Frequently Asked Questions about Bonding Support for Second Harvest Heartland
Why is Second Harvest asking 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.
How many people in Minnesota go hungry? I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have enough to eat.
While it’s largely invisible, one in 10 Minnesotans doesn’t know where their next meal will come from. One in six are children; the fastest-growing group is seniors. While our country and certainly our region has more than enough food, not every family can guarantee a consistent source 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 makes a bonding request successful?
Looking at other public-nonprofit projects, success at the state legislature requires a strong public partner and a strong case that those public dollars will produce a positive regional impact. The representatives and senators also need to know that a project is important to their constituents, so the more voices raised in support, the better. As previously mentioned, the new facility will have a statewide benefit.
What is the request?
We’re asking 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 six 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.
Who do we ask and when?
Second Harvest Heartland and the City of Brooklyn Park (where our new facility is located) submitted our request. We’re engaging with House and Senate Capital Investment Committees right now, during the 2018 legislative session. Each of those groups will write a bonding bill. The decision is up to the legislators and the Governor to decide by May 21, 2018.
For any questions about the campaign, please contact Tara Sullivan at firstname.lastname@example.org