River Bend Food Bank selects new leader

The River Bend Food Bank in Davenport distributes meals to children, adults and seniors through its network of food pantries along with schools, senior residences and community organizations.
The River Bend Food Bank in Davenport distributes meals to children, adults and seniors through its network of food pantries along with schools, senior residences and community organizations. CREDIT RIVER BEND FOOD BANK
Nancy Renkes
Nancy Renkes

The River Bend Food Bank will soon have a new leader but a familiar face. 

Nancy Renkes of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and a former longtime Quad Cities resident, will begin her new job as the food bank’s president and CEO, effective Oct. 1, according to Janet Mathis, River Bend’s board chair.

Ms. Renkes previously served as chief partnership officer for Davenport-based food bank, located at 4010 Kimmel Drive.

“In Nancy’s time as chief partnership officer for the food bank, she was a respected member of the leadership team, not only internally by staff and the board, but externally in the community and region,” Ms. Mathis said in a statement Monday, July 25. “When the board began the search for a new CEO and learned that she was moving back to the Quad Cities for personal reasons, it seemed to be kismet.” 

According to Ms. Mathis, “After considering qualifications and completing a full interview and background check process, the board unanimously voted to offer Nancy the position. We’re excited she accepted and look forward to working with her and the rest of the food bank’s dedicated staff and volunteers to provide food to anyone who is food insecure.”

Ms. Renkes will replace Mike Miller, who served as president and CEO of the food bank since January 2015 until June when he and the organization “mutually agreed to separate,” according to information from the food bank. Mr. Miller previously served at food banks in Indianapolis, Indiana, and Cleveland, Ohio.

Since June 1, Food Bank Board Vice Chair and former Deere & Company Treasurer Marie Ziegler has been serving as the interim CEO and president. She will continue in that role until Ms. Renkes assumes the responsibilities in October.

“The Food Bank has been in excellent hands with Marie at its helm,” Ms. Mathis added. “She is a proven leader who is respected in the community and has prioritized RBFB’s mission and its team during her tenure. On behalf of the entire board of directors, I want to thank her for her work. She has been essential in this time of transition.”

Ms. Renkes worked as the food bank’s chief partnership officers from 2015 to 2020. Since

2020, she has led the Feed My People Food Bank in Eau Claire, as its executive

Director. During her tenure there and during the challenging COVID-19 pandemic, the food bank has increased distribution and created new community partnerships. 

Prior to River Bend Food Bank, Ms. Renkes held leadership and fund development positions at the Quad Cities Women’s Connection and Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. 

She and her husband, Jim, also are former owners of the Grape Life Emporium.

“For 40 years, River Bend Food Bank and its partner agencies have worked side by side to provide food for hungry people in a 23-county service area,” Ms. Renkes said in a news release.  “With inflation and the cost of living continuing to impact our most at risk guests, the mission

of River Bend is even more critical to the health of the communities we serve. I am

honored to have this opportunity to rejoin the team and continue this important work.”

River Bend Food Bank works with more than 400 partner agencies in 23 counties to ensure people facing hunger have reliable access to healthy food. Leading the community-wide effort to eliminate hunger in eastern Iowa and western Illinois, the Food Bank distributed more than 22 million meals in 2021 to children, adults, and seniors through food pantries, schools, senior residences, and community organizations. 

For more information on the food bank, visit riverbendfoodbank.org.

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