New York, NY, September 13, 2018—FoodCorps, an AmeriCorps grantee that works to connect kids to healthy food in schools, announced today that Zeke Smith will join its Executive Team to lead FoodCorps’ nationwide service program as the Vice President of Programs.
Smith brings a wealth of diverse experience in the education and non-profit sectors, predominantly working with under-resourced communities. Prior to joining FoodCorps, Zeke served as Chief Impact Officer of the United Way of Columbia Willamette, leading their efforts to break the cycle of childhood poverty across the Portland Metro Region. Zeke led the organization in bringing diverse community partners together through increased funding, volunteers, and shared expertise in order to better the lives of children and families and to improve the systems designed to support them.
Prior to his position with the United Way, Smith was Chief of Staff at Portland Public Schools, where he managed a 5-year partnership with Pacific Education Group. The Group was selected by Portland Public Schools to lead Courageous Conversations About Race, a professional development program for educators and district leadership. While in his Chief of Staff role, Zeke also managed the hiring of their first Chief Equity Officer, who was responsible for managing equity and inclusion across the 6,000+ employee school system.
“FoodCorps is creating spaces for schools and communities to shift the relationship students have with healthy food. This isn’t just about nutrition, but ultimately about nurturing healthy kids and communities, “said Zeke Smith. “I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to be a part of a national leader in this movement.”
At FoodCorps, Zeke will lead over 23 national staff members and over 200 AmeriCorps service members who work hand-in-hand with schools across the country to create models of healthy school food environments. According to FoodCorps’ annual Healthy Schools Progress Report, more than 75% of FoodCorps schools had measurably healthier school food environments by the end of the academic year. Additionally, as part of a joint study with Columbia University’s Tisch Food Center at Teacher’s College, students in FoodCorps schools with more hands-on learning activities are eating triple the amount of fruits and vegetables as students who receive less of that hands-on learning.
“We are thrilled to welcome Zeke onto the FoodCorps Executive Team and look forward to his leadership as we strengthen our national service program and work toward a future where every school is a healthy school and every child is well nourished, eating healthy and ready to learn,” said Curt Ellis, FoodCorps Co-Founder and CEO.
Zeke Smith is an American Leadership Forum of Oregon Senior Fellow, a German Marshall Memorial American Fellow, and Chair of the Oregon Health Policy Board.
FoodCorps is a nationwide team of AmeriCorps leaders who connect kids to real food and help them grow up healthy. FoodCorps places these leaders in limited-resources communities for a year of public service where they conduct hands-on food education, build and tend schoo gardens, and facilitate getting high-quality local food into public school cafeterias. Serving alongside educators and community leaders, FoodCorps members partner with schools to create a nourishing environment for all students. To learn more about FoodCorps’ work across the country, visit http://www.foodcorps.org.