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June 2, 2020

Nourishing Minds in the United States: Delivering Abundance to Those in Need, with Love

University of California, Berkeley

Goldman School of Public Policy













University of California, Berkeley mid-career Masters in public policy student at the Goldman School provided context for an impact assessment of a new school pantry program that aims to transform the lives of single mothers and families and serve as a template for relieving hunger in the United States through  White Pony Express (WPE), designated by the State of California as one of its Non-profits of the Year 2018. 



WPE has a goal of “helping to eliminate hunger and poverty by delivering the abundance all around us to those in need – with love.” In just 6.5 years, its “circle of giving” model has delivered over 11M pounds of nutritious, fresh food that would otherwise have gone to waste. WPE's volunteer-powered model continues to be on the frontier of the “surplus” industry, changing the way people think about waste, and addressing poverty in innovative, replicable ways.


There is groundbreaking new CA legislation in process, advancing this theme of unity, creating legal requirements for the WPE mission “all of us taking care of all of us” to come to life. SB 1383 – reducing the amount of food going into landfills – emphasizes the diversion of edible food to those who need it. California is the first state to pass such a law. County agencies and major medical institutions in Contra Costa County within the San Francisco Bay Area have approached WPE to help implement these progressive regulations, and are looking to them to help forge the template.


Deliverables and Impact

As WPE expands, a key strategic goal for 2019-2020 is to develop better metrics to measure its impact, both quantitatively and qualitatively. WPE needs a study of impact to scale and share its groundbreaking model, and to pivot strategy if appropriate.


The University of California, Berkeley’s team’s research will help refine WPE’s programs to serve thousands of more people in need with efficiency and heart, enabling a sustainable, replicable model to create systemic change. Deliverables of this study include a written report for WPE that will be published by the United Nations (UNITAR) and an oral presentation to WPE featuring project results and recommendations. The resulting paper is a think piece on mapping food insecurity in America. 

Key Recommendations

The University of California, Berkeley study provides key recommendations to California-based non-profit that specializes in food rescue, White Pony Express, on strengthening their food rescue program operations and the wider community of stakeholders, including establishing a regular protocol for data collection through quarterly-issued survey questionnaires as a monitoring and evaluation tool and showcasing their communal impact more visibly though storytelling to generate human interest for its communications outreach. Additionally, the study recommends stakeholder analyses and mapping as a precursor to implementing a Basic Income model in the United States. White Pony Express is incorporating these recommendations into its strategic plan and will be developing a new impact study for the coming year as a result.

Project Blog - Nourishing Minds


The study has been fascinating to look through and to greater understand, and I think that what it highlighted for me is while the world food program is feeding at any given time 100 million people around the world, we are not operating in the United States, and, like most UN agencies, must be invited to participate in any kind of a crisis in any country…but the trends are similar: women eat least and they eat less in any food crisis.



Wendy Rhein

Chief of Staff,

World Food Program USA


“The study really reinforces a lot of what Food Tank has highlighted...that we have enough food to feed everyone who is alive today, and probably up to 2 billion more, the problem has always been with inequity and distribution of food.”




Danielle Nierenberg

President and Founder,

Food Tank


The Report

Mapping Food Security in America: An Analysis Through White Pony Express' Food Rescue Programme

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Distinguished Speakers for our Virtual Event:

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Erica Brooks, Chief Growth Officer, White Pony Express


Erica Brooks is the Chief Growth Officer at White Pony Express (WPE), a Contra Costa County-based nonprofit she co-developed, dedicated to building a volunteer-powered “circle of giving” model for pooling and sharing community surplus. WPE’s mission is to help eliminate hunger and poverty by redistributing the abundance all around us to those in need – with love. In just 6 years, WPE has rescued 11M pounds of food, and redistributed 500,000+ items of new and like-new clothing, shoes, books & toys. 


Previously, she worked for the groundbreaking international water nonprofit, charity: water, where she spent 4 years in NYC, helping scale the organization’s funding and creative marketing campaigns to raise $100M, and serve 3M people with clean, safe drinking water. Following charity: water, Erica co-developed, where her team built the first online fundraising platform dedicated solely to girls and women. The project raised $3M and funded 207 projects in 59 countries in year one. 


