Gary Oppenheimer is our Executive Director and Founder. A self described aging geek, he has worked with computers and communications going back to the 1970’s. As director of a community garden in 2009, he learned about the wasted food in many plots and created a program called “Ample Harvest” to get the excess food to local food pantries. Realizing this as a nationwide problem, he created a nationwide solution called AmpleHarvest.org to use the Internet educate, encourage and enable millions of growers nationwide to share their ample harvest with local food pantries in all 50 states. Gary can be reached at [email protected] and @GaryOppenheimer
Leanne has worked in higher education for the last 10 years engaging students through volunteer experiences both domestically and internationally. Through these experiences, Leanne gained valuable insight into the complexities of social justice issues that impact so many. Hunger relief and sustainable agriculture are of particular interest to Leanne and she is thrilled to be combining those two passions as Food Pantry Outreach Coordinator for AmpleHarvest.org. Leanne can be reached at [email protected]
Jamie has been digging in the dirt since she was little, learning by following her parents around their tiny but prolific garden. Early on, she realized her eye for design was stronger than her green thumb, so she picked up a pencil and became a multimedia designer and communications specialist. Jamie is also an avid runner and outdoor enthusiast who has experienced first-hand the improvements in performance and recovery by refueling with healthy fresh food. She loves the passion in the food and gardening communities and strives to continue making the social connections that help them to grow. Jamie can be reached at [email protected]
Brian comes to AmpleHarvest.org with a four year background in non-profit management and development. Although lacking a green thumb himself, his experience working with an adult literacy organization has left him with an appreciation of how small acts of generosity can have profound impacts on communities, and change individual lives for the better. In his spare time Brian is an active member of both the New York and national ultimate frisbee communities as both an organizer and player, and spends an unhealthy amount of energy stressing out over the fortunes of Liverpool Football Club. Brian can be reached at [email protected]
Wendy Gonzalez has over ten years of experience at Google, where she has focused the majority of her work on championing and supporting small businesses. She began her career in the digital advertising space, seeing firsthand the power of digital tools in helping small businesses to grow. She built upon this work by shifting her focus to initiatives that highlight and amplify the economic and community impact of web-enabled small businesses, including creating Google’s annual Economic Impact Report and helping to launch the Grow with Google program. Today she leads the development of go-to-market strategies for Google’s small business campaigns in the United States. She is inspired by organizations like AmpleHarvest.org that leverage technology to create connections and solve problems.
Originally from Florida, Wendy is a graduate of the University of Chicago and has called New York home since 2013. She is on the Board of Directors for the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce and is also a member of Community Board 4, serving on the ACES (Arts, Culture, Education, & Street Life) and BLP (Business Licenses & Permits) committees.
Brian J. Kirkpatrick, CPA is the Associate Vice President for Accounting and Treasury Management for the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT.) One of the nation’s leading public polytechnic universities. Ranked as a Top 100 National University by US News and World Report. In 2019, NJIT was recognized by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education when it was elevated to the top tier of research universities and designated an R1 “very high research activity” institution. One of only three in the State of New Jersey.
Brian is an experienced finance executive that has worked for nonprofit organizations the majority of his career ranging in size from tens of millions to billions. He has served on many nonprofit and community boards. Brian is a CPA, CFE, CIA and CISA.
Brian can be reached at 201-412-6518
Alanna Richter Arenstein is a B2C marketing and strategy executive with 15+ years of entrepreneurial, corporate, and consulting experience helping companies develop and execute successful growth strategies.
Most recently, Alanna served as CEO of EJA Ventures where she created and launched a successful private label consumer brand that earned #1 category ranking on Amazon. Prior to that, Alanna spent several years consulting with various clients across a broad range of industries. She facilitated with new product launches, created marketing plans, and conducted strategic analyses for companies at all stages. Earlier in her career, Alanna served as Vice President of Marketing for Bluefly.com. She led all strategic marketing, business development, and public relations plans for the publicly traded apparel e-tailer.
