Behind the scenes in the early days of Feeding Our Future
A public records data request shines some light on the origins of the free-food nonprofit Feeding Our Future.
The Minnesota-based group Public Record Media (PRM) recently received a batch of documents from the state Attorney General’s office (AG) related to Feeding Our Future. The AG’s office is the state agency with oversight responsibility over Minnesota nonprofits.
On December 8, PRM posted links to these documents on its Twitter account. PRM redacted some identifying information, such as home addresses and phone numbers. Collectively, these documents outline a story from Feeding’s foundation in 2016 through the end of September 2020.
Feeding Our Future was incorporated in November 2016 by future CEO Aimee Bock and two of her colleagues at the free-food nonprofit Partners in Nutrition, d/b/a Partners in Quality Care. These same three individuals would be listed as the members of the nonprofit’s board as recently as late 2019. None of the three are listed on the roster of the current board of directors.
In less than two years, the nonprofit went from zero to annual revenue of $2.5 million. Over the next year, the company exploded to annual revenue of more than $200 million, only to vanish in January 2022 in the wake of the now-famous FBI raids.
The correspondence between the AG and Feeding Our Future, included in the documents provided, involved the nonprofit’s failure to file annual paperwork to maintain current registration with the state. In October 2021, the nonprofit was years behind on paperwork, despite operating a company with annual revenue then in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
In 2020, the nonprofit’s tax-exempt status was briefly suspended by the IRS for failure to file tax returns.
The nonprofit didn’t file the missing paperwork with the AG until January 28, 2022, a week after the FBI raids. On February 25, the company would file its intent to dissolve with the Secretary of State.
Feeding Our Future’s fiscal year 2018 tax return (Form 990) shows no activity. The fiscal year 2018, 2019, and 2020 returns were all prepared during the period from July through September 2021. The accountant used for the 2019 return is based in California.
The 2019 and 2020 tax returns each show annual revenue of $2.5 million. In each year, the nonprofit reports total labor expenses of less than $300,000 and no expenses for accounting or legal costs. It hardly appears to have been staffed at a level commensurate with being a multi-million-dollar corporation, much less the one 100 times that size that it would soon become.
In neither year did assets exceed liabilities for tax purposes. The company owned a total of $6,700 in furniture and equipment during this period.
Virtually all of the company’s revenue was from the federal free-food programs, the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).
Separate financial statements submitted to the AG show considerably more revenue for fiscal year 2020. These statements show annual revenue of $9.2 million. No reconciliation between the financial statement and the concurrent tax return was provided.
No returns or statements for fiscal years 2021 or 2022 have been filed.
A letter from the AG’s office dated October 2022 indicates that the nonprofit is no longer in compliance, having failed to provide financial data for 2021.