FFEN would like to introduce our new board member, Andréa Kish-Bailey. We asked them a few questions to better get to know them and learn about the values that drive their work. Andréa, you come to FFEN with a fairly extensive non-profit background. What drew you to that line of work initially? Can you speak a little on the values that have guided your work so far?
When I was a child, my dad left my mom. Along with losing a husband, my mom also lost her job as a pastor in The Salvation Army due to the divorce. We lost our house, our car, our furniture, even the dishes! My mom worked tirelessly to keep a roof over our head. When she wasn’t working, she was worrying, and when she wasn’t worrying, she was humiliated. She tried to make a game out of our situation for my brothers and me. At the grocery store, we played, “Who can find the best meal at $1 a person?”
This is why I am passionate about my work in the hunger sector. I know lives can change in an instant. One moment you are in a position to give, the next in a place of need. I’ve been pleased to serve alongside amazing people in communities who truly care. I began my nonprofit career in 1998 as the Assistant Director of Volunteer Services for The Salvation Army and over the past two decades have had the honor of working with some of the best nonprofits in the state.
My professional experience includes both direct service and administration. My role as the Executive Director of the White Bear Area Emergency Food Shelf has been a culmination of two decades of hard and rewarding work. Work that has prepared me to lead a dynamic organization in better service to the community through increased revenue, expansion of services, and in growing collaboration with community and sector partnerships. I believe this experience will benefit FFEN.
Under my leadership, the White Bear Area Emergency Food Shelf experienced tremendous growth and is now situated as a leader in the hunger community. We instituted an Emergency Fund in partnership with the community at large, we developed a full-service resource program to connect families with additional supports, and we expanded our work with partner agencies to decrease the barriers many individuals experience. Additionally, during my tenure, the food shelf successfully rebranded, greatly increased its foundation and grant support , and doubled its revenue stream through the creation of new fundraisers and sponsorship opportunities.
Do you see your work on FFEN’s board as diverging somewhat from your prior experience or as an extension of it?
I see my work on FFEN’s board as an extension of the work I’ve done in the hunger community. I am excited to use my organizational leadership, fund development and community building skills to help reshape the food shelf system to provide equitable, healthy and predictable food options throughout Minnesota. What are you most excited for as you take on this leadership role for the organization?
Working in the nonprofit sector for over 20 years, I have engaged with volunteer Boards on various levels. I’m excited to now sit on a board and help guide the strategic direction of an organization I am passionate about.
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