Feeding America Hires COO

Feeding America reached within its network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries to find its next executive vice president and chief operating officer (COO).

Katie Fitzgerald, CEO of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma for the past three years, will begin as COO on Jan. 13 in Feeding America’s Chicago, Ill. national office. The Oklahoma City-based food bank will begin a national search for its next CEO and will appoint an interim when Fitzgerald leaves until a new CEO is hired.

As COO, Fitzgerald will oversee the supply chain, equity initiatives, programs, network relations and research departments, and lead efforts to advance the organization’s strategic plan.

“Katie’s deep nonprofit management experience spans the foundation, food bank and service agency realms,” Feeding America CEO Claire Babineaux-Fontenot said in a news release announcing the appointment. “Her research and community-wide strategic planning experience serve as a foundation for her ability to leverage data and insights in the development of long-term vision and strategy,” she said.

In recent years, Feeding America had split the role of president and CEO but the position of COO re-emerged after some restructuring earlier this year, according to a spokeswoman.

Previously, Fitzgerald was president and CEO of Make-a-Wish Oklahoma. She also served as executive director at the Center for Children and Families in Norman, Okla., and director for the Women’s Leadership Initiative at the University of Oklahoma’s Carl Albert Center.

Before moving to Oklahoma, Fitzgerald was program director with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and held several leadership positions with United Way of Greater Battle Creek in Michigan. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and a maser’s degree in social work from the University of Michigan.

Feeding America is the nation’s largest domestic hunger relief organization, reporting total revenue of $2.827 billion for the fiscal year ending June 2018, including $2.637 bill in noncash contributions. It’s regularly ranked among the largest nonprofits in the United States, coming in at No. 6 on the 2018 NPT 100.