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Second Harvest CEO Kathy Jackson Named Feeding America Network Leader of the Year

Prestigious Award Based on Innovative Efforts to Deliver More Food to the Community

SAN JOSE, Calif., April 15, 2014– Kathy Jackson, CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, was recently named Feeding America 2014 Network Leader of the Year for her effort to significantly increase the amount of food provided by Second Harvest and streamline operations to drive down costs.

Feeding America is the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief charity with a mission to feed America's hungry through a nationwide network of more than 200 member food banks. Second Harvest Food Bank is part of the Feeding America network.

Through Jackson's vision and leadership, Second Harvest has been able to significantly increase the nutritious food it provides by adding a new dedicated produce distribution center, adopting more efficient distribution methods, and increasing CalFresh (food stamp) outreach. Better processes and increased inventory turns enabled Second Harvest to deliver significantly more, and fresher, food to the community, drive down costs and improve customer service.

Last year, Second Harvest distributed more than a million pounds of food per week, a 16 percent increase over the previous year. In addition, Second Harvest was able to improve its efficiency by 6 percent and increase access to CalFresh benefits by 61 percent compared to the previous year.

Improving the efficiency of an already efficient and effective operation, as well as reducing costs, has been critical for meeting the increased need for food. The number of people Second Harvest serves jumped 50 percent after the start of the recession and has continued to edge up every year since. Second Harvest now provides food to more than 250,000 people every month.

In addition, Second Harvest is one of only a few food banks in the nation that does not charge its partners for the food it provides. Second Harvest partners with more than 330 nonprofit agencies to provide food at more than 770 sites, including pantries soup kitchens, shelters, and after-school programs.

"These exceptional results required Kathy to be bold, tireless, collaborative, and client-focused," said Norm Taffe, Second Harvest Food Bank Board chair. "Myself and the rest of the Board are happy to see Feeding America recognize the terrific job we know she has been doing since the day she arrived at Second Harvest. Through her leadership, Kathy has been able to effectively engage donors, staff, and community partners in helping Second Harvest increase its capacity and meet the rising need for food."

Determined to meet the increased need, Jackson secured the donation of a 75,000-square-foot building from Cypress Semiconductor, the largest gift in Second Harvest history. Cypress Center, which opened in 2012, is a dedicated fresh produce facility and volunteer center.

"In a network with over 200 strong leaders, standing out as the leader of the year is an amazing accomplishment, but one that Kathy well deserves," said Bob Aiken, CEO of Feeding America. "She has used her energy to inspire her staff, community and peers. Her successes – from increasing the amount of healthy food the food bank delivers to her involvement in the Hunger Action Summit – show that Kathy is committed to helping her community and serving the food insecure in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties."

Jackson joined Second Harvest Food Bank in August 2009 after more than 20 years of executive-level experience in the financial services industry. She was named a "Woman of Influence" by the Silicon Valley Business Journal in 2010 and currently serves on the boards of the California Association of Food Banks and Feeding America.

The 2014 Network Leader of the Year Award recognizes exemplary leadership and service by an executive director or CEO in the Feeding America network who has had a positive impact over the past year not only locally, but at the national network level as well.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties is the trusted leader dedicated to ending local hunger. Since its inception in 1974, Second Harvest has become one of the largest food banks in the nation, providing food to more than one quarter of a million people each month. The Food Bank mobilizes individuals, companies and community partners to connect people to the nutritious food they need. More than half of the food distributed is fresh produce. Second Harvest also plays a leading role in promoting federal nutrition programs and educating families on how to make healthier food choices. Visit www.SHFB.org to get involved.