FFEN works to improve the responsiveness of Minnesota’s food shelves to increase access to fresh, healthy food
The hunger relief sector has become increasingly complex in recent years.
Food sources have evolved, levels of community need and demographics have changed, and more competition exists for donor and volunteer support. FFEN is here as an ongoing resource and partner to help food shelves adapt to this new, ever-changing environment.
Reshaping the Minnesota Hunger Relief System.
A hunger relief system all shoppers trust to predictably offer healthy food options and a dignified experience.
- Advance a sector culture centered on shopper priorities.
- Build system capacity to improve service and experience.
- Invest in organizational capacity to sustain impact.
- We prioritize the food-shelf shopper voice and experience in all of our work.
- We take time to listen and build honest and reciprocal relationships.
- We honor unique community context and seek to include additional perspectives and expertise.
- We cultivate a spirit of abundance to foster creative solutions for local and system innovation.
Meet the Team
Changing the hunger relief system in Minnesota requires a committed and diverse team of staff and volunteers. Meet the leaders, working alongside skilled volunteers, who move FFEN’s mission forward on a daily basis.
Community Engagement Manager
FFEN Board of Directors
Katherine Winter, Vice President
Michael Niznik, Treasurer
LB Carlson, LLP
Alexis Bylander, Secretary
Senior Child Nutrition Policy Analyst, Food Research & Action Center
Katie Bourget, CFA
VP, Managing Director, Head of Municipal Research, Travelers
Community Health and Equity
Program Manager, Blue Cross Blue Shield Center for Prevention
Recruitment Manager, Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa
Director, Global Sales and Service Enablement,
RBC Global Asset Management
Alyssa Rebensdorf, JD
Attorney, Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP
Moses Viveros, MBA, MA
Public Health Specialist – Food Security, City of Minneapolis
History and Milestones
Founded in 2011, a dedicated group of Minnesota business leaders and professionals formed the Foundation for Essential Needs to develop ways to end hunger and poverty and secure stability for basic needs organizations. In 2013, FFEN’s leadership expanded its service area across the state to solely focus on food shelf support; since then, engaging with nearly 200 food shelves across Minnesota, as well as regional food banks and statewide hunger relief partners.
Incorporated as a 501(c)3 Non-Profit.
Expanded reach to all food shelves in Minnesota; issued first service grant to 10 suburban Hennepin County food shelves.
Moved into first office space.
Created Granting Policy to fund all food shelves across Minnesota; granting $20,000 to five food shelves.
Hosted Welcoming Party to introduce FFEN’s office.
Participated in first Give to the Max Day.
Expanded funding to food shelves to service and financial grants.
Launched initiative to focus on food shelves in the Iron Range counties.
Reorganized internally to reflect a consultancy able to better respond to requests from food shelves.
Partnered with regional food banks to identify ways to further increase collaboration.
Hired Kate Burggraff as Executive Director.
Began statewide partnership with MN Dept. of Human Services.
Celebrated 10 year anniversary by hosting Reshaping Hunger Relief Breakfast.
Became a leading partner on the 2022 Food Shelf Survey.