Eric Cooper Receives National Award for Non-profits
Our very own Eric Cooper has been named 2011 Executive Director of the Year by Feeding America. This award honors an executive director of a member food bank for his or her extraordinary efforts to feeding the hungry in their own community and across the nation, and support of the Feeding America strategic plan to ensure that no one in America goes hungry.
“I am humbled to be recognized by peers that do amazing work in their own communities,” says Eric Cooper, President/CEO of the San Antonio Food Bank (SAFB). “I am just a reflection of a great board, staff, and community that support this great work.”
Since fiscal year 2001 when Eric joined the SAFB, distribution has tripled from 14 million pounds of food and grocery products to over 43 million pounds. Financial success includes an increase of its operating budget over 769 percent in ten years. Additionally, the SAFB has increased current national programs such as Kids Cafe®, and established new programs, such as the Social Services Outreach, a Community Kitchen®, a Farmers’ Market, a Client-Choice Pantry, and Nutrition Education and a Community Garden, which will not only be a place to grow food, but will also be used as a forum for education and community awareness.
Since 2002, the SAFB’s Outreach program has grown into a team of 30 outreach workers assisting with applications for more than six federal assistance programs in its sixteen-county service area, with food bank staff processing more than 2,000 applications a month.
The SAFB maintains a four-star rating from Charity Navigator and is one of the most efficient non-profits in San Antonio, putting 98 cents of every dollar donated directly into programs. The SAFB operates more than a dozen programs that together provide a comprehensive solution to hunger and helps put families back on the road to self-sufficiency.
Eric is an inspiration to all of the staff at the SAFB. He is a visible local leader, serving on the Mayor’s Fitness Task Force. Additionally, he serves as President of the Texas Food Bank Network Board, serves on the Feeding America’s national task force on nutrition and food sourcing, and joined other food bank leadership in laying the ground work for the Campaign for a Hunger-Free America, a national fundraising campaign to address hunger-relief and the systems that coordinate local and national programs.
Under Eric’s great leadership, the SAFB will continue fighting hunger and feeding hope in Southwest Texas.