Frequently Asked Questions about Bonding Support for Second Harvest Heartland


Did Second Harvest Heartland get its full request for bonding from the state ($18 million)?

No, we’re disappointed that no bonding bill was passed. Second Harvest Heartland and our many supporters did all that we could do. We are very thankful for all the time all of you invested making calls and sending emails.

We’ll be going back again as soon as possible in 2019. Throughout the process we received very positive feedback and support. Even without the funding, we will continue to meet the needs of our partners and our hungry neighbors. We will proceed with a build-out in a more phased approach, until we can get the funding we need.

We hope the legislature will take up its unfinished business during the regular session, as it did in 2017.

Why did Second Harvest Heartland ask for bonding?

We need more space to feed more people. After 30 years in our Maplewood facility, we don’t have enough space or the right kind of space (refrigerated) to handle the higher volume and different type of food we deal with now. Fresh food is now 57% of what we distribute, and our warehouse just can’t handle it.

Without more and better space, we can’t supply food to more than 1,000 partner agencies across the state, or the five other Feeding America food banks in Minnesota. We began outreach to corporations, foundations, and individuals in 2016 as part of a Capital Campaign to buy and renovate new space. In the summer of 2017 we found a building to buy in Brooklyn Park. We need to raise the rest of the funding to renovate it. The bonding request is part of that funding.

What will this mean for the Brooklyn Park building?

Receiving the full request means we can start full renovations this year and be open early in 2020. We’re still working on the private fundraising side, but with this investment from the state, we can do a lot to turn our “bare bones” building into a fully functional distribution facility to handle higher quantities and better quality of food.

What is bonding?

Bonding is a type of financing, in this case it’s a state issuing municipal bonds (which investors can buy) and using the money from the sale of the bonds to finance big projects that otherwise couldn’t be paid for all at once. States use bonds to help finance the purchase of land; construction or repairs of infrastructure such as roads, bridges, parks and trails; or other infrastructure-type projects supported by state agencies and local units of government. Typically, there must be a regional benefit for a bonding request to be considered. A new Second Harvest Heartland facility will have a statewide benefit.

How does it work?

State agencies or local units of government can apply to the Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) office, which oversees the process of reviewing project requests and making sure that public dollars are used appropriately. A committee of the state legislature is the group that creates a bill for the bonding requests they believe have merit. Then the full House and Senate vote on the bill, and the Governor signs the bill into law. For nonprofits like Second Harvest Heartland, we need to work with a local unit of government to apply. In our case, that’s the City of Brooklyn Park, which has been a great partner to us.

What was the request?

We asked the state to support half of the cost of the new facility (to renovate it to full capacity to support 130 million pounds of food going in and out each year); that’s $18 million. We’re confident about our business case:

  • Too many Minnesotans, including one in eight kids, are going hungry.
  • We have enough food for everyone; in fact, roughly 40% of food goes to waste.
  • Second Harvest Heartland rescues food that would otherwise go to waste — it’s the largest source of food we distribute.
  • Not having enough healthy food to eat costs the state an estimated $840 million in preventable costs (like healthcare, education and lost productivity at work and in school).
  • We are one of the largest food banks in the country and have been supplying roughly 74% of the food distributed by food shelves across the state, in addition to food for meal programs, schools, and other Minnesota food banks.
  • Because of our efficiency, for every $1 we can provide 3 meals.
  • Working with our partner agencies, we reached 532,000 people last year; with the new facility we can reach 375,000 more. Not only do we believe no one should go hungry, but we also feel that hunger is a solvable problem.

Plus, investing in Second Harvest Heartland will have a significant return. State bonding dollars, combined with the donations of generous Minnesotans, will generate an additional 68 million meals that will keep people healthy, working, and contributing to our economy. And of course, as a food bank, more than 1,000 meal programs, food shelves and other programs rely on us for the food they need in their communities.

For any questions about the campaign, please contact Tara Sullivan at

Thank you!

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