Hungry for growth

Winner
Nonprofit

By 2004, the amount of the Cleveland Foodbank’s distribution had increased by nearly 60 percent from when it began distributing food in 1979. However, as distribution increased, the Foodbank was turning food away because of a lack of storage space and it was forced to spread operations across four locations. President and CEO Anne Goodman became increasingly aware of the need for a new facility if she wanted the organization to run more effectively and efficiently.

With no significant fundraising experience, The Cleveland Foodbank began educating the community about what it does to fight hunger. And it approached fundraising for the capital campaign in a creative fashion; rather than assemble a fundraising committee, a individual community leaders contributed in several ways, including hosting events for the food industry, public officials, the corporate community and small business leaders. More than half of the gifts received in the campaign were from people or institutions that had never before contributed to the Foodbank.

The community embraced what it learned about the successful efforts to feed the hungry in the Cleveland area and the need to do it even better. Clevelanders rallied around the need for a new distribution center, contributing more than $10 million to cover the costs of the project. The capital campaign was completed in two years, and the building was paid for by the time The Cleveland Foodbank moved in to the facility in January 2005.

With the completion of the community food distribution center, the Foodbank combined four buildings into one location, and in its first year in the new building, it distributed nearly 1.1 million more pounds of food than it had the previous year. In 2009, The Cleveland Foodbank distributed a record 27.3 million pounds of food, a 26 percent increase over the year before and its largest year-to-year increase ever.

How to reach: Cleveland Foodbank, (216) 738-2265 or www.clevelandfoodbank.org