Erica holds a BA in Philosophy and Anthropology from Boston University, and a professional certificate in Social Entrepreneurship and Corporate Philanthropy from NYU-SCPS. She continues her work in the San Francisco Bay area and in Myrtle Beach, SC, expanding WPE’s partnerships, and innovating the surplus-to-need template.


S. Bundgaard, University of California, Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy


Ms. Bundgaard has almost two decades of expertise as a human rights, humanitarian, and development specialist in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. She has been at the forefront of many of the conflicts defining our time and understands the challenges and complexities of program and policy implementation in complex and fragile settings, as well as a developed nation context. In various senior management roles, she has designed, managed, and implemented innovative projects and programs for many of the leading, global humanitarian and development organizations. These programs targeted: protection of the civilian mandate under international law; human rights; education; health; good governance/rule of law; policy reform; disaster management; civil military relations; gender justice and child rights.


Growing up between Asia, Europe, and Africa, learning and speaking several languages simultaneously, and having friends with comparable multicultural backgrounds has allowed Ms. Bundgaard to see herself – first and foremost – as a global citizen. 


When she is not hiking up mountains, or cycling the Himalayas in northern Pakistan, she is reading Murakami somewhere in Copenhagen.

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Jean C. Buzby, Ph.D  USDA Food Loss and Waste Liaison


Dr. Jean Buzby has worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (USDA/ERS) for over 25 years.  She is currently on detail to USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist as the USDA Food Loss and Waste Liaison.  Since 2013, Dr. Buzby has been the Branch Chief of the Diet, Safety, and Health Economics Branch in the ERS’ Food Economics Division.  She is domestically and internationally known for her estimates of food loss at the retail and consumer levels in the United States.  Dr. Buzby received her Ph.D. and M.S. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Kentucky.  She received a B.S. from the Pennsylvania State University. 

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Aliza Eliazarov, Photographer & Author


Aliza is a photographer and author making creative portraiture, conceptual still life and long term documentary images.  With a focus on animals, farming and food, she has worked with leading farmers, restaurants and companies to create compelling and memorable imagery for her clients. Aliza is most recently known for her work for the award winning publication Modern Farmer Magazine from 2015- 2018 and BarkBox, where she was lead photographer.  For the past year, Aliza has been working on her first book On the Farm: Heritage & Heralded Animal Breeds in Portraits & Stories, published by Ten Speed Press (to be released November 2020). Three 2021 calendars of her portraits will also be published by Workman Press.

Aliza was the 2017 Prescott Visiting Artist at Miss Porter's School in Farmington, Connecticut. She is a contributor to Modern Farmer Magazine, which won the 2017  Association of Magazine Media Award for excellence in a special interest publication. Her series on Draft Horses for Modern Farmer won a SPG Award.   Aliza's portraits of alpacas won a Photography 32 Award as well as the Grand Prize in Rangefinder Magazine's Best Friends Animal Photography Contest. 

In her prior life, Aliza was a teacher and park ranger. She taught elementary and middle school in Boston and LA.  Before that, she worked and lived in several National Parks including Glacier, Lake Mead and the Boston Harbor Islands. 

Aliza is a graduate of the  Photojournalism and Documentary Photography program at The International Center of Photography, holds masters degrees in both Creative Arts in Education and Elementary Education from Lesley,  and a BS in Natural Resource Management and Engineering from The University of Connecticut. She attended the Eddie Adams Workshop and interned in the LIFE Magazine Picture Collections.

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Patrick Holden, Founder and Chief Executive, Sustainable Food Trust 


Patrick Holden is the founder and chief executive of the Sustainable Food Trust, an organisation founded in 2012 and working internationally to accelerate the transition to more sustainable food systems.  Prior to this he was director of the Soil Association (until 2010) during which time his advocacy and campaigning for more sustainable food systems was underpinned through the development of the organic standards and market-place.

His farming experience spans nearly 50 years, centred on Holden Farm Dairy, now the longest established organic dairy farm in West Wales, where he produces Hafod cheese from the milk of his 80 Ayrshire cows.

He was awarded a CBE for services to organic farming in 2005, is Patron of the UK Biodynamic Farming Association and was elected an Ashoka Fellow in 2016.

Patrick is a regular writer, broadcaster, and speaker at public events.

