Management Profiles

Suzan Bateson, Executive Director
Suzan W. Bateson has been the Executive Director of Alameda County Community Food Bank since 2001. During this time, the Food Bank has nearly quadrupled its budget from $3.7 million to $13.5 million, doubled its roster of employees and doubled its annual food distribution to 29 million pounds. She was the first Food Bank leader in the nation to ban the distribution of carbonated beverages (2005), promising her board of directors that she would replace the million-pound loss in distribution with farm-fresh produce. Since Bateson’s pledge in 2005, the Food Bank has increased its distribution of produce from 1 million to 16.7 million pounds annually, which accounts for nearly 60% of the total food distributed. Bateson serves as board chair of the California Association of Food Bank and is that board’s former president. Suzan is a member of Feeding America’s Policy Engagement and Advocacy Committee (PEAC) advisory committee. Suzan also serves on the advisory committees for Food Day and Junior League of Oakland-East Bay. Bateson attended California College of the Arts and was a participant in the Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. She lives in Moraga with her husband, John.
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Barbara Darrow-Blake, Chief Development Officer

Barbara joined the Food Bank as director of development and marketing in 2006 and has 20 years’ experience in nonprofit fund development and marketing/business development in the for-profit healthcare industry. As Chief Development Officer, she is responsible for leading the Food Bank’s fundraising and marketing initiatives. Her development team is responsible for individual and institutional giving, major gifts, marketing/communications, corporate partnerships, planned giving and special events. She also oversees a variety of community engagement initiatives through the Food Bank’s volunteer and food drive programs. Barbara received her B.A. from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Marcy Jacobs, Director of Human Resources
Marcy recently joined the Food Bank as Director of Human Resources in 2014. She has over 14 years of management, accounting and human resources experience in both private sector and nonprofit organizations in the Bay Area and Phoenix metro areas. Previously, Marcy worked at KIPP Bay Area Schools, where she managed the human resources and payroll operations for 9 public charter schools throughout the SF Bay Area. She holds a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) designation from the Human Resources Certification Institute, a B.A. in political science from the University of California at Los Angeles, an M.B.A. from University of Phoenix and an ABA Paralegal Certification from California State University, East Bay. She is an active member of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) and the Northern California Human Resources Association (NCHRA).
Sam LaVanaway, Director of Information Technologies

Sam came to the Food Bank in 2015 bringing deep IT experience in the private, consulting, government and non-profit sectors to the newly created Director of Information Technology position. A local resident for over 15 years, Sam worked for Alameda County Housing Authority, the State Legislative Data Center and private sector companies including Xerox, Bank of America, Cisco, Oracle, and Neopost to align information systems with strategic goals and manage critical projects. He has a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from Notre Dame de Namur University, is on the board for two nonprofits organizations and is involved with the Point Blue Farallon Patrol.
Erick Lovdahl, Director of Operations

Erick has been a part of the Food Bank’s work for more than 20 years. He began as a volunteer back in 1995, was hired shortly after and has continuously assumed greater responsibilities over the years. He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of the food banks history and growth. He was instrumental in overseeing the growth of the Food Bank’s farm-fresh produce distribution as it has increased from 1.2 million pounds in 2005 to almost 18 million pounds this past year. Erick became director of operations in FY2011 and has successfully integrated many new programs including the Mobile Pantry and Grocery Rescue Programs. Erick and his team are responsible for acquiring, storing and distributing the 34 million pounds of food that will go out to 240 partner agencies and direct distribution sites this year.
Artrese Morrison, Director of Special Projects

Artrese joined the Food Bank in May 2016 as Director of Special Projects. Previously she worked for Project Open Hand for 16 years, where she held the position of Executive Vice President. She has more than twenty years of expertise managing government and nonprofit programs in leadership roles. Known as a dynamic leader who inspires and develops people, a respected and accomplished activator who consistently communicates a clear vision and strategy for reaching goals, and an engaging relationship builder who develops authentic and collaborative working relationships to unify people and inspire innovative ideas. She received her B.A. from Dickinson College.
Allison Pratt, Chief of Partnerships and Strategy
Allison has been working as director of policy and services since 2005. In this position she implements the Food Bank’s public policy agenda, which includes working closely with elected officials and their staff to improve programs that address the root causes of hunger and poverty. Additionally, she works with local and state-wide groups, including the California Hunger Action Coalition, to further the anti-hunger message, and empower community members to become advocates.Prior to joining the Food Bank, Allison worked as a lobbyist for the California Tax Reform Association, which advocates for a more progressive state-wide system of taxation and coordinated a state-wide initative campaign. Allison’s past professional experiences also include media and government relations for nonprofit organizations and foundations in Washington, D.C. Allison received her B.A. in economics from the University of California at Davis and her M.P.P. from American University.
Amy Prescott Donovan, Chief Financial Officer
Amy joined the Food Bank as director of finance in 2007. She has 20 years as a finance professional in nonprofit organizations. As the organization’s Chief Financial Officer, she oversees finance, human resources, and information technology planning. Strategic resource management is the overarching theme of her work, which includes balancing financial, personnel, technology, and other assets to support the organization’s mission. Previously, Amy served as the senior financial analyst at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art where she monitored the museum’s annual budget, museum store purchasing, endowment funds and federal grants. She holds a B.S. in business administration from the University of California at Riverside and a Masters in Public and Private Management from Yale School of Management. She has also worked with San Francisco Works, the San Francisco Symphony and the Exploratorium.