Alanna has always been passionate about volunteerism. She has served as a captain of Cycle for Survival (a nationwide cycling fundraiser to fight rare cancers) for 14 years, founded a program that has provided more than 250,000 meals for the hungry, and was recently named “Volunteer of the Year” in her community.
Alanna graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with Distinction in Economics from Cornell University and her Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School.
Mr. McCrary founded McCrary & Company in 1998 with the goal of providing financial analysis, investment advice and management services to clients on Distressed Securities and Quantitative Equity Research. Recent activities include directing the liquidation of a $400 million multi-national corporation for its secured lender, a major Hong Kong-based merchant bank; creating & implementing a corporate structure which enabled client, an NYSE-listed manufacturer of industrial equipment in Austria, to leverage its R&D expenditures by more than 2x through the use of investment and R&D tax credits and other incentives across multiple jurisdictions; leading the acquisition of a failed bank in Romania.
Terry served as Managing Director – Research of Diem Capital Management in New York, New York from 2002 – 2006. From 1994 until 1998, Mr. McCrary served as Vice President – Research for Auerbach, Pollak & Richardson, Inc. in Stamford, Connecticut, conducting research on distressed securities where he sourced, securitized and marketed trade claims of companies reorganizing under Chapter XI.
Mr. McCrary has also served as a guest lecturer to Carnegie Mellon’s Master of Science in Computational Finance and Entrepreneurship programs. He graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a Master of Science in Industrial Administration and from Case Western Reserve University with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics.
Gary Oppenheimer, a World Food Prize nominee, CNN Hero, lecturer and speaker (including two TEDx presentations and a Google Tech Talk), Purpose Prize Fellow, Points of Light Tribute award winner, Huffington Post’s “Greatest Person of the Day” and “2011 Game Changer”, winner of the Russell Berrie Foundation’s “Making A Difference” award, winner of the Glynwood “Wave of the Future” award, winner of the Elfenworks “In Harmony With Hope” award, Echoing Green semifinalist and founder of AmpleHarvest.org now makes his home in the mountains of northern New Jersey after having lived on a boat on the Hudson River in Manhattan since 1978. He is also a Master Gardener, Rutgers Environmental Steward, former community garden director, former environmental commissioner, an avid gardener and long distance cyclist.
Aware of the increasing hunger problem in America and, in 2009, after seeing the amount of wasted food in the community garden as well as other gardens around the country, he created AmpleHarvest.org – a nationwide effort to enable America’s 42 million home gardeners who grow food to be able to easily find a local food pantry eager for their excess garden bounty.
He has appeared in numerous radio and TV interviews, has spoken as keynote speaker at numerous conferences and and events, .
Because AmpleHarvest.org worked closely with former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative to improve fresh food access at thousands of food pantries nationwide, he had the opportunity to meet the President and First Lady and she subsequently highlighted AmpleHarvest.org in a speech in early 2012.
When not gardening, Beth is the Managing Principal for Deloitte Global Consulting Clients & Industries. She oversees Client Excellence and Sales and Pursuits while leading Deloitte’s Global Consulting Industry Leaders. In this role, she is responsible for continuing to improve Deloitte’s positioning at major clients, leading key industry programs, as well as overseeing the growth and vitality of Deloitte’s client portfolio. Beth is also a member of Deloitte’s Global Consulting Leadership and senior management team.
Though she began her career in technology, as a consultant Beth focused her work on Strategy and Performance. She continues to work with Deloitte’s global account teams to deliver high value impact to Deloitte’s clients in strategic and operational areas within highly complex and political environments using a deep understanding of her client’s digitized, converging businesses.
Beth’s clients have experienced directly measurable purpose inspired value from her work that has significantly increased productivity and driven growth. Most recently, her projects have focused on helping her clients with large scale transformations required to react to major digital disruptions.
Prior to Deloitte, Beth worked in AT&T’s consumer business division, where she was responsible for marketing execution as well as designing system and database requirements to achieve aggressive consumer long distance market share targets. In this role, she obtained a U.S. patent for design components of a new Sales Execution tools developed during this effort.
Beth and her husband live outside of New York City, and look forward to traveling and exploring the great outdoors with their two college age children when they aren’t busy working on their own education and adventures in life.
