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Rachel Bristol, CEO, Oregon Food Bank, to retire

January 4, 2012
Rachel Bristol

After 29 years serving as a leader in anti-hunger policy and the development of a nationally recognized hunger-relief network in Oregon and southwest Washington, Rachel Bristol announced today that she will retire as CEO of Oregon Food Bank, June 30, 2012.

“Oregon Food Bank helps hundreds of thousands of hungry children and adults each year, and Rachel has played a critical role in making that happen,” said Arnie Gardner, chair of the OFB Board of Directors. “She is a tireless advocate who spearheaded development of Oregon Food Bank and has shown tremendous vision, leadership and commitment to our mission. We are grateful for her many years of service. She has created a legacy.”

Bristol joined Oregon Food Share as a VISTA volunteer in 1983 and rose to acting executive director. In 1988, she helped form Oregon Food Bank through the merger of Interagency Food Bank (serving Portland Metro) and statewide Oregon Food Share. Bristol was named Oregon Food Bank’s executive director in 1990 and designated CEO in 1995.

She has received many local and national awards for her work, including an honorary doctorate of public service from the University of Portland. In 2010, she received the Paul G. Allen Foundation’s Founders Award. In 2009, she received the Dick Goebel Public Service Award from Feeding America. That year, she also was named “Most Admired Nonprofit CEO” by the Portland Business Journal and was awarded the Distinguished Alumnus Award from University of Oregon.

Bristol led two successful capital campaigns, which allowed Oregon Food Bank to grow from a single facility of 10,000 square feet to four facilities encompassing more than 155,000 square feet. The OFB Network distributed more than 81 million throughout the OFB network in fiscal year 2011, nearly three times the amount it distributed 10 years ago.

 “I have been honored to ‘grow up’ with Oregon Food Bank and its Network, facing the challenges of a growing number of people in need and changing resources while never losing sight of our mission – to end hunger in both the short- and long-term,” Bristol said.

“The time is right for me to make this change. OFB is a healthy, strong organization with a great staff, board, thousands of dedicated volunteers and a seasoned Leadership Team. We have already exceeded most of our 2008-12 strategic goals and objectives with another year to go,” she said. “I am confident that OFB will continue to be one of the best food banks in the nation. I am very grateful for the many partners that make up the OFB community: our donors of food, fund and time;  the regional food banks and 900+ partner agencies on the front lines of hunger-relief; and local, state and national officials, agencies, educators and advocates that work with us on the root causes of hunger.”

The Oregon Food Bank Board of Directors has formed a task force to conduct a national search for a new CEO. It will host a celebration honoring Bristol’s lifetime achievements this spring. 

Oregon Food Bank is a nonprofit, charitable organization that works to help low-income families alleviate hunger and its root causes. OFB helps nearly one in five households fend off hunger by distributing food from a variety of sources through a statewide network that includes its four branches (in Beaverton, Ontario, Portland and Tillamook),16 independent regional food banks and 923 partner agencies. Oregon Food Bank also addresses the root causes of hunger through advocacy, education programs for low-income youth and adults and by bringing communities together to strengthen local and regional food systems.

Oregon Food Bank’s mission: to eliminate hunger and its root causes … because no one should be hungry.

See recent media coverage of Rachel's retirement on KGW and

Jean Kempe-Ware, public relations
503-419-4170 (o), 503-572-7588 ©

Annie Herbert, communications
503-282-0555, Ext. 2282 (o), 503-972-2996 (c)


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