Nearly 1 in 10 Americans face food insecurity - uncertainty over meeting their basic nutritional needs. Millions more grapple with access to fresh items while living and/or working within food deserts. Fortunately, Kansas City has a number of innovative nonprofits addressing these issues head on.
Join Connext to learn about some local organizations solving these issues, and how we as a sector can help; From direct service to advocacy and more, these nonprofits are weaving together their creative approaches to make change across the community.
We are thrilled to have the following organizations join us on our panel:
Cultivate Kansas City
The Giving Grove
Jewish Family Services of Greater Kansas City
Kansas City Community Gardens
is the Food Access Program Manager at Cultivate Kansas City where she leads both Double Up Food Bucks and Market Match in the Kansas City area. The goal of these programs is to increase food security for SNAP recipients and seniors in our community by connecting them with locally-grown produce at farmers markets and farm stands. Lana serves on the Johnson County Food Policy Council as well as the Food Access Work Group through KC Healthy Kids. Prior to joining Cultivate Kansas City, Lana graduated from the University of Kansas with her Master's in Social Work with a concentration in policy, advocacy, and non-profit administration.
Chief Replication Officer for The Giving Grove, brings local and international experience in program development, community engagement, and research. She has a Master in Social Work Advocacy, Policy and Administration and is passionate about connecting people, ideas and policies. A dedicated Kansas City community member, Ashley is currently a Public Director for the AIA (American Institute of Architects) Board, on the Public Policy Committee of the LGBT Chamber of Commerce, and a steward of the Fisher Park Orchard in her neighborhood, Rosedale. Ashley is always looking forward to a good podcast, book, or the next time she can work in her ever-expanding vegetable garden.
is the Community Engagement Coordinator for Harvesters and her passion for the nonprofit sector can be traced back to her childhood and assisting with her father's nonprofit, Lanell Cares International Mission. She is a proud graduate of William Jewell College, where she earned a B.A. in Nonprofit Leadership and became a Certified Nonprofit Professional. As a Community Engagement Coordinator for Harvesters, she provides opportunities for community members to contribute to fulfilling the mission; and, educates them about the importance of their contributions in fighting hunger. An AmeriCorps alum, Rachel continues to take pride in inspiring people to positively impact their community, and in her free time she continues to serve.
Brittani Rhoades, JFS (Jewish Family Services of Greater Kansas City) Food Pantry Manager, has a lifelong dedication to food, people, and finding ways to bring them together. With their previous experience as a personal chef and volunteer manager, as well as several years of volunteering with Free Hot Soup Kansas City, and a bachelor's degree in Culinary Management, the natural progression was to start working at a food pantry at the beginning of the pandemic. Brittani is originally from California but has set down roots in Kansas City for the last 11 years and has become locally known as a "Militant Kindness Activist" through speaking about the importance of doing small things daily with great care for self and others. You can also find her listening to podcasts, reading, and watching all things food and food history-related, and willing to talk about food at any time.
Jennifer Meyer serves as the Director of Development and Marketing for Kansas City Community Gardens. Her passion for growing stems from her childhood on a multi-generational family wheat farm in central Kansas. In between the farm and KCCG, Jennifer picked up a degree in Piano Performance from MidAmerica Nazarene University and held development roles with local healthcare and performing arts organizations. She’s delighted to have returned to her roots in her current role at KCCG, where she has the joy of connecting donors and community members with the organization’s wide-reaching network of gardeners.
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A Connext Program
Connext (formerly YNPNkc) provides learning and networking opportunities for the next generation of nonprofit leaders. We welcome people of all ages and professions, although most of our members are in their 20s and 30s and working in the nonprofit sector.