Rooted in You: The Campaign to Re-Imagine Ending Hunger
Last week, the Mid-Ohio Food Collective (MOFC) celebrated the public launch of Rooted in You: The Campaign to Re-Imagine Ending Hunger. Across Ohio, hundreds tuned in as MOFC’s leaders and campaign chairs shared the organization’s ambitious vision—investing in solutions that address hunger’s underlying causes—and celebrated the donors who have already contributed $24 million toward the $30 million goal.
While the event marked the first day of the campaign’s public phase, MOFC has been preparing for this moment for years. Over the past decade, the Collective has been evolving its work to reflect the complicated, nuanced reality of hunger. In 2019, Benefactor Group was invited to help MOFC take this work further by conducting a feasibility study to test the appeal and potential to raise funds in support of four specific investments. These plans—to create “Mid-Ohio Markets,” build a production farm, develop an artificial intelligence platform, and enhance MOFC’s flagship facility—were met with enthusiasm by MOFC’s donors. Campaign planning quickly commenced.
“The team at Benefactor not only provides significant campaign counsel, they also have been steadfast partners in our work, committed to ensuring MOFC is well-positioned to succeed across many facets of development strategy.”
Benefactor Group has been proud to counsel MOFC as it has navigated the complexities of campaign preparation and “quiet phase” fundraising, as well as the tumultuous health and economic circumstances of the past year. Yet despite the challenges of 2020, the campaign to re-imagine ending hunger secured more than 80% of its goal in less than nine months. The campaign’s momentum is the product of many factors, among them:
- Incredible volunteer leadership. Three of Central Ohio’s chief executives—Steve Steinour, Nick Akins, Kirt Walker—serve as the campaign’s co-chairs along with their spouses, Patti Steinour, Donna Akins, and Cindy Walker,. Their advocacy, acumen, and sense of vision have been essential to rallying the community and steering the campaign.
- An urgent cause. While the challenges of hunger certainly precede COVID-19, the pandemic has cast a brighter light than ever on the fragile systems that surround hunger, and the urgency of a better response to food insecurity. This crisis has also reaffirmed the power of philanthropy, as donors have risen to meet extraordinary circumstances with extraordinary generosity.
- A clear vision. MOFC’s plans were developed after years of analyzing data, surveying customers, talking with advisors, and meeting with experts. The organization can confidently assure donors that their resources will be focused on investments that can make the greatest difference for the region.
- Generous donors. To date, twelve individuals, corporations, and foundations have contributed gifts of $1 million or greater—and many more have contributed to the campaign in meaningful ways. This campaign has showcased the deep relationships and trust MOFC has built with donors in this region over the decades.
We congratulate the Mid-Ohio Food Collective on their exceptional progress to date—and look forward to continuing the journey alongside them.
Donors to Rooted in You have an incredible opportunity to make a tangible impact on hunger in Central and Eastern Ohio. To learn more about the campaign, you can explore https://www.rootedinyou.org/.