The alleged Feeding Our Future scandal: more on Youth Leadership Academy

Minnesota regulators have shut down three free-food distribution networks, so far. The smallest of the three took in $21 million in its only year of operation.

The Star Tribune reported on Youth Leadership Academy earlier this month, and the remarkable rise and fall of this nonprofit agency is documented here.

The nonprofit Youth Leadership Academy was founded in November 2020 and does business as Gar Gaar Family Services. It operated a network of 30 free-food distribution sites around the state under the national Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). The network reportedly served 7 million meals in less than a year of operating. The local agency overseeing SFSP and the year-round Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is the state Department of Education (MDE).

MDE reportedly shut down the Youth Leadership Academy a month before the FBI raids on Feeding Our Future. Neither Youth nor any of its network nonprofits are named in the FBI search warrants. MDE cited the Youth Leadership Academy for mismanaging its finances, not for fraud.

In fact, not one person has been arrested or indicted in the alleged scandal. Everyone involved has denied any and all wrongdoing.

Youth Leadership Academy claimed a capacity to serve up to 56,000 children per day. Of the network’s 30 locations throughout the state, their largest sites in each of the cities of Faribault, Rochester, and Owatonna were operated by the nonprofit Somali Community Resettlement Services. In fact, as shown below, this nonprofit also operated sites for the now-suspended Partners in Nutrition network, under the CACFP, at those same three locations and others in Minneapolis and Willmar.

Somali Community Resettlement Services operated a site said to be capable of serving 2,600 children per day at its Minneapolis headquarters, shown below on Minnehaha Avenue—

Another address that jumps out is 3355 Hiawatha Avenue in Minneapolis. As it turns out, there were three free-food distribution sites at this address registered under CACFP, all sponsored by Partners in Nutrition.

The Open Arms Early Education and Child Care Center is located at the 3355 address and has a maximum capacity of 177 children at their facility. However, for free-food purposes, the MDE database shows the location as capable of feeding up to 3,000 children per day. The Somali American Peace Council is a nonprofit based in Washington, DC. Minnesota records indicate that its local office is in Eagan.

The many businesses located at the 3355 Hiawatha address (an office building) include a car and truck rental agency, a home health care company, and a travel agency. The address is also home to Minnesota Care Counseling Services (a partner of Somali Community Resettlement) and a company with the delightful name Nomadic Frankincense & Myrrh, Inc.

Here is the building—

Another nomadic company has wandered five miles across town and across the river to set up shop at 651 Taft St. NE. That is the headquarters of a company named Nomadic Properties LLC. The company was incorporated in November 2020, but in February 2021, Nomadic purchased the building at 651 Taft St. NE for $1.4 million, according to Hennepin County Property Records.

The address, 651 Taft St. NE, is the headquarters of Youth Leadership Academy. Other businesses located at the address include Minnesota Care Counseling Services.

It’s a new location for MN Care, and the grand opening was presided over by the Mayor of Minneapolis himself, Jacob Frey—

The deeper you dig, the more coincidences you find.