Share |

Food Finders, Inc.

 3744 N. Industry Ave., Suite 401
 Lakewood, CA 90712
[P] (562) 283-1400 x 104
[F] (562) 283-1403
[email protected]
Patti Larson
 Printable 1 Page Summary
 Printable Profile
Organization DBA Food Finders
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the community foundation in the past five years No
Employer Identification Number 33-0412749 00000


Mission StatementMORE »

Our “Mission”: To eliminate hunger and food waste while improving nutrition in food insecure communities. Value Statement: We are committed to serving our donors, volunteers, and agencies with integrity, resourcefulness and respect. We strive to contribute positively to our communities and environment on a daily basis.

Mission Statement

Our “Mission”: To eliminate hunger and food waste while improving nutrition in food insecure communities. Value Statement: We are committed to serving our donors, volunteers, and agencies with integrity, resourcefulness and respect. We strive to contribute positively to our communities and environment on a daily basis.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year 2019
Projected Expenses $21,553,228.00
Projected Revenue $21,553,228.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Food Rescue Program

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Mission Statement

Our “Mission”: To eliminate hunger and food waste while improving nutrition in food insecure communities. Value Statement: We are committed to serving our donors, volunteers, and agencies with integrity, resourcefulness and respect. We strive to contribute positively to our communities and environment on a daily basis.

Background Statement

In April of 1989, Arlene Mercer, founder of Food Finders, witnessed a banquet manager throwing out perfectly good food in an alley trash bin while blocks away a homeless person scavenged for food in a similar dumpster. Her frustration in wanting to help while also being aware of the incredible amount of waste that must be prevalent sparked the idea that brought Food Finders into existence. She began by contacting food vendors and restaurants nearby to inquire about donating food overages, and then partnered with local agencies and missions to redistribute the donated food. Food Finders received its nonprofit status in 1990. This marked the beginning of Food Finders'Food Rescue Program to feed the hungry. Food Finders now works with the Los Angeles Produce Mart as well as 350+ other food vendors, providing millions of pounds of fresh produce and perishable food items to more than 210 nonprofit agencies. Food Finders coordinates approximately 250 weekly food delivery routes with the help of 2 staff drivers and 125 regular volunteers. Most agencies receive food daily, some weekly and a few less often, depending on the agency’s size and needs as the food is available. Our volunteers cover routes seven days a week, and our staff drivers transport food 5 days a week. The uniqueness of Food Finders’ program is that we do not warehouse our food -- we pickup and deliver on the same day to ensure the freshest, most nutritional value.

Impact Statement

Food Finders celebrates 30 years of rescuing food and reducing hunger in April 2019. In that time, we’ve been able to provide more than 125 million meals worth of food to those in need. This year alone, we plan to rescue 12 million pounds of food, food that would otherwise have ended in a landfill. In addition, we will continue to add new food donor partners. We currently have more than 700 vendors that donate to us, and we serve more than 400 nonprofit agencies—pantries, shelters, missions, youth programs, seniors and more.

Needs Statement

Our greatest need is always to collect more food--perishable and nonperishable. We constantly are seeking new donors and whether it's an ongoing partnership or one-time donation, it all makes a difference.
We also need to increase our individual giving, since Federal and State funding has nearly disappeared and we cannot rely solely on grants for income. Our operations run very lean, but we need to support those expenses such as rent, fuel, salaries and supplies in order to keep things running successfully.
Part of our goal is to add a third driver, since we have the vehicles (and hopefully the donations) to support this. By having a third driver, we can reach more donors and then more demand by our agencies.
Volunteers are always needed, as our volunteer-base shifts when people retire, become ill or travel. We encourage new volunteers to apply online and meet with us to discuss how they'd like to be involved, whether it be as a food delivery person, event helper or office support.
See our website,

