Ashley C. McCumber, who has served as Meals on Wheels San Francisco’s (MOWSF) Executive Director and CEO since August of 2007, will depart the organization in mid-October of 2022 to return home to his native North Carolina to become the President and CEO of Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina.
Mr. McCumber is MOWSF’s 5th Executive Director and CEO and is its second longest tenured. Under his leadership, MOWSF grew from a $4.5 million operation serving 1,200 clients per day and delivering 523,000 meals a year to a $23 million operation serving almost 4,000 clients per day and delivering more than 2.4 million meals a year. In addition to daily meals for seniors and homebound adults with disabilities in San Francisco, Meals on Wheels delivers groceries to 490 clients each week in partnership with the SF-Marin Food Bank. Additionally, MOWSF recently expanded its services to North San Mateo County with its home-delivered meals program.
“While we are overjoyed for Ashley and the opportunity this presents him, we are saddened for our organization as we know the impact that he has had on the trajectory of Meals on Wheels San Francisco and where it is today,” said Rosemary T. Wong, Chair, Board of Directors of Meals on Wheels San Francisco. “Our next CEO will inherit a thriving organization with a stellar reputation locally and nationally, a staff that is the strongest it has ever been, a very engaged and passionate Board, and a loyal donor and volunteer base. We know that we will attract someone who can pick up where Ashley has delivered us and carry the organization into the future as we continue to advance our mission.”
In August of 2021, Mr. McCumber was awarded Meals on Wheels America’s highest honor, the Sister Alice Marie Quinn Award. For the past five years, this award honors a current leader of a local Meals on Wheels program who embodies Sister Alice Marie’s legacy through compassion, dedication, and contribution, and who works to unite and advance the nationwide Meals on Wheels movement.
“Ashley McCumber has long been committed to using his voice and position to advocate for the older adults of San Francisco, across the state and nation at-large, a dedication that we’ve surely seen on full display throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” explained Ellie Hollander, President and CEO, Meals on Wheels America. She went on to say that through Ashley’s leadership, he “shepherded significant growth at his program during his tenure, changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of older San Franciscans.”
Additionally, Mr. McCumber serves on many committees using his voice to advocate for seniors to end food insecurity in San Francisco and across the state. He became incoming President of Meals on Wheels California in 2021 and recently helped generate $75 million for senior food nutrition programs in the 2021 state budget.
His vision for MOWSF included a strategy to increase the capacity, scalability, and quality of meals for senior clients as that population, aged 60+, is expected to increase by 30% within the next 10 years. As a result, in 2020, MOWSF built from the ground up, one of the largest industrial kitchen and food distribution centers in California. Mr. McCumber led, from start to finish, the $41 million Capital Campaign to build a facility designed to produce up to 30,000 meals daily – 3x its old capacity and that will serve San Franciscans for many decades.
When Mr. McCumber is not fundraising or advocating for seniors, he’s diligently a champion for his staff and volunteers. During the pandemic, he made it his top priorities to ensure staff, volunteers, and clients were safe during the crisis and that nourishing meals were made and delivered without interruption. His agile thinking allowed the organization to envision innovative delivery routes and processes, implement a robust virtual safety and wellness check program, and in partnership with the City, managed the City’s Isolation & Quarantine Intake program for residents of all ages who were impacted by COVID and could not shop for meals.
In making the decision to return to his home state of North Carolina, Mr. McCumber stated, “It is hard to leave a cherished organization like Meals on Wheels San Francisco. Over the past 15 years, we have built a world-class organization with a can-do attitude. I have spent a quarter of my life at MOWSF. My heart is full of pride and love for this community, and I know the organization is primed for even greater success. I am blessed to be able to have my professional and personal life come full circle—moving back home to continue to serve and end hunger while being close to family. The Meals on Wheels mission to help people age in the community has now intersected with my own reality.”
Koya Partners, the nation’s premier search firm dedicated to mission-driven organizations, has been retained to conduct this search. Alex Corvin, Managing Director based in San Francisco, is leading the assignment. The search for a new CEO will take several months, and the existing leadership team will manage the organization with the assistance of the Board Executive Committee until the new CEO takes the helm.