Search for new CEO underway
SOUTH DAKOTA [March 18, 2021] – Feeding South Dakota CEO Matt Gassen has announced his retirement. Gassen’s last day with the organization will be August 31, 2021.
Gassen has served as the CEO of Feeding South Dakota since 1999, working alongside a dedicated team, he provided strategic direction in leading the state’s largest charitable hunger-relief organization.
In 2004, Gassen successfully coordinated the merger of South Dakota’s two affiliate food banks, the Black Hills Regional Food Bank in Rapid City and the Food Service Center in Sioux Falls. Six years later, he facilitated the addition of a third food bank location in Pierre to meet the hunger needs in central South Dakota, while at the same time overseeing a highly successful organizational rebrand, better aligning with Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. In 2013, Gassen successfully led a statewide capital campaign to raise more than $10 million to provide much needed facility improvements and replacements in all three distribution center locations which dramatically increased efficiencies, food safety and food distribution.
During his more than 22 years as leader of the organization, Gassen oversaw the creation and implementation of multiple new programs that have provided food access to critical need groups and communities across our state. He currently leads a team of 45 staff members working to distribute over 17 million pounds of food annually to the one in nine South Dakotans facing food insecurity.
“Matt’s been a tremendous asset to the mission of Feeding South Dakota. For the last 22 years he has led with the utmost of humility, ensuring that those who are food insecure in our state are served with dignity and respect. He has transformed Feeding South Dakota into a premier non-profit organization in the state of South Dakota,” said Greg Schmieding, Chair, Board of Directors.
Prior to becoming a food bank director and CEO, Gassen spent 23 years in the U.S. Air Force before retiring in 1998. During this time, he spent 15 years in aircraft maintenance and culminated his career as a First Sergeant, providing discipline, direction, and support to hundreds of enlisted personnel.
Gassen currently serves as the chair of the Emergency Food and Shelter Program State Set-Aside Committee, a board member for the South Dakota’s Partners Against Hunger and South Dakota Sportsman Against Hunger, a member of the Feeding America NAC (National Council) and is also a member of the South Dakota Non-Profit Association. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Downtown Sioux Falls, a member of Sioux Falls Thrive and is a deacon in his church, Sioux Falls First. Gassen is married to his wife of 47 years, Charlene. They have three grown sons who are married and have blessed them with 13 wonderful grandchildren.
Gassen says, “I will be forever grateful to everyone who has provided support to me over all these years. However, there comes a time in every career when we need to pass the leadership baton to someone else who can help lead this organization and its critical mission into the future, and for me, that time has come.”
The Board of Directors is in the process or hiring an outside firm to facilitate the new CEO selection process.