Charitable Food Distribution Initiative (Nevada, Oklahoma, Arkansas)

  • Local Projects
  • 2002

The Donald Reynolds Foundation has made some high-profile national gifts like the one to Washington’s National Portrait Gallery that created the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture, and the $38 million grant to the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association that spurred creation of a great library devoted to the study of George Washington at his Mount Vernon estate. The foundation has longstanding interests in health care, journalism, and Nevada colleges that reflect its founder’s passions.

But it has also put a special emphasis on serving its home region. A deep and innovative effort to improve local food banks has been an important part of this. Unlike much charitable food support, Reynolds’s efforts were focused on helping groups get their supplies to people who most need it via improved distribution. Its 2002 Charitable Food Distribution Initiative awarded grants to food banks in Nevada, Oklahoma, and Arkansas (the three states where Reynolds made most of his money in the newspaper business) so they could plan and build better distribution networks. The foundation then launched further efforts to make these food banks more efficient. The initiative granted a total of $69 million over a decade, much of it to build new or expanded facilities for more effective distribution to families whose access to food is “insecure.”