CEO Statement

Food Finders is unique in terms of food banks, as we don't warehouse our food. Our job as 'middleman' is to take donated food and make sure it gets out as soon and as fresh as possible to our partner nonprofits who serve and handout the food. The logistics in planning for deliveries and pick ups can be very detailed, but we make sure we work around the schedules of those serving meals and doing distributions so they are not having to store food for long periods either. We have been able to reach hundreds of recipients through a large volunteer network and our staff drivers. All the food stays in the community or nearby where it was donated from, so that donors can feel they are supporting local needs and volunteers don't have to drive a long way, plus the food is delivered fresher and more efficiently.
What started in 1989 as a home-based nonprofit has been able to prosper into an 8-person staff and 150+ volunteer base operation. On any given day we are able to collect enough for about 40,000 meals. This doesn't mean square meals, but the food poundage is large enough that we reduce hunger significantly.
We rely on community, both businesses and individuals, to be ambassadors to food rescue and to remind everyone that even your next door neighbor could be going hungry, so every leftover sandwich, every can of food, every orange in your backyard, can make a difference in reducing hunger.

Board Chair Statement


Other Ways to Donate/Volunteer

Food Finders accepts donations via phone, mail-in or through support of events, in addition to online. Volunteers are always needed. Applications for volunteers are found on the 'Volunteer' page of our website at

Geographic Area Served

In a specific U.S. city, cities, state(s) and/or region.
In a specific U.S. city, cities, state(s) and/or region.
Central Orange County
West Orange County
South Orange County
North Orange County
Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties

Organization Categories

  1. Food, Agriculture & Nutrition - Food Banks, Food Pantries
  2. Human Services - Human Services
  3. Environment - Recycling



Food Rescue Program

Our Food Rescue Program operates 365 days a year and engages more than 700 food donors and 400 recipient partner pantries, shelters, missions and more. Hundreds of volunteers help pick-up and deliver donated food from food vendors through 250 weekly food routes. In 2017, we rescued 9.1 million pounds of food (60% fresh fruits & vegetables).
Budget  $806,000.00
Category  Food, Agriculture & Nutrition, General/Other Food Distribution
Population Served General/Unspecified Homeless Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Program Short-Term Success  Each day we provide enough food for 22,000 meals. This is healthy, nutritious food, including fruits and vegetables.
Program Long-Term Success  In 28 years we have rescued more than 138 million pounds of food and helped feed thousands of low-income, impoverished individuals. Many of these individuals have gone on to complete programs and regain self-reliance through the agencies that we support.
Program Success Monitored By  All food donations are tracked by donor, food category and total weight. That information is backed up by a database that houses all donation information. We also check in regularly with our recipient agencies and track how well their needs are being met by the food we provide.
Examples of Program Success  See above.


CEO/Executive Director Patti Larson
CEO Term Start June 2011
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience
Patti started with Food Finders as a marketing and fundraising volunteer in 2009. Using funding from a technology grant, FF hired her part-time and she was able to work on updating the company Website and dedicate more time to fundraising and event planning. In June 2011, Founder Arlene Mercer retired and the Board of Directors appointed Patti as Interim Director, and she was offered the position of Executive Director in January of 2012.
Patti's background includes 20+ years of marketing, including e-commerce and writing. She has a degree in Business and has run her own business prior to joining Food Finders.

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
Arlene Mercer Apr 1989 June 2011

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Lisa Hoffmaster Fund Development Director --
Diana Lara VP Operations --


Award Awarding Organization Year
Go Long Beach City Vice Mayor Robert Garcia 2013
Hope For The Hungry Salvation Army 2013


Affiliation Year
-- --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --


Food Finders collaborates with its agencies on a non-regular basis as far as special events, in addition to regularly supporting their needs. We also support other nonprofits, such as Waste Not OC Coalition, and organizations who have special food needs. We regularly work with Don't Waste Long Beach, Don't Waste L.A., Hunger Action L.A., and other like-minded groups.

Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 9
Number of Part Time Staff 3
Number of Volunteers 300
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % 100%
Staff Professional Development Yes

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 2
Caucasian: 4
Hispanic/Latino: 5
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 6
Male: 5
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 3
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No

