Food shelf leaders often wear multiple hats and enter their positions with limited previous experience in the hunger relief sector.  On a daily basis, they are responding to the constant demands of running a food shelf, leaving little time for planning, assessing operational effectiveness, or networking.

The Food Shelf 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 food shelf leaders. Session activities include small group conversations, reflections, and problem-solving scenarios, intended to equip participants to advance their organization’s values and impact.

Fall 2023 Cohort – Additional Details 

Each Food Shelf Leader Cohort welcomes up to 10 food shelf leaders to participate in six – 2.5 hour online sessions across 12 weeks.  This professional development opportunity is offered at no cost to food shelf leaders.  Specific details for Fall 2023:

  • Cohort Sessions are held on Zoom every other Friday (Sept 22nd to Dec 1st), from 9am to 11:30am.
  • Session dates and topics:
    • September 22: Aligning Organizational Values with Food Shelf Culture
    • October 6: Leadership Strategies to Support Change 
    • October 20: Building an Engaged Board and Sustainable Budgets
    • November 3: Ensuring a Welcoming and Inclusive Food Shelf Experience 
    • November 17: Volunteer Operations for a Welcoming Shopper Experience
    • December 1: Building Relevant and Effective Community Engagement
  • Between cohort meetings, additional resources will be provided allowing participants to dig deeper into session content based on their needs.

Food Shelf Leader Participation

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

  • Six months of food shelf leadership can be valuable prior to joining a Cohort
  • Food shelf 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 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 the food shelf calendar
  • Identify challenges, opportunities and experiences that might be particularly important to share and seek peer support on
  • Identify any needs that the food shelf 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 food shelf leaders

Fall 2023 Cohort – Key Dates

  • Monday, August 7th: Applications Open
  • Thursday, August 17th from 11:30am to 12:30pm: Cohort Informational Session
  • Friday, September 8th at 5pm: Applications Close
  • Tuesday, September 12th: Applicants Notified of Decision
  • Friday, September 22nd: Fall 2023 Food Shelf Leader Cohort begins

How to Apply

Applications for the Fall 2023 Food Shelf Leader Cohort will be accepted online through Friday, September 8th at 5pm.  Click here to apply!

**Preference given to Minnesota and Western Wisconsin food shelves due to current funding.


Don’t hesitate to reach out with additional questions! Contact for the 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.

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