JACKSONVILLE, Fla.- Thomas Mantz has been named as executive director of the Second Harvest Food Bank of North Florida.
The longtime First Coast resident comes to Second Harvest after five years as the chief operating officer at Christ Episcopal Church in Ponte Vedra Beach, where he oversaw operations and managed fundraising and construction for a $14 million building project that expanded the ministry capacity of the church. He also led a coalition that opened a free medical clinic at the Beaches to serve the working poor and homeless in that community. Prior to that, Mantz worked as executive director of the Episcopal Foundation of Florida (2002-04) and as president of the First Coast non-profit organization, Dignity U Wear Foundation, Inc. (2000-02).
After an initial 10-year career in the finance industry in Jacksonville beginning in 1982, Mantz spent the next eight years as an operations executive in the banking industry in New York and Moscow, Russia, before returning to Jacksonville in 2000. In 2000, Mantz began his career in the nonprofit arena, using the skills learned in business operations to improve social services in the Jacksonville community.
"Throughout his career, Thomas has taken existing nonprofit organizations and moved them to new heights - increasing both their services and funding dramatically to meet new visions," Second Harvest President and CEO Wayne Rieley said. "He brings strong operational and fundraising skills to Second Harvest. We are excited about having him on board and seeing the direction he will take this organization as we engage our community in Second Harvest's mission to feed hungry people."
Second Harvest provides food to more than 520 community programs such as church pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters senior citizen centers and day-care and after-school programs - helping tens of thousands of people in need in 18 north Florida counties.
In addition to its food distribution function, Second Harvest provides nutritious meals and healthy snacks to children from low-income families through community-based Kids Cafe sites and also serves as a key member of the City of Jacksonville's Emergency Operations Center in support of disaster relief efforts.
Mantz sees his role in directing the Second Harvest as two-fold: reach more families that are hungry and nutritionally compromised and raise awareness in our community about the issues surrounding hunger. He already has established a goal to increase the Food Bank's 2009 food distribution total to 10 million pounds by Jan. 1, 2010. Second Harvest moved 7.6 million pounds to its member agencies in 2008.
"Hunger and poor nutrition affect our society to a degree which most of our community is unaware," Mantz said. "A person with a compromised diet is unable to participate in our society as the rest of us do. Children cannot excel in school, and families cannot remain healthy without a proper diet. The Second Harvest Food Bank is committed to finding answers to these issues, and I am most excited and grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the solution."
Mantz currently serves in a leadership capacity for multiple nonprofit organizations, including as board president of Amistad, a Bolivian Orphanage; as board member for Beaches Medical Center; and as a member of the health services subcommittee at the Sulzbacher Center.
About Second Harvest Food Bank of North Florida
Second Harvest Food Bank of North Florida is the oldest and largest program of Lutheran Social Services of Northeast Florida. LSS was founded in 1979 by area Lutherans and business leaders to fill gaps in services offered in the community for people in need. The Food Bank gathers food from local and national sources, shares these resources with 520 nonprofit organizations in 18 north Florida counties and helps thousands of people each year who are hungry or at risk of not having being able to provide food for themselves and their families. In addition to collecting and distributing food, the Food Bank serves children in after-school programs through its Kids Cafe and in summer camps through its Summer Lunch program. It also takes Mobile Pantries filled with Family Boxes of food to people living in neighborhoods with the greatest needs and sends food home with schoolchildren for weekends and school breaks through the BackPack Program. Call 904.730.8234 for more information about any of these programs and services