We may be young, but we’re experienced. Our team has a combined 20+ years of food recovery and hunger fighting experience. Two of our current team members have been recognized by former President Obama for their service. Our Executive Director alone has over ten years of experience with emergency feeding systems and working on hunger policy. Learn more about our individual team members below, and get in touch with who you need to speak to.
As a nonprofit, we have a highly involved Board of Directors. It consists of our two co-founders and an outside emergency food expert. Our board is highly involved in programmatic and financial decisions. 100% of the board is involved in giving. While all three are in constant communication, all formal decisions are made at board meetings following the established bylaws. Budgets are reviewed by the board and addressed in both the board’s day-to-day interactions and informal board meetings.
Alexander Justice Moore is the Chief Development Officer at DC Central Kitchen. His book, The Food Fighters, chronicles DC Central Kitchen’s first twenty-five years on the front lines of hunger and poverty. He was appointed by DC Mayor Muriel Bowser to the inaugural DC Food Policy Council in 2016 and was named a DC Food Hero by ElevationDC in 2015. Alex holds a bachelor’s degree from Ithaca College and an M.A. from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. He has served on the MEANS Board since 2015.
Maria Rose Belding
Co-Founder/Executive Director and Board Member
As the author of more than a dozen nationally published pieces on food security and poverty, Maria Rose has also had the privilege to speak on the same issues in 25 states. Her work has not gone unnoticed, with recognition from Points of Light, L’Oreal Paris, and the Obama White House with President’s Volunteer Service awards in 2014 and 2016, along with being named a 2018 Glamour College Woman of the Year. In December 2018 at age 23, she became the youngest woman ever named a CNN Hero of the Year. Maria Rose graduated from American University in Washington, DC in May 2019, receiving a B.S. in public health while on the premed track. In her free time, she enjoys being asleep.
Grant Nelson, co-founder of MEANS Database, was responsible for building the tech side of the company. His background in coding in several languages allowed him to create the platform we use today. He was a student at George Washington University’s law school at the creation of the organization and is integral in significant decisions for the nonprofit as an active board member.
Jennifer Tu is a co-founder of Cohere LLC, a software consultancy focused on engineering leadership and education. She’s worked in roles from systems administration to product engineering for both industry giants and Series A startups. Her favorite part of each of these roles has been helping teams align to produce real, useful software that helps real users — like the people who use MEANS Database to fight hunger in their communities.
Chief Operating Officer
Sammie has worked with MEANS for more than two years, starting as an Outreach Volunteer, then becoming the Appalachian Regional Coordinator, and currently serving as Chief Operating Officer. She has a history of service with public health nonprofits both in the United States with SOS Children’s Villages and abroad with Lea Toto in Nairobi, Kenya. Sammie received the President’s Volunteer Service Award from former President Obama for her work with MEANS in 2016, and continues to work with MEANS to grow and expand its impact nationally. In her free time, Sammie loves going on runs and taking advantage of the DC restaurant scene
Senior Project Manager
Rachel started as an Outreach Intern and quickly rose through the ranks to Senior Project Manager. She conducts outreach in the Northeast, coordinates the Rhode Island Department of Health partnership, and assists the team with grant writing. As a volunteer for her local food pantry, she has the opportunity to serve 125 families every week. In her free time, she enjoys being outdoors and traveling!
Renee is a freshman at American University majoring in Journalism and Business Administration. She is joined the MEANS Team in January as a Grant Writer. Renee has volunteered with local health centers in her hometown and has previously been a lifeguard for CampDewitt. In her free time Renee enjoys reading and watching Netflix.
Social Media Coordinator
Allison is a sophomore at American University studying Business and Entertainment. She first became interested in giving back to her community through her youth groups during high school at her home in NJ. She worked both in her state with local food banks and traveled to New Orleans, LA and Houston, TX to assist with hurricane relief efforts. In her free time, she loves binge-watching tv and listening to new music.
Sahana is a sophomore at the George Washington University studying International Affairs and Arabic. She serves on the planning committee for TEDxFoggyBottom and executive board of the Indian’s Student’s Association. She joined MEANS in January of 2019 as a Grant Writer. In her free time, Sahana enjoys staying active and exploring DC.
Canada Program Coordinator
Kenna is a senior at American University studying International Relations with a minor in Economics. She is the executive director of the No Lost Generation club at her school and enjoys brushing up on her Swahili on the side of coursework. Kenna was interested in joining the MEANS team because of her involvement with her local food recovery program in her hometown in Oregon. She started as an Outreach Intern in August, focusing on expanding our network into the West Coast and Canada. In her free time, she enjoys drinking coffee and exploring DC with friends.
Oliver is a sophomore at Colgate University studying Computer Science and Economics. He started working with MEANS in high school and works as a Volunteer Developer.