David Sank built a successful career accelerating revenue and profit in consumer goods and services organizations. Most recently, David served as the Chief Operating Officer for Calico Cottage, Inc. Calico Cottage is the world’s largest marketer of fudge equipment, ingredients and marketing know-how to thousands of businesses worldwide. He authored the strategic transformation plan which was the blueprint for the company’s revitalization. David then built a new revenue generation team and operational infrastructure that lead the organization to record performance.
Prior to joining Calico Cottage, David served as the Sr. Vice President of Strategy and Chief Marketing Officer of Oneida Ltd., the #1 brand of flatware and tabletop products in the U.S. David’s earlier career was with Fortune 100 consumer products companies including Mondelez International, Campbell Soup Company and General Mills, Inc. Sank developed a reputation for reinvigorating underperforming brands during his tenure in Brand Management, and he also held leadership roles in Channel Management and in Brand acquisition and divestiture. Preceding his career in the Consumer-Packaged Goods industry, he worked in food-service management for the Marriott Corporation.
David received a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University and his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. He is a life-long gardener who resides in Northport, NY with his wife Carol where he enjoys travelling, vegetable gardening and cooking.
Steve Shah is VP of Product for Automation Anywhere, a leader in Robotic Process Automation. Formerly, he led the transition to multi-hybrid cloud at Citrix, NetScaler yielding significant growth in enterprise sales. Steve has also held various product and engineering positions across a broad range of technologies for the enterprise, cloud, e-commerce, and service provider markets. Totaling 26 years of experience, Steve has a keen appreciation for the customer experience. During the 1990’s / early 2000’s he contributed to multiple books on Unix/Linux systems administration and content delivery networks, including Linux Administration: A Beginners Guide which sold over 100,000 copies.
Matt Strabone is an Associate at Palladium Equity Partners where he focuses on sourcing, evaluating and executing investments in the Consumer and Business Services sectors. He previously worked at Deutsche Bank where he worked on numerous M&A, equity and debt financings in the Consumer, Retail & Business Services sector.
Matt’s principal involvement in combating hunger prior to joining AmpleHarvest was his work with the St. Vincent DePaul Society, where he volunteered throughout his high school career. Matt’s role was primarily delivering food packs, approaching local merchants for donations, and serving at the St. Vincent’s soup kitchen. Matt’s other previous volunteer work includes tutoring at the “Two by Two Tutoring Program”, where he volunteered time to tutor local youth in reading and math.
Matt graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Management & concentration in Finance from Boston College’s Carroll School of Management.
Mike Sutterer is currently President and CEO of Bonnie Plants, Inc. Mike joined Bonnie in April of 2019 as President and assumed the title of President & CEO on January 1, 2020.
Prior to joining Bonnie, Mike spent 19 years at Scotts Miracle-Gro (NYSE: SMG), most recently as Senior Vice President and General Manager Gardens Business Unit. In this role Mike was responsible for the largest and most profitable division of SMG – products and services that delivered over $1 Billion in revenue. During his time as SVP and GM, Mike was responsible for the largest new product launch in Miracle-Gro’s brand history as well as the successful entrance into the new Indoor Gardening category.
Mike’s background is in marketing, where he has had numerous roles and experiences – including managing the Scotts, Miracle-Gro and Ortho Lawn & Garden brands. In addition, Mike has international marketing experience with responsibilities in both Canada and Latin America. Prior to joining SMG, Mike had a marketing role for NextEra Energy (NYSE: NEE) – a Fortune 200 energy company.
Mike currently resides in Auburn, AL with his wife and two daughters.
Stephen is a First Vice President at RBC Wealth Management, having joined RBC after 20 years at Smith Barney and Morgan Stanley. Prior to that, he was in the restaurant business.
A graduate of St. John’s University, he is the youngest recipient of an honorary doctoral degree from them. Treasurer of WhyHunger.org (and AmpleHarvest.org partner organization), he and his wife operate The Gables Historic Inn and Restaurant, in Beach Haven, NJ. They have created what we regard as a successful model business incorporating exceptional cuisine, supporting sustainable local agriculture and fair employee wages…wrapping historic preservation and hospitality into responsible community citizenship.
