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Feeding America

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LAST UPDATED: February 4th, 2020

Feeding America originally was founded in Phoenix, Arizona, as St. Mary’s Food Bank, which was the nation’s first food bank. The organization was given government grants to create a network of similar food banks across the nation and a separate nonprofit organization was created in 1979. In 2008, the organization was rebranded to "Feeding America," which is now the third-largest charitable organization in the United States. 

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The Good

  • Total income
  • Administrative expenses
  • Fundraising expenses
  • Program percentage
  • Donor communication
  • Awards

Total Income

As Feeding America's name recognition and corporate partnerships continue to grow, so do the donations received by the organization. Revenue for the past several years is as follows:
  • 2015: $2,171,175,300
  • 2014: $2,035,578,519
  • 2013: $1,874,363,372
  • 2012: $1,534,935,344

Administrative Expenses

For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015, Feeding America reported administrative expenses of $6,817,567, which is equivalent to about 1 percent of the organization's revenue for the year. Critics have pointed out that the former CEO of the organization earned an annual salary of over $600,000. However, Feeding America welcomed a new CEO on October 1, 2015, whose salary has yet to be disclosed.

Fundraising Expenses

On average, Feeding America uses about 1 percent of its income for fundraising. Because Feeding America has powerful partnerships with large companies such as WalMart, Kraft Foods, Kroger, French's, and TLC, the organization can essentially outsource fundraising and receive many donations without spending much.

Program Percentage

Most charity watchdog organizations state that an effective program delivery percentage is 70 to 80 percent. On average, Feeding America uses around 98 percent of its income for program delivery, which is exceptional.

Donor Communication

Feeding America maintains communication with interested parties via email newsletters, postal mailers, and social media channels. The organization is active on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest.


Feeding America has been the recipient of several awards, including the following: 2014: Hillshire Brands Foundation Feeding America was awarded $700,000 in grants from the Hillshire Brands Foundation to fight hunger and to improve nutrition and healthy weight education. This award is designated to help fight hunger in the United States, as well as for the creation of educational programs to address the growing problem of food waste and deliver healthy weight education for Americans across the country. 2014: $1.6 Million Google Global Impact Award Feeding America was given a $1.6 million award to enhance the organization's use of technology in meeting its program goals with the Online Marketplace, which is Feeding America's program designed to combat food waste and connect retailers with community food banks for more effective food distribution to those in need. 2010: Public Affairs Council-Grassroots Innovation Award Feeding America was recognized with the Grassroots Innovation Award by the Public Affairs Council for its Hunger Action Advocacy campaign. This campaign was created in partnership with DDC Advocacy, which is a professional advocacy firm that helps clients engage and empower supporters to become involved and take action in a charitable organization's program. The Hunger Action Advocacy campaign was a competition between Feeding America's 209 food banks to see which one could earn the most volunteer minutes in a designated month. The food bank that tallied the most minutes received a truck filled with food to distribute from Kraft.

The Bad

  • Accessible financial information
  • Negative press

Accessible Financial Information

Feeding America is very transparent with its Federal IRS Forms 990s and provides its forms from 2009 to 2015 on its website. However, Feeding America does not publish its annual reports or financial statements online, as do many of the other leading charitable organizations. Additional financial information would be of benefit to potential donors.

Negative Press

Feeding America has received some negative press, including the following: 2008: Nevada Food Bank In 2008, Feeding America learned that one of its member food banks, the Community Food Bank of Clark County, Nevada, was selling some of the donations which it had received from one of its warehouses. The organization removed its support and the food bank eventually closed. 2013: Hunger vs. Food Security Several media sources have accused Feeding America of deceptive advertising for using the statistic that 20 percent of the nation's children face hunger, which is based upon USDA guidelines on food security. Food security is defined as the state which rates a family's access to healthy food and if they are concerned if they will run out of food before their next paycheck. Critics state that in a country with a current obesity epidemic, especially among the socioeconomic classes reporting the highest level of food insecurity, Americans do not have a hunger problem but an obesity problem fueled by Americans eating the wrong types of foods.

The Bottom Line

Feeding America has a nationwide network of over 200 food banks which provide food to those in need. The organization has built a solid reputation and uses 98 percent of its revenue to deliver its programs. Additionally, Feeding America has received multiple awards and communicates with its donors through a number of channels. However, the organization could be a bit more transparent with its financial reports.
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Makayla Manus Gulfport, MS

Feeding America helps so many people get food when they weren't able to before. It saves so many lives. It's a great organization.

4 years ago