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 four 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
Allie is a returning MEANS staffer who was inspired by the COVID-19 crisis to act. She originally joined MEANS in 2015 and after a short hiatus has come back to help move food to those who need it. In her free time she enjoys playing with her dog and exploring.
Senior Project Manager
Julia is a rising senior at American University studying Marketing and International Business. She joined MEANS three years ago as Outreach Intern and quickly rose to become a Senior Project Manager. Julia handles corporate partnerships and outreach programs for MEANS. She has an extensive background in community service, previously working for the American Red Cross and Speak Up, a local organization in Pennsylvania. Julia is very passionate about closing the gap of food insecurity and finds joy in working with her amazing team every week. In her free time she enjoys being outdoors and painting.
Allison is a rising junior at American University studying Business and Entertainment. She joined MEANS in early 2019 as an outreach intern and quickly rose to become the Marketing Director at MEANS. In this position she manages the social media accounts and brand management for MEANS. 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.
Senior Project Manager
Hannah is a junior at American University studying finance and entrepreneurship. She began working at MEANS almost two years ago as an Outreach Intern and now accompanies the management team as a Senior Project Manager. She oversees operations and partnerships on the West Coast and the Donor Engagement Program. Hannah began her work in non-profits at HiTOPS as a peer educator, teaching pregnancy prevention, STI prevention, and homophobia reduction to middle schoolers and high schoolers. In her free time, she loves trying new restaurants in DC, learning about up and coming startups and going to yoga!
Renee is a sophomore at American University majoring in Journalism and Business Administration. She joined the MEANS Team in January 2019 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.
Deisha is a sophomore at The George Washington University studying international affairs and Spanish with a concentration in international development and global public health. Following her passion for human rights and community empowerment, Deisha joined the MEANS team for their innovative approach and dedicated mission. In her spare time, Deisha enjoys cooking, exploring the DC food scene, and keeping up to date with international affairs.
Sahana is a rising junior 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 writing intern. In her free time, Sahana enjoys going for runs and listening to music.
Junior Project Manager and Developer
Alexa is a junior at Robinson Secondary School who has worked with MEANS since she was 14. She became interested in solving hunger issues after volunteering with her 4-H club at many local food pantries and soup kitchens. In her free time, she rewatches Stranger Things on Netflix and binges microwave popcorn.
Outreach and Development Intern
Bea is a Junior at Case Western Reserve University studying Stage Management, Computer Science, and Political Science. She joined MEANS after meeting our founder Maria Rose and getting drawn into the idea of a world with less hungry people and less wasted food. She joined the MEANS team this summer and is working on outreach as well as development. In her free time, she loves to bake and cook, as well as reading and learning to play the bass.
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. His contributions to the code base have been very valuable and we love having him as a returning intern every summer.
Junior Project Manager
Grace just graduated High School and plans on majoring in music therapy at the University of Evansville in the fall. She has helped with summer lunch programs and biked over 700 miles to raise awareness of food insecurity and world hunger. Grace became interested in working with MEANS after she attended ELCA youth gathering. In her free time, Grace enjoys playing music and going to concerts.
Sóley Ólafsdóttir is a rising junior at Trevor Day School in New York, who started working with MEANS this year when she was 15. After working 3 summers and winters at a bakery in Iceland which often had leftovers and tried its best to find recipients for those leftovers she became interested in finding a way to make excess food exchange easier. When she found MEANS Database she knew she had hit the jackpot. She is now working to expand MEANS to Iceland this summer. In her free time, Sóley enjoys running, learning, and hanging out with her family and friends.
Junior Project Manager
Emily is a rising Junior at Virginia Tech studying Nutrition, Psychology, and Spanish. This will be her second summer working with MEANS. She started as an Outreach Intern for Summer 2019 and returned to help manage new projects in April of 2020. In her free time, Emily enjoys being involved in Marching Band and Basketball Pep Band at Virginia Tech, as well as watching old sitcom reruns.
Michael is a rising senior in the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. Joining MEANS this summer, Michael will be assisting with outreach and various projects. Michael first became involved with nonprofits in 2019, as an intern for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, where he helped with the organization’s grassroots campaigns. In his free time, Michael enjoys exploring DC but is more likely watching the West Wing.
Evie Scott is a rising senior in high school. She is in the Global Ecology Program at Poolesville High School in Montgomery County, Maryland. She is the student director for the theatre program at her high school and she loves painting and being outside.