By Todd Cohen
RALEIGH, N.C. — Jane Cox is stepping down as president and CEO of the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina after nine years in the job.
The Raleigh-based Food Bank plans to name an interim director at least a week before Cox leaves May 31 to become a managing director at Leadership Forum Inc., a Durham-based international consulting practice where she will work with nonprofit and government clients.
Marilyn Forbes, board chair, says the Food Bank will conduct a national search for a new president and CEO.
“We are facing a huge challenge as the need for food increases,” says Forbes, a partner at law firm Womble Carlyle.
Cox says the Food Bank is focusing “not just on getting people more food but making sure they have better quality food for their families.”
The Food Bank, for example, is working with the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to improve nutrition for chronically-ill people in the 34 counties it serves.
The Food Bank also is working to regionalize its fundraising.
Cox says the Food Bank still needs to raise $200,000 in the fiscal year that began July 1.
Since she joined the Food Bank in 1998, its annual budget has gown to over $6.2 million from $1 million, the amount of food it distributes each year has grown to over 31 million pounds from roughly 7.5 million, and the network of partner agencies it serves has grown to nearly 900 food pantries, shelters and emergency feeding sites from 500.
The Food Bank also grown from operating a main warehouse in Raleigh with one branch in Pinehurst to a network of five fully-functioning food bank warehouses in Raleigh, Durham, Greenville, Southern Pines and Wilmington.
The Food Bank says over 400,000 people in the region it serves are at risk of hunger, nearly 30 percent of them children and 18 percent of them elderly.
“We are incredibly indebted to Jane for the tremendous energy that she has brought to the growth of the Food Bank and its services,” Forbes said in a statement.