Alex accepts a check from Mill River High School Students

Alex accepts a check from Mill River High School Students, who raised money to provide holiday meals for their community.

In today’s blog, Alex Bornstein, Chief Operations Officer at the Vermont Foodbank, writes about the importance of setting and communicating organizational goals.

The Vermont Foodbank is constantly striving to increase our impact on hunger in Vermont via service expansion, increased food distribution, and general support for our community partners and network partners statewide. One way we ensure that we’re always moving forward is to set aggressive organizational and departmental goals so that all Foodbank staff can track our progress and work towards the same positive outcomes.

The Foodbank is a goal-driven organization with all departments creating and sharing their annual goals with all Foodbank staff. Providing concise, regularly scheduled updates on progress towards goals has resulted in a significant increase in transparency and enhanced understanding of Foodbank activities by our staff statewide.

Why is it important to set and communicate goals?
• Setting and working towards aggressive goals results in operational excellence and mission fulfillment.
• Goal setting and communication stimulates discussion and cooperation across all Foodbank departments.
• Setting and achieving goals helps us tell the Foodbank’s story.

Within the operations team, we adjust our food procurement and acquisition strategies, as well as evaluate unexpected acquisition opportunities, based primarily on utilizing all Foodbank physical resources statewide, but with an eye towards the impact those decisions will have on achieving our goals.

Let’s take a look at the Foodbank’s progress towards some key operational goals during the first two months of fiscal year 2016:
• Overall pounds distributed have increased by 20% (Goal: 10%)
• Overall produce pounds distributed have increased by 15% (Goal: 15%)
• Preventable food waste (food waste generated by Foodbank facilities that we deem to be preventable if all procedures are followed correctly) have decreased by 78% (Goal: -36%).
• Pounds distributed via our VeggieVanGo mobile food pantry service (affordable housing and healthcare) have increased by 130% (Goal: 46%), and we’ve conducted 200% more distributions year to date when compared to FY15 (Goal: 56%).
• Pounds acquired by our Retail Agency Partners (RPAs) from major Vermont retailers have increased 264% (Goal: 50%), infusing our network of food pantries with consistent sources of diverse, quality products.

12004706_10153094731645869_2831561782431136637_nIf the current trends continue, we’ll adjust our goals upwards accordingly. These increases are on top of significant increases in all operational metrics during the previous two fiscal years.

The Foodbank’s success is due to the great support we receive from individual and corporate donors, the assistance we receive from hundreds of volunteers, and our incredible staff members. While pounds distributed only tells one part of the story, it’s an important piece of the puzzle as the Vermont Foodbank works to provide support to 1 in 4 Vermonters.

Do you have questions about how the Vermont Foodbank operates? Consider leaving a comment or contact us directly at