Catherine D’Amato has been in the food business since her Italian-immigrant father opened a restaurant when she was eight. She’s been a leader in the nation’s food bank network for 36 years, coming to The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) as Executive Director in 1995, and named President and CEO in 1997.
Under her leadership and guidance, GBFB’s distribution of food has increased from 8 to nearly 54 million pounds of healthy food per year. Today, the organization is an $87 million charitable food business, with 530 agency partners, and a state-of-the-art food distribution warehouse in the heart of Boston. Last year, GBFB distributed enough food to provide more than 54 million healthy meals.
D’Amato’s passion for ending hunger was instilled by her hard-working father, whose modest restaurant had a policy of feeding homeless and hungry people, and whose compassion and generosity still inspire her. She believes people have a right to food, and that letting them go hungry is simply wrong. This drives her vision for GBFB, and frames her message to government, business and community leaders.
“Hunger can be solved. It will take social and political will, greater awareness and sustainable resources.”
With the support of GBFB’s dedicated board and team, and the generosity and commitment of donors and volunteers, D’Amato is leading the implementation of a new and ambitious strategic plan, to End Hunger Here, that will increase food distribution by enough to provide at least One Meal a Day to those at risk of hunger in eastern Massachusetts.
“Achieving that goal will require everyone to play their role in ending hunger in our community,” continues D’Amato. “With our member hunger-relief agencies already working beyond their capacity to meet the region’s growing hunger problem, GBFB is expanding its partnerships, and collaboration with public and private partners to provide healthy food to those in need.”
“New models are evolving to meet ever-increasing needs,” she concludes. “GBFB is expanding our capacity, growing the volume of healthy foods, working in innovative and collaborative ways with partners and supporters to drive greater impact and close the meal gap. We will do what we have to do to End Hunger Here.”
D’Amato currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Eastern Bank, Board of the Massachusetts Food Association, the Forsyth Institute, the New Market Community Partners and the Equality Fund at the Boston Foundation. She is an Emeriti Board Member for the Boston Foundation and Feeding America. D’Amato is also a guest lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Simmons College, UMass Boston, UMass Amherst and Boston University.