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Carla Mucavi, Director, FAO Liaison Office in New York


Carla Mucavi is a national of Mozambique and a career diplomat. She took office as Director of the FAO Liaison Office to the United Nations in New York in August 2015.

She has previously served in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Mozambique under different functions, including as Chief of Cabinet of the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mozambique to Italy, Greece and Malta. Carla was also Mozambique's Permanent Representative to FAO, the World Food Programme, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development. 

Today she oversees FAO’s contribution to discussions and decision-making carried out in the United Nations (UN) about sustainable development, resilience building and sustaining peace, as well as UN coordination, coherence and reform. Carla also represents FAO at various intergovernmental meetings, notably meetings of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), as well as related committees, functional commissions, and subsidiary bodies.

Carla holds a Bachelor in International Relations (Mozambique Institute for Higher Studies in International Relations) and a Master in Cooperation and Development Planning (University La Sapienza).

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Danielle Nierenberg,  President and Founder, Food Tank


In 2013, Danielle Nierenberg co-founded Food Tank with Bernard Pollack, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization focused on building a global community for safe, healthy, nourished eaters. Food Tank is a global convener, research organization, and non-biased creator of original research impacting the food system.

Danielle also conducts extensive on-the-ground research, traveling to more than 70 countries across sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. She has met with thousands of farmers and farmers’ groups, scientists and researchers, policymakers and government leaders, students and academics, as well as journalists, documenting what’s working to help alleviate hunger and poverty while protecting the environment.

Danielle speaks at more than 100 events per year, including major conferences and events all over the world. These events include SXSW, TED, The World Food Prize/Borlaug Dialogues, American College of Lifestyle Medicine Conference, James Beard Foundation Leadership Awards, Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition’s International Forum on Food and Nutrition, Edible Institute, Milan Urban Food Pact Awards, Aspen Institute Environment Forum, the European Commission, the Chicago Council Global Food Security Symposium, National Geographic’s Food Forum, the Sustainable Food Summit, the Hilton Humanitarian Awards, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Global Forum and Expo on Family Farming, New York Times Food for Tomorrow, BITE, and many others.

Danielle has an M.S. in Agriculture, Food, and Environment from the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and spent two years volunteering for the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic.

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Annie Potts, Actress


Anne Potts is an American actress. She was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Corvette Summer and won a Genie Award for Heartaches , before appearing in GhostbustersPretty in PinkJumpin' Jack FlashWho's Harry Crumb?, and Ghostbusters II. She also voiced Bo Peep in the Disney and Pixar animated films Toy StoryToy Story 2, and Toy Story 4.

Potts is also known for playing Mary Jo Jackson Shively on the CBS sitcom Designing Women (1986–1993). She went on to be nominated for a 1994 Primetime Emmy Award for playing Dana Palladino on the CBS sitcom Love & War (1993–1995), and was nominated for Screen Actors Guild Awards in 1998 and 1999 for playing Mary Elizabeth Sims in the Lifetime drama series Any Day Now (1998–2002). Her other television credits include GCB (2012), The Fosters (2013–2018), and Young Sheldon (2017–present).

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Wendy Rhein, Chief of Staff, World Food Program USA


Wendy Rhein is World Food Program USA’s Chief of Staff, leading the strategic plan and its implementation, overseeing organizational culture and managing the President’s office.  She also serves as board liaison and Corporate Secretary.

Wendy is a life-long nonprofit professional who has always worked for causes critical to social justice and building a global community. A graduate of the University of Michigan and Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, Wendy has spent much of her career in development with large and small organizations leading on large development and communications campaigns, foundation giving, major gifts, special events, and corporate support.

Wendy has created a niche in organizational change and strategic planning, board transformation, and building new departments and teams. Most recently, Wendy was the Managing Director for UNICEF USA in Washington DC, and previous to that role served as Chief Strategy & Engagement Officer for the Points of Light Foundation. She created the first private fundraising programs at the Legal Services Corporation and led development, marketing and communications for the immigrant rights organization the Catholic Legal Immigration Network. She also served as Chief of Staff for UNICEF USA.

An avid volunteer, Wendy serves on the boards of directors for Challah for Hunger and the Freedom Network USA and is actively involved in her synagogue as chair of the Youth Committee.

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