Liponis to Lead NH Food Bank
The New Hampshire Food Bank, a program of Catholic Charities New Hampshire, is pleased to announce that after a lengthy and intensive national search, Brentwood resident Eileen Groll Liponis has been named the new Food Bank executive director. Liponis has more than 20 years of business and nonprofit experience, including nine years at the helm of the New Hampshire Public Charter School Association, which she founded. Liponis’ first day managing New Hampshire’s only food bank was Tuesday, January 3.
“We at Catholic Charities New Hampshire are extremely excited to have Eileen on board at the New Hampshire Food Bank,” said Thomas Blonski, president and CEO of Catholic Charities New Hampshire. “She is tremendously mission-driven, has strong skills, and brings the perfect balance of passion, personality and perseverance to ensure one of our most visible programs continues to thrive.”
“I am thrilled to join the team at the New Hampshire Food Bank,” Liponis said. “I am looking forward to supporting and expanding the innovative programming and food distribution the NH Food Bank offers to the one in nine New Hampshire residents who do not know where their next meal is coming from. It is truly immense work and I am eager to meet food bank partners and supporters and to begin discussions on food flow in our state with an eye on sustainability and the potential of repurposing wholesome food to reduce food waste.”
A 2010 graduate of Leadership NH, Liponis is the fifth executive director of the New Hampshire Food Bank. Liponis succeeds Robert Gossett, who has served as executive director on an interim basis following the departure of Mel Gosselin in June 2016.
“I know I have very big shoes to fill. During my time working for charter schools in New Hampshire, I really felt like I was able to make a difference,” said Liponis, who received her Bachelor’s Degree from Boston College and an MBA from the University of New Hampshire. “We went from three or four charter schools statewide to more than two dozen schools with the help of close to $20 million in federal funding a decade later, helping to expand public education offerings for kids in New Hampshire. For me, this is again an opportunity to make a major difference in New Hampshire and I am looking forward to the challenge. There are tremendous opportunities to do good in this position with the ultimate goal of putting ourselves out of business.”
Liponis noted the New Hampshire Food Bank is ahead of the curve when it comes to meeting the demands of those most in need. She pointed to the opening of the first phase of the Food Bank’s production facility. The 2,500-square-foot USDA “Clean Room,” which opened in September 2016, will allow the New Hampshire Food Bank to produce packaged dry meals in a controlled manufacturing environment. When the production facility is complete, the New Hampshire Food Bank would be the first food bank in the northeast to house its own production facility—and just the second such facility nationally.
In addition to the New Hampshire Public Charter School Association, Liponis has also worked for Fidelity Investments, Process Packaging & Control in Portsmouth, Venture Resources in Portsmouth, Venture Technologies in Billerica, Mass., BoardOnTrack in Concord, Mass. and as development director for the Seacoast Charter School. Liponis has also worked as a consultant to nonprofit organizations at EGL Consulting.
Liponis is eager to take on the hunger-related challenges facing the state. More than 139,730 New Hampshire residents, including 41,350 children, are food insecure, meaning they do not know where their next meal is coming from. The New Hampshire Food Bank, which receives no state or federal funding for food distribution, opened its doors in 1984 and in that year distributed 250,000 pounds of food. During 2016, the NH Food Bank distributed just shy of 13 million pounds of food to its network of more than 400 partners statewide, marking a 61-percent increase over the past five years.