Food Rescue & Food Rescue Hero Community,
As we enter this season of change, I am writing to share that after eight years of working with you to grow 412 Food Rescue and Food Rescue Hero, I am stepping down as CEO by Spring of 2023. I will continue to serve Food Rescue Hero in a to-be-determined capacity. I’m committed to leading both organizations until a successor is found and fully transitioned.
Transitioning from its first Executive Director is a complex process for any organization, so the board and I have been thoughtfully preparing for this moment. I have much gratitude to the board for their stewardship and leadership. Agreeing to serve on a board is an exceptional act of commitment to an organization’s mission, and I have been fortunate to have their guidance during my tenure.
The opportunity to grow 412 Food Rescue and Food Rescue Hero has been an enormous privilege. I feel tremendous gratitude toward Pittsburgh’s philanthropic community for seeding and supporting this work, allowing us to prove its potential and pave the way for others in the philanthropic community to invest in an envelope-pushing idea.
I still remember the first time we launched the app and saw rescues being claimed one by one—looking at our screens with a measure of disbelief but also joy that people were showing up for each other—using an app. (And to date, you’ve done over 400,000 rescues!) I also remember the elation of winning those first pitch competitions we participated in. From the American Heart Association’s Urban Health Accelerator in Baltimore, MD in 2017 to the global WE Empower UN SDG pitch competition in New York City, I was so proud to represent you and be your voice. And finally, each time I meet you, our food rescue heroes, seeing the service that you wholeheartedly give, seeing your own joy in doing so, has continuously inspired me.
Our work together has enabled the redirection of over 100 million pounds of perfectly good food from going to landfills to feeding those who are experiencing food insecurity – in over 25 cities in North America, with over 34,000 Food Rescue Heroes registered on the Food Rescue Hero app. This resilient, reliable and growing volunteer driver network allowed us to launch Home Delivery at the height of the COVID crisis, where it was, for many, the only way to access food support.
Doing this work with an exceptional team (an A-team through and through) and with YOU, our community, has realized an impact of which I am enormously grateful and proud. While change can present challenges, 412 Food Rescue and Food Rescue Hero are at an exceptional juncture and poised to take the next leap in growth.
During this transition period, Jen England, our very first employee, has been serving as interim COO. Jen has led the establishment of our multi-county food recovery network in the Greater Pittsburgh Region and is now leading what is essentially a multi-country network of food
recovery organizations using the Food Rescue Hero platform, moving steadily toward our goal of serving 100 cities by 2030. She is also a leader in advocacy, taking the helm of our work with other food waste prevention and food recovery organizations.
Next year, we will be crossing some major milestones in my family and I look forward to spending some time going back visiting the Philippines. I am also looking forward to continuing work in technology and climate, inspired by what this organization has shown is possible.
It has been one of the great honors of my life to grow 412 Food Rescue and Food Rescue Hero. My gratitude to our team, our food rescue heroes, and all of our community is unbounded.