Randi Shubin Dresner, Island Harvest Food Bank ,President and CEO.

Randi Shubin Dresner, Island Harvest Food Bank ,President and CEO.

Randi Shubin Dresner has been a catalyst for progress in the human service sector for over five decades.

She joined Island Harvest Food Bank in 2001 as the vice president of fundraising, and a short time later became its president and CEO.

Under her direction, Island Harvest has increased its distribution of food, products and services to help people in need by over 500%.

Randi leads a team with a shared vision of a hunger-free Long Island. Their work concentrates on tackling real-life issues by investigating and addressing the root causes of poverty, hunger and food insecurity, resulting in actionable, innovative programs.

The team continues to strengthen its network of community-based agencies, instituted equity-focused services, upgraded nutrition policy guidelines, and programming to emphasize nutrition-focused education and outreach.

In addition, Island Harvest Food Bank has formed robust advocacy efforts to advance its work, developed a Workforce Skills Development Institute, and manages an organic farm, a greenhouse, and Giving Gardens across Long Island.

The organization successfully launched a capital campaign in 2016 resulting in Island Harvest’s recent purchase of a food collection/distribution and network services center in Melville, NY.

Randi serves as an affiliate member of the New York State’s Hunger and Food Policy Council, the College Council at Farmingdale State College and the Nassau Community College Foundation Board.

She has also serves on the Suffolk County Food Policy Council, The Long Island Food Council, Charity Navigator’s Consultative Council of Nonprofit Leaders, and the Advisory Disaster Response Council for Feeding America.

Randi is an alumnus of The Energeia Partnership at Molloy College, served as Co-Chair of the State University of New York Task Force on Food Insecurity on the College Campus and chaired the Advocacy Committee for Feeding New York State.

Randi was an adjunct faculty member at Long Island University and Molloy University for 25 years and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws from St. Joseph’s College in 2013.

She serves as the host of Conversations with Randi Shubin Dresner, a podcast focused on highlighting the “good” in our communities and critical regional and national issues.

She is a regular contributor and guest speaker on the business of operating a nonprofit, managing crisis planning, programming for the human service sector and specialized topics such as “people-first” terminology and more.

Before joining Island Harvest Food Bank, Randi was a partner in a fundraising and development consulting firm, and made her mark at several nonprofit organizations, including the Heckscher Museum of Art, the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, The Viscardi Center, and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

A lifelong Long Islander, she and her partner share four adult children and four incredible grandchildren.

I have faced numerous challenges, most significantly when raising funds under trying economic conditions to continue providing supplement food support for our most vulnerable neighbors.

Market turbulence is unavoidable, and raising funds during economic uncertainty is incredibly challenging for non-profit organizations like Island Harvest. It’s a double-edged sword.

One edge of the blade is the increased demand for service because of the economic crisis’s effect on people who are already struggling to simply feed their families while meeting other challenging economic obligations like housing, clothing, medicine and other essentials bills.

The other side of the proverbial sword is that many donors, individuals and corporations alike similarly feel the pressures of a distressed economy and often temporarily cut back or eliminate charitable giving.

A positive mindset is perhaps one of the most valuable assets a fundraising professional and non-profit CEO can possess when fundraising slows and the economy falters.

During more than three decades as a fundraising professional and CEO, there are takeaways that are highly effective in supporting the critical work we do at Island Harvest when running against economic headwinds and other challenges which can also be applied in the for-profit world: build a strong brand, be mindful of costs, seek complementary partners, plan for uncertainty and see donors and investors.

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