A Personal Message from Angela Dunleavy

December 1, 2022

Dear FareStart Community,

This letter is a bittersweet one to write, as FareStart is such a special place, not only for our students and the greater community but also for me personally.

Today, we shared with staff that I will be stepping down as chief executive officer in January 2023 to take on the chief executive officer role at Gourmondo, a Pacific Northwest food company and FareStart community partner. I will continue to work closely with FareStart, transitioning to the board of directors immediately following my last day as CEO on January 18. I believe strongly in the vision, mission and values of the organization and will specifically work to maintain FareStart's strong alliances with policymakers and key partners committed to job training and alleviating poverty in the region.

The board of directors will lead the nationwide search to find a permanent chief executive officer who will continue to move forward FareStart’s work and strategic direction.

Longtime volunteer and current FareStart board member Nicole Trimble will assume the position of interim chief executive officer until a permanent replacement is identified. Nicole is a nationally recognized workforce and economic mobility expert who has over 20 years of leadership experience in the philanthropic, business, government and nonprofit sectors. The first place she worked when she moved to Seattle 25 years ago was at FareStart, and she has been involved with the organization in different capacities ever since.

I will work closely with Nicole, FareStart’s board of directors and our leadership team to support a smooth transition as the search begins for FareStart’s next chief executive officer. We have strong, experienced leadership and staff in place that will continue to keep us moving forward.

Over the past four-plus years I’ve been at FareStart, the team has navigated immense changes and challenges to support our community. I’m extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished together and want to take a moment to celebrate the work the dedicated team has done to lift FareStart’s mission. Together we have:

  • Collaborated to develop a new strategic plan, which lays the foundation for a more community-centered, equitable approach to our mission.
  • Created a foundation to broaden our training programs to provide living-wage career pathways in the culinary industry, restaurants and the broader food system, and to expand economic mobility and food security in South King County. 
  • Responded to the pandemic by transforming our kitchens to dramatically expand the number of meals produced for food-insecure communities; pivoted to online job training to provide employment skills to students while trying to keep them healthy; and provided virtual consulting support to nonprofit organizations across the country.
  • Expanded FareStart’s work to reduce food insecurity; dramatically expanded meal production; launched a mobile community market pilot that provides access to fresh, healthy produce and other staples to underserved communities.
  • Celebrated earlier this summer as we welcomed back students to onsite training to help prepare meals for our community and begin new career pathways.

And most importantly, thousands of people have been touched and transformed by FareStart’s mission.

I also want to express my heartfelt thanks to this community --- to our dedicated staff, to our heroic students and graduates, to our hardworking board of directors, to our tireless volunteers and amazing partners --- without them, this phenomenal ongoing work that is vital to our community would not be possible.

We will continue to keep you informed throughout the transition, but please reach out if you have any questions. In the meantime, thank you for your continued support and partnership to transform lives.

With gratitude,