Hearing from Angela Dunleavy-Stowell on food, racial equity and philanthropy
A few weeks ago, Speaker Series event attendees had an opportunity to virtually connect with FareStart CEO and United Way board member, Angela Dunleavy-Stowell. Angela discussed her career path, how FareStart is navigating COVID-19 and racial inequalities.
Angela put herself through college working at coffee shops and waiting tables, so when she graduated she swore she wouldn’t go back to the restaurant industry. She paused to laugh and acknowledge that her career path ultimately took her to FareStart, a place intrinsically tied to connecting people to food and the restaurant industry. FareStart helps people overcome cyclical poverty and overcoming other barriers by teaching them work and life skills they need to succeed in the foodservice industry — and in life. Via their restaurants, cafes, catering and programs that provide meals to social services, shelters and schools in the Seattle area, participants in their programs get practical work experience while giving back to their community.
Angela reminded us that one in eight Washingtonians are food insecure and that’s unacceptable. Pre-COVID-19 the needs surrounding access too food were already expansive and FareStart and United Way saw this need grow exponentially in the wake of a pandemic. In response, FareStart has served over 950,00 meals to the community and they are on track to hit two million meals. When asked how FareStart pivoted, Angela talked about making an active choice to shift away from serving to-go meals out of restaurants and putting the focus on providing meals for those in need.
Angela also addressed the racial inequities that have heavily been on everyone’s mind. She acknowledged the systemic and historical implications of racism and the role she plays as a white woman in a leadership position. “Working toward being anti-racist needs to happen as an entire organization, not just by changing our values”, she said as she discussed the need for anti-racist policies in every facet of the organization and a strategic plan that centers racial equity.
Her passion for social justice, FareStart and United Way’s programs was evident. She became deeply involved with United Way when she joined the board and mentioned that when “she goes into something she goes all in” and within two years of being on the board she was Campaign Co-Chair and a big piece of United Way’s philanthropic efforts.
Thank you Angela for being a part of our Speaker Series and for your candor, authenticity, humility, and clear passion for your work and for supporting our community.
Missed this Speaker Series or are just plain excited to attend the next? Join us for our upcoming Voting and Advocacy Speaker Series panel on September 16th and hear about the importance of your vote this year and what’s at stake.