A tireless advocate for the hungry for more than 40 years, Catherine D’Amato assumed the leadership of GBFB in 1995. During her tenure, she has transformed GBFB into a $180 million charitable business and increased GBFB’s distribution from 7.5 million meals a year to nearly 97 million healthy meals this past year. She has grown GBFB’s network to include nearly 600 partner food pantries, meal programs and direct distribution sites across the 190 cities and towns across Eastern Massachusetts.
Under D’Amato’s guidance, GBFB has risen to the unprecedented challenge of responding to the surge in hunger due to the COVID-19 pandemic, distributing over 117 million pounds in 2021 to GBFB partner agencies that report serving over double the number of people in need. In 2021, GBFB marked its 40th anniversary since its incorporation while also distributing its 1 billionth pound of food which was accelerated by D’Amato’s leadership through the COVID-19 crisis.
D’Amato led GBFB’s partnership with Children’s HealthWatch, a nonpartisan research organization, to undertake groundbreaking research on the health-related costs of hunger in Massachusetts. The study found that hunger cost Massachusetts at least $2.4 billion a year. Her focus on providing nutritious food to those struggling with hunger has remained steadfast as she recognizes the connection between hunger and health outcomes and the disproportionate impact hunger has had on high-need communities. She is committed to closing the hunger gap for the over 500,000 people in need across Eastern Massachusetts while supporting healthy lives and healthy communities.
Beyond her role at GBFB, D’Amato is the founder of the Hunger to Health Collaboratory (H2HC), a group of cross-sector stakeholders developing innovative solutions to reduce the health consequences of hunger.
D’Amato currently serves on the board of trustees of Fidelity Charitable and Eastern Bank, the board of directors of the Forsyth Institute and the Massachusetts Food Association and is Co-Chair of the Equality Fund at The Boston Foundation.