GREENSBORO, N.C.; March 10, 2021 – Members of the Board of Directors of A Simple Gesture, a Greensboro-based food collection and distribution organization, recently announced several important changes to its leadership team:
Murphy Sullivan has accepted the position Vice President & Executive Director. Her 20-plus year career helping nonprofit organizations build capacity, together with her passion for feeding hungry children and ending the trajectory of poverty for life, will be harnessed as she leads the organization into 2021. Sullivan’s background includes nonprofit operations, finance, marketing, and government affairs. She has served the Office of the United States Vice President and Department of Housing and Urban Development, represented 4,000+ businesses in Raleigh, N.C., and secured over $200.5 million.
“After three years of helping to build the capacity of A Simple Gesture – I’m thrilled to now give my full-time attention to the organization as we enter a new stage of development. Our mission is simple – to collect and provide a consistent supply of food to local food pantries and food banks every month. And with the incredible generosity of the Greensboro, High Point, and Guilford County communities, we are making a difference in the lives of children who are hungry and food insecure,” said Sullivan.
Leslie Isakoff, President & COO of A Simple Gesture, will be focusing her energy on the expansion of the agency’s national presence. She’s been with A Simple Gesture since it began. Isakoff said, “Since 2015, Greensboro and High Point have proven that A Simple Gesture’s model is effective in collecting a sustainable supply of food for local food pantries and helps ensure access to food for children and families who need it the most. To date, we have worked with about 65 other communities to start chapters and the program is easily replicable and can be tailored to fit the needs of each community. I am thrilled that we will be able to focus more time and resources on training the hungriest cities in the country on how to end hunger in their community and engage the entire city to be a part of the solution.”
Karen Brudnak-Slate joins A Simple Gesture as Outreach Coordinator for High Point. Her background in educational publishing put her in touch with children in need. She has been an active volunteer with A Simple Gesture for several years, as well as a volunteer in Guilford County Schools and the Girl Scouts. “Kids who come to school hungry can’t learn,” Karen says. “Being able to meet the basic need of making sure children have sufficient food is the very first step in helping them succeed in life. Being a part of A Simple Gesture gives me the opportunity to directly impact—and improve,” she said.
“Today, I am excited for the future of A Simple Gesture as we build on our strategy with the announcement of step changes in our leadership team and program reach. These enhancements will accelerate the work we began in six years ago to improve access to food for more children and families in Guilford County and, going forward with renewed emphasis, nationally as we extend out from our base in North Carolina,” Dave Marlin, Chair, Board of Directors for A Simple Gesture said.
Fast Facts about Guilford County Food Insecurity
Guilford County, NC is one of the hungriest places in the United States. In 2019, 19.9% of Guilford County residents had an income below the poverty level, which was 31.2% greater than the poverty level of 13.6% across the state. North Carolina is one of the top ten states for child food insecurity. Pre-pandemic, NC children were the most at risk for food insecurity. One in five were food insecure. Black and Latinx households were more than twice as likely to be food insecure than whites (NC State University, NC Child Hunger Leaders Conference 2021). The Greensboro/High Point metropolitan area has the MOST food deserts than anywhere in the United States (26 food deserts).
About A Simple Gesture
A Simple Gesture is a food collection non-profit organization in which donors fill green reusable grocery bags that are collected by volunteers and distributed to our food pantry partners. Our program has three main goals:
- To provide a regular supply of food to our hungry neighbors
- To create new neighborhood connections and strengthen our community
- To serve as a model for other communities.
A Simple Gesture’s primary goal is that no child is hungry. Our mission is to collect and provide a consistent supply of food to local food pantries and food banks every month. Since 2015, A Simple Gesture has donated over 1.5 million meals for hungry and food insecure children and families across Guilford County. We provide more than 80% of the food that several of our major food partners distribute; at no cost to them. In turn, their staff and volunteers can increase their organization’s capacity by focusing on getting the food to the children and families who need it the most. Today, there are 65 chapters of A Simple Gesture across the United States. A Simple Gesture, serving Greensboro, High Point, and Guilford County is the national headquarters. We provide instruction, training, and support for the other chapters.