Executive Director Bio

Suzan Bateson joined Alameda County Community Food Bank as executive director in April 2001, having since overseen a major transformation and expansion of services to address the needs of 1 in 6 county residents who face hunger.

During Suzan’s 12-year tenure, the Food Bank has significantly elevated its annual operating budget and food distribution to meet the growing need in Alameda County.  Under her leadership, the Food Bank has more than tripled its budget from $3.7 million to $12.3 million, more than doubled its roster of employees and doubled its food distribution to 26.6 million pounds annually.  Suzan led and successfully completed a $5 million capital campaign for the purchase of the Food Bank’s permanent home—a 118,000 square foot office and warehouse facility centrally located near Oakland International Airport. In February 2011, the Food Bank expanded its footprint within the facility by opening the one-acre Community Engagement Center, allowing for a dramatic increase in volunteer hours.

Suzan has also overseen the expansion of Food Bank capabilities, developing a systematic approach to alleviating hunger in both the near- and long-terms.  The Food Bank now boasts one of California’s most efficient emergency food helplines, a multilingual food stamp outreach program, hunger and nutrition education programs and an innovative advocacy program.

With over 20 years experience in social services and the non-profit sector, Suzan has become a nationally recognized and outspoken anti-hunger advocate.  She regularly meets with elected officials in Washington D.C. and Sacramento on issues related to hunger, including the strengthening of child nutrition programs, expanding adequacy and access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and preserving vital nutrition safety-net components such as the Emergency Food Assistance Program.

In 2005, Suzan was the first Food Bank leader in the United States to cease distribution of carbonated beverages, successfully replacing the million-pound distribution gap with farm-fresh produce.  In the six years since, the Food Bank has increased its distribution of fresh produce from 1 million to 12 million pounds annually, which accounts for more than half of food distributed.

In addition to her role with the Food Bank, Suzan volunteers with various community organizations.  She is an active member of the Board of Directors for the [California Association of Food Banks], currently serving as the organization’s audit committee chair. She was the Association’s board president from 2004 to 2006. Suzan also serves on the advisory board for [Food Day].

Prior to joining the Food Bank, Suzan served six years as executive director of the Volunteer Center of Contra Costa. She previously served as the community relations manager for the Contra Costa Food Bank.

Suzan attended California College of 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.