The number of food pantries on college campuses in Minnesota has grown in the last decade as colleges work to support students struggling with food insecurity. Operating a food pantry in a two or four year college setting can be a distinctive experience, requiring food pantry leaders to navigate both the broader hunger relief sector and the unique context of being located in a campus setting. Campus Pantry Leaders are often wearing multiple hats at the college and may enter their positions with limited previous experience in hunger relief. Due to this unique experience, FFEN is excited to launch our first ever Campus Pantry Leader Cohort. This cohort will draw on the Food Shelf Leader Cohort framework but with content that will be tailored to the Campus Pantry Experience.

The Campus Pantry Leader Cohort offers participants a values-informed framework for improved organizational effectiveness, change management, and community engagement. This series is designed to spark collaboration, peer learning, and test out new leadership skills and promising practices with fellow campus pantry leaders. Session activities include small group conversations, reflections, and problem-solving scenarios, intended to equip participants to advance their program’s values and impact.

2024 Cohort – Additional Details 

The Campus Pantry Leader Cohort welcomes up to 10 individuals to participate in six – 2.5 hour online sessions across 12 weeks. Specific details for 2024:

  • This professional development opportunity is only available to Campus Pantry Leaders.  Campus Pantry Leaders are individuals that are responsible for managing a food pantry on a two or four year college campus as a portion of their staff position. This series is offered at no cost to the Campus Pantry or leader.
  • Cohort Sessions are held on Zoom every other Thursday (August 1st to October 10th), from 9am to 11:30am
  • Session dates and topics:
    • August 1st: Aligning Organizational Values with Campus Pantry Culture
    • August 15th: Leadership Strategies to Support Change 
    • August 29th: Building an Engaged Advisory Committee and Sustainable Budgets
    • September 12th: Ensuring a Welcoming and Inclusive Campus Pantry Experience 
    • September 26th: Volunteer, Intern, and Student Worker Operations for a Welcoming Shopper Experience
    • October 10th: Building Relevant and Effective Community Engagement
  • Between cohort meetings, additional resources will be provided allowing participants to dig deeper into content based on their needs
  • Leaders will be provided with a $300 stipend upon completion of the Campus Pantry Leader Cohort  to ensure appropriate time is allocated for the experience

Campus Pantry Leader Participation

The Campus Pantry Leader Cohort is an opportunity to invest in leadership development, peer learning, and deepening sector connections. As leaders consider applying for the Cohort, please note these items to maximize the experience:

  • Six months of pantry leadership can be valuable prior to joining a Cohort
  • Prior to the beginning of the Cohort, leaders are encouraged to attend the introductory session, Welcome to Hunger Relief, which gives a high-level overview of the hunger relief sector
  • Discuss this opportunity with key stakeholders and/or supervisor(s) to obtain support to participate and proactively identify ways to allow time for the cohort sessions
  • Confirm ability to attend all six sessions on your calendar
  • Identify challenges, opportunities and experiences that might be particularly important to share and seek peer support on
  • Identify any needs that the pantry has related to the following technology requirements to support full participation and request support on application:
    • Computer, reliable high-speed internet, webcam, microphone
  • Share ideas and feedback that will support continuous improvement of the cohort experience for other leaders

2024 Cohort – Key Dates

  • Thursday, May 29th: Applications Open
  • Friday, June 28th at 5pm: Applications Close
  • Thursday, July 11th: Applicants Notified of Decision
  • Thursday, August 1st: 2024 Campus Pantry Leader Cohort begins

How to Apply

Applications for the 2024 Campus Pantry Leader Cohort will be accepted online through Friday, June 28th at 5pm.  Click here to apply!

**Preference given to Campus Pantries in Hennepin County due to current funding.


Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have additional questions! Contact FFEN at for your quickest response.

Thanks to our Funders!

This professional development experience is made possible with initial funding from MN Department of Human Services – Office of Economic Opportunity, TEFAP Program, and currently supported by the Hennepin County Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP), Minnesota Department of Health.

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