In the 1970s, he was co-founder of “Everything Yogurt” which launched the product now known as “frozen yogurt” and created healthy foods restaurants 30 states. .
Jonathan is an internationally recognized expert on food waste.
His blog wastedfood.com is the go to source for information on the top. He is also the author of American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food (and What We Can Do About It)., a study of food waste in America.
Originally from Spring Valley, NY, Ellen S. Cola is a current Brown University senior studying Economics, Public Policy, and Africana Studies. She is passionate about eliminating food waste and decreasing carbon footprints in all communities. Furthermore, she is most passionate about battling food insecurity and increasing access to healthy food options, especially in marginalized communities
Rachel Dlugash currently works as a statistician at the FDA. Before joining the FDA, she spent 5 years working on neurological clinical research at Johns Hopkins, and prior to that she worked on diabetes and cardiovascular research at the University of Pennsylvania. She is passionate about nutrition and preventive medicine, and she was introduced to AmpleHarvest.org during a fellowship in Washington DC where she was promoting healthier policies for the SNAP program. She received a Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) in Human Nutrition from Johns Hopkins, and a BA in Biological Basis of Behavior from the University of Pennsylvania.
Robert is the Founder and President of L.A. Kitchen, founded DC Central Kitchen, Founder and President of CForward, founding chair of both the Mayor’s Commission on Nutrition and Street Sense, was also the Co-Convener of the first Nonprofit Congress, held in Washington DC in 2006, serves on the Board of the National Addiction Recovery Program, Back On My Feet, the Philanthropic Collaborative, and Chef Jose Andres’ World Central Kitchen.
Robert was included in the Non Profit Times list of the “50 Most Powerful and Influential” nonprofit leaders from 2006-2009. He was the recipient of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington’s 2007 “Lifetime Achievement” award and the 2004 James Beard Foundation “Humanitarian of the Year” award. He has been named an Oprah Angel, a Washingtonian of the Year, a Point of Light and one of the Ten Most Caring People in America, by the Caring Institute. He is also a 15-gallon blood donor to the American Red Cross.
Tristram is the winner of the international environmental award, The Sophie Prize 2011 for his fight against food waste and a TED speaker, author of The Bloodless Revolution in 2006 and
Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal in 2009. Tristram set up the Feeding the 5000, the flagship event of a global food waste campaign where 5000 members of the public are given a free lunch using only ingredients that otherwise would have been wasted. Tristram continues to work with a range of NGOs, governments, and private enterprises internationally to tackle the global food waste scandal.
AmpleHarvest.org has been working closely with many organizations as part of our effort to help more people learn that the solution to food waste and hunger in America is in their backyard. A sampling of these collaborations are:
• Worked with The White House and former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative, we were enabling for millions of people what the First Lady advocated – healthier eating by providing access to the healthy food that would otherwise be inaccessible.
• Feeding America and its 200+ member food banks have actively helped more food pantries learn about their opportunity to receive fresh food from local gardeners.
• GreenFaith and AmpleHarvest.org have worked together to help more faith based food pantries join AmpleHarvest.org
• We have collaborated with a number of organizations such as Campus Kitchens, the National Gardening Association and the Green Education Foundation, which are focused on helping more children and teenagers learn about healthy eating and have or create access to fresh produce.
• With AARP, we are working to educate, encourage and enable more gardeners to donate excess food from gardens to their neighbors in need.
• AmpleHarvest.org and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) have a joint campaign focused on helping more people become aware of the impact of donated fresh food on America’s veterans, many of whom need the assistance of local food pantries to help feed their families.
• The US Department of Agriculture has been helping to promote AmpleHarvest.org to America’s 100,000 Extension Master Gardeners.
• The National Council of Churches has been working together to help more food pantries housed in local churches join AmpleHarvest.org.
• The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been working together to help education Americans on the environmental impact of wasted food.
• The Green Education Foundation and AmpleHarvest.org are working together to encourage children to learn to grow food to be donated to pantries as part of the “Plant With A Purpose” program.