About the same time that we stepped foot in Argentina, we began discussions with food bank leaders in Canada and Mexico about creating a North American regional food bank network. When we compared notes we learned that the food bank networks in Canada and Mexico were receiving an increasing number of international calls for assistance also. So we broadened our focus and went to work evaluating the best way to promote and support the spread of food banking around the world.
In the summer of 2015, we gathered in Chicago at Piper Rudnick (now DLA Piper LLP) to evaluate the best way to promote and support the spread of food banking around the world. We explored the idea of creating a global network of food banks.August 25, 2005: A Milestone Meeting
It was on this day that GFN moved from a concept to a concrete vision. The group met in Mexico and Bill Rudnick chaired a meeting to make a final decision about whether or not to create an organization to spread food banking around the world. The decision was unanimous. We created a name — The Global FoodBanking Network (GFN) — and got to work on a business plan.Whetting My Global Appetite Bob was scheduled to retire from his CEO position at America’s Second Harvest in mid-2006. But he had clearly been bitten by the food bank bug. So when we decided to create GFN, he jumped at the chance to lead. I had been involved with US food banking for my entire career … and I loved my work. But, my experience in Argentina, and subsequent work that Bob and I had done with a team in Israel, whetted my appetite for international work. So in early 2006, when Bob asked me to join him at GFN, I agreed – and Bob and I became the first employees. GFN Opens for Business On July 3, 2006, GFN officially opened for business. Today, GFN works in 34 countries and the GFN Network is comprised of more than 750 food banks. GFN maintains strong collaborative relationships with Feeding America, The European Federation of Food Banks (FEBA) and the Food Banking Regional Network (focused on food bank development in the Middle East and parts of Africa and South Asia). GFN continues to grow and thrive by helping social entrepreneurs create food banks where they do not exist and strengthening food banks that are already in operation. Our work, our growth and our success have helped put food banking on the global map. As the network has grown, businesses are able to engage across a broader range and on a much deeper level. Today food banking is in the first line of sight when a global company moves into a market and they will call GFN to see how they can help. That’s good for everybody. Celebrate GFN Success I am continually inspired by the many people around the world who collaborate to support food banking. I work with a strong team of professionals at our headquarters in Chicago. We are very fortunate that Bill Rudnick is still closely involved as a Board member, friend, wise counselor, and supporter of our organization. Of course, the legacy of Bob Forney (who passed away in 2010) lives on through our work. I hope you will continue to stay connected with GFN and learn more about our founding year and our goals for the future. [In the upcoming editions of eNews, we’ll remember GFN’s other co-founders – Bob Forney, GFN’s first President & CEO, and Bill Rudnick, GFN’s first Chairman and current Board Member. Stay tuned!