Foodbank Double Celebration: Charity Navigator Renews Four Star Rating; Alisse Harris Joins Team as CDO

Foodbank Double Celebration: Charity Navigator Renews Four Star Rating; Alisse Harris Joins Team as CDO
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The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County welcomes Alisse Harris to the Foodbank team as its new Chief Development Officer (CDO) and proudly announces the renewal of its rating as a “4 Star Charity” from Charity Navigator, which ranks the Foodbank, for its finances, accountability and transparency, among the top five rated nonprofits in Santa Barbara.

“We’re double-delighted to welcome Alisse as CDO, with her proven skills and experience in leadership and major fundraising at the very time when we also earned the honor of a four-star rating from Charity Navigator again,” explained Foodbank CEO Erik Talkin. ”As we move forward from two full years of crisis response across the county, Alisse will be instrumental in developing our expanding vision as a community resource for food, education and hope.”

A resident of the Santa Ynez Valley with close ties to both the north and south ends of Santa Barbara County, Harris most recently spearheaded the public phase of Direct Relief’s $40 million capital campaign (exceeding the fundraising goal) to build and launch a new warehouse in Goleta for the international humanitarian aid organization.

“I’m thrilled to join the Foodbank team and dedicate my skills and vision to further the mission to transform hunger into health,” said Harris. “The Foodbank’s recent Charity Navigator accolades only reinforce what I believed when I signed on: That the organization, with its abundant talent, commitment, innovation, drive and critical work rooted in the local community, is superbly positioned to achieve its goals and contribute to a healthier Santa Barbara County.”

Prior to joining the Direct Relief campaign, Harris spent eight years growing J&K Pool Construction while overseeing 200+ installation and remodel projects, and served six years as senior account executive at the San Francisco Chronicle and locally at Rincon Broadcasting.
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In addition to the Foodbank receiving a renewed rating as a “4 Star Charity,” it also earned perfect scores (100 out of 100) for Charity Navigator’s additional “beacons” in the categories of “Impact & Results” and “Leadership & Adaptability.”

The “Impact & Results” beacon provides an assessment that takes explicit account of how much good the nonprofit achieves per dollar of cost. The Foodbank operates with a program-expense ratio of 91.1 percent.

The “Leadership & Adaptability” category focuses on an organization's strategy, leadership and adaptability. “When a nonprofit has an overall community strategy built with external partners, the organization has a stronger probability of solving the underlying issues that its program is aimed at. Additionally, an organization that invests in its leaders on an ongoing basis increases the organization's capacity to execute on strategy. Finally, an organization that can adapt during challenging times (e.g., during a global pandemic) demonstrates its ability to persevere and rise above.” (Charity Navigator website).

Collaboration with external partners is an integral part of the Foodbank’s community strategy. It works closely with more than 300 agency partners to distribute healthy food to those in need and to provide nutrition education to families and older adults and cooking skills to youth through community programs.

The Foodbank led the development of a countywide Disaster Feeding Plan in the aftermath of the Thomas Fire and 1/9 Debris Flow, in concert with an array of partners including nonprofits; government; civic, faith-based, education and healthcare organizations; and businesses. Having this plan in place enabled the Foodbank to respond effectively to the next emergency on a countywide scale.

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and economic crisis, the Foodbank epitomized the ability to “adapt during challenging times (e.g., during a global pandemic) and demonstrate its ability to persevere and rise above” by distributing more than 30 million pounds of nutritious groceries and fresh produce at locations in every area of the county, and by providing more than 75,000 home deliveries to older adults, community members with disabilities and those facing medical emergencies.

About Foodbank of Santa Barbara County
The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County is transforming health by eliminating hunger and food insecurity through good nutrition and food literacy. The Foodbank provides nourishment and education through a network of more than 300 partner agencies, nutrition education programs and food distribution sites operated by the Foodbank and its volunteers. Over the last year, our response to the Covid-19 economic crisis has included distributing over 30 million pounds of food, making more than 80,000 home deliveries of healthy groceries to older adults and those with disabilities, and launching new services in high-poverty areas, such as the Healthy Farmworkers program. For many local residents, recovery from the economic crisis is expected to take 18 to 24 months. With the community’s continued support, the Foodbank will be a significant driver of economic recovery for Santa Barbara County. For more information, visit FoodbankSBC.org.

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