William (Bill) J. Clark

President and Executive Director Philabundance, Philadelphia, PA

Biographical Sketch
As President and Executive Director of Philabundance, Bill Clark oversees the region’s largest hunger relief organization. Previously, he spent 30 years in the food industry, serving as senior product manager at Swift & Company, a director of marketing for Land O’ Frost, Inc, and a consulting partner at Resources, Inc., a Chicago-based marketing and new product firm where he implemented corporate branding initiatives for several clients including Beatrice Foods, Keebler, and ConAgra Foods.

In 1984, Clark founded his own food manufacturing company, W. J. Clark and Co. that produced and marketed five lines of specialty foods. In 1996, he sold his interests to a large national food company. He then worked as an independent consultant to a number of marketing firms until becoming the assistant to the president of W. Atlee Burpee Company, the country’s oldest seed and garden supply company.

In 2005, Clark oversaw the integration of Philabundance and the Greater Philadelphia Food Bank, which positioned Philabundance as the largest hunger relief organization in the region. That same year, he directed the organization’s response to the hurricane disaster that struck the Gulf Coast, delivered approximately half a million pounds of food to the affected areas within a month of the disaster. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Finance with a BS degree in Economics.

Presentation Summary
Philabundance is a nonprofit organization founded in 1984 to reduce food waste and fight hunger in the Delaware Valley. In 2005, we integrated our services with the Philadelphia Food Bank to become the region’s largest nonprofit hunger relief organization.

We work with a network of agencies to identify the types of food that the community needs and then secure product to meet the demand. This includes not only core items that households use on a regular basis but also quality foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables that promote good health. Philabundance solicits wholesalers, retailers, food brokers, food distributors and the food industry for donated product. We also utilize food drives and donations.

We are increasingly turning to the farming community for fresh produce. Last year, we successfully secured about 300,000 lbs. of peaches that otherwise would have gone to waste. We expect this aspect of food acquisition to increase at Philabundance. Our organization also receives food from the government and purchases necessary products at discounted bulk rates.

In 2008, we distributed 17 million pounds of food in our service area. The food was distributed through our network of close to 600 member agencies in the Delaware Valley. These agencies include food cupboards, neighborhood distributions, shelters, emergency kitchens and various social service agencies with special programs such as daycares and senior centers that serve those in need.

The effects of the recession on our operation have been profound. Food donations are down. Inventory such as dented cans that we normally would receive from retail outlets are now frequently retained and sold at discount bins. As a result, we must purchase more food than before.

On the consumer side, we are seeing more middle income families visiting our outletsd. An interesting pattern has developed Folks from well-to-do communities such as Radnor tend to drive to another community where they are not known in order to access food.

Philabundance provides food when disaster strikes. During the Hurricane Katrina aftermath, Philabundance was the fourth largest provider of food to the Gulf.

Philabundance is supported by contributions from individuals, corporations, businesses, foundations, and religious and civic groups. Food donations account for approximately 90 percent of the food we deliver. Purchased food and government commodities account for the remaining 4 percent.

In an effort to provide wide-ranging views and perspectives regarding the practice of and issues surrounding agriculture, the Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture (PSPA) seeks speakers representing a variety of perspectives. The statements and opinions they present are strictly their own and do not necessarily represent the views of PSPA.