Risk Management Provisions

Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes

Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually

Government Licenses


CEO Comments

Since joining Food Finders as a volunteer in 2009, I've seen what an impact the organization makes with limited staff and overhead costs. The changes from when it first started in 1989 can be seen most significantly in the amount of food that is consistently being donated and then redistributed. We have been able to provide an average of 7 million pounds of food every year to those who are food insecure, recently unemployed and working poor. It's a need that unfortunately doesn't seem to dissipate, however we understand that it takes entire communities to impact this need in a positive way.
As Director, I am excited to see the work being done by other organizations in the community and to collaborate and bring together people who all have the goal of making our neighborhoods healthier and more productive. It just takes a few people to get the ball rolling, and as we've seen, one company or one school or one neighborhood can really make a difference.
We just reached our 100 million pounds of food donated mark this April! I'm excited to see what the next 24 years brings, and hope to keep improving on how we can best support those in need and also help our donors reduce waste and give back.
Patti Larson, Executive Director

Foundation Comments



Board Chair Gary Burkard
Board Chair Company Affiliation Financial Consultant
Board Chair Term Jan 2016 - Dec 2018
Board Co-Chair Maryjane Canyon
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation Business Owner
Board Co-Chair Term Jan 2016 - Dec 2018

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Garrett Brief Becker Law Group Voting
Curtis Brundage Retired, Community Volunteer Voting
Gary Burkard Financial Consultant Voting
Maryjane Canyon Electro Mavin-CEO/President --
Dixie Dohrmann Christian Outreach in Action-Executive Director (a Food Finders-recipient agency) --
Ryan Kwong -- Voting
Patti Larson Food Finders-Executive Director --
Heidi Massari Formerly Ernst & Young Voting
Ed Nauman Lawson Software-Project Manager --
Jon Schultz Business Owner Voting
Linda Simpkins Long PTA Council and Volunteer Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Additional Board Members and Affiliations

Name Company Affiliations Status
Carol Ramseyer -- NonVoting
Dick Ramseyer -- NonVoting

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 1
Caucasian: 8
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 1
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 4
Male: 6
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 1
Board Term Limits 3
Board Meeting Attendance % 90%
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Board Orientation Yes

CEO Comments


Foundation Comments


Standing Committees

  • Board Development / Board Orientation
  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Executive
  • Finance


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2019 to Dec 31, 2019
Projected Revenue $21,553,228.00
Projected Expenses $21,553,228.00
Form 990s

2017 990

2016 990

2015 Food Finders 990

2014 990

Audit Documents

2017 Food Finders Audited Financials

2016 Food Finders Audited Financials

2015 Audit

2014 Food Finders Audited Financials

2013 Food Finders Audited Financials

2012 audit

IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Total Revenue $16,856,829 $14,628,885 $14,186,687
Total Expenses $16,624,477 $14,745,273 $14,145,195

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Revenue By Revenue Source
Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$949,600 $456,567 $14,131,788
Government Contributions $45,500 $4,500 $7,500
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified $45,500 $4,500 $7,500
Individual Contributions -- -- --
Indirect Public Support -- -- $0
Earned Revenue -- -- $0
Investment Income, Net of Losses $581 $-2,094 $150
Membership Dues $13,950 -- $0
Special Events $110,506 $45,817 $38,129
Revenue In-Kind $15,736,692 $14,078,940 $13,502,128
Other -- $45,155 $0

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Expense By Type
Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Program Expense $16,341,842 $14,478,330 $13,887,268
Administration Expense $165,176 $109,899 $114,248
Fundraising Expense $117,459 $157,044 $143,679
Payments to Affiliates -- -- $0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.01 0.99 1.00
Program Expense/Total Expenses 98% 98% 98%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 11% 31% 1%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Total Assets $631,958 $242,731 $355,604
Current Assets $522,573 $202,562 $279,674
Long-Term Liabilities -- $1,565 $1,554
Current Liabilities $45,065 $38,578 $35,502
Total Net Assets $586,893 $202,588 $318,548

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 11.60 5.25 7.88

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 1% 0%
Endowment Value --
Spending Policy N/A
Percentage(If selected) --
Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No

CEO Comments

While Food Finders continues to budget past $13 million dollars per year, this is reflective of in-kind values of both food and volunteer hours. The actual cash budget is equivalent to $800,000 or less, and less than 3% is spent on overhead.

Foundation Comments

Summary financial data is per the form 990s and consultation with the organization. Foundation/corporate and individual contributions are combined under Foundation and Corporation Contributions. 


Other Documents

Food Finders Brochure (2013)

No Other Documents currently available.