Rochester’s Supportive Guidance: Another unrelated casualty of the Feeding Our Future scandal

A lot of nonprofits were caught in the undertow of the Feeding Our Future scandal. The nonprofit Supportive Guidance of Rochester was founded in 2017. The nonprofit never did business with Feeding Our Future, but finds itself unable to continue its extensive free-food efforts.

The nonprofit has never been named in any FBI search warrants or indictments in the case. It has not been accused of wrongdoing by anyone.

According to filings at the IRS, Supportive Guidance is in good standing and up-to-date on its tax returns. The nonprofit also has offices in New Hope and Roseville.

A photo of its Rochester headquarters.

The nonprofit’s food operation boasts of serving up to 5,000 children per week. The nonprofit operated a number of distribution sites around the state.

Supportive Guidance hosted 10 free-food distribution sites around the state in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). These sites were under the sponsorship of Partners in Nutrition. Under the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), Supportive Guidance acted as its own sponsor and boasted four sites. These locations offered once-a-week distribution of bundled meals, as depicted on the nonprofit’s website and Facebook page.

Supportive’s operations under the SFSP alone earned the group more than $820,000 in reimbursements in 2021.

It’s the Partners in Nutrition sites that have caused the problem for Supportive Guidance. Both CACFP and SFSP are overseen in Minnesota by the state Department of Education (MDE). In the wake of the Feeding Our Future FBI raids back in January, MDE also suspended the operations of program sponsor Partners in Nutrition, d/b/a Partners in Quality Care.

Partners in Nutrition is suing MDE in both state and Federal court for reinstatement to the program. Supportive Guidance has invoices dating back to January 2022 under Partners that remain unpaid by MDE. The invoices cover four Supportive locations: in Minneapolis, New Hope, Redby, and Rochester.

The nominal reason given by MDE is that those sites are registered as self-preparers of food, while the invoices are from a food vendor. MDE does not specify the name(s) of the vendor(s), but the nonprofit’s SFSP registrations list two vendors. The two vendors were founded in late 2020 and early 2021, respectively.

Coincidentally, one of the food vendors is based at an address, 4020 Minnehaha Avenue in Minneapolis, that we profiled earlier this year, in conjunction with an unrelated nonprofit.

Through the Partners lawsuit, Supportive Guidance is seeking reinstatement for its participation in the CACFP.