Chief Executive Officer
Hunger Impact Partners’ founder, Ellie Lucas served as the Chief Campaign Officer of Hunger-Free Minnesota. Between 2011 and 2014, this four-year campaign was the first-of-its-kind, cross-sector, all-out statewide effort to help close Minnesota’s 100-million meal gap between 2011 and 2014.
Based on a collective impact model, the campaign set out to add 60 million meals and reached 70 million, with a cumulative investment of more than $9.7 million and countless hours in communities across Minnesota. Through its eight targeted initiatives, 431 projects were competitively funded and as many as 3,000 people were engaged, ranging from executives with Minnesota’s Fortune 500s to research experts to volunteers on the frontlines of hunger relief.
Ellie’s entrepreneurial spirit, business acumen and creativity in solving problems have made her an effective champion, both in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. She has 25 years of experience in senior management positions, where she honed expertise in public affairs, corporate relations and strategic marketing.
Before joining Hunger-Free Minnesota, she was an equity partner in a technology startup, forging strategic partnerships and designing customized joint marketing programs with EBay, Best Buy and W3i. Before that, she was Executive Vice President of Tunheim Partners where she led national corporate communications, community relations and government affairs initiatives for Honeywell, Metris, Target Stores, American Express and First Data Corporation. Early in her career she worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative aide in the US Congress.
Ellie’s strong sense of social justice led later in her career to community engagement work. She served on the board, including two terms as chairman, of The Center for Victims of Torture (CVT), an international human rights organization based in Minnesota. CVT offers treatment, clinical training and research, and policy advocacy for victims of torture. It provides healing to survivors in Minnesota, Africa and the Middle East. It trains partners across the U.S. and in every region of the world. Its mission is to restore the dignity of the human spirit.
Ellie also served on the Children’s Defense Fund scholarship program nomination committee. And she is currently a founding member of the advisory board for Children’s HealthWatch, a nonpartisan network of pediatricians, public health researchers and policy and child health experts affiliated with Boston Medical Center that conducts primary research to inform public policies that impact children’s health.
Wendy S. Tai
Wendy has 30 years’ experience across the communication field: journalism, PR, and corporate and global communications. In 10 years at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Wendy covered a broad range of topics that won local, regional and national honors, including a finalist for the 1991 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. Her fluency in Chinese helped produce two special series on life in China.
She also worked in various corporate communications and public affairs roles at Cargill and then General Mills, where she managed issues and crises, internal communications, executive and leadership communications, digital and corporate social responsibility communications. And, she helped build communication capabilities outside the U.S. at General Mills.
Her global communications work has taken her to dozens of countries across five continents, but she’s not strayed far from agriculture and food. Her ancestral home, Tai Village, remains a working farm in Jiangsu Province, China.
Director, Stakeholder Engagement
Trent Tucker brings a wealth of experience to his position as the leader of our Hungry for Wins initiative. As an athlete who played basketball for fifteen years at both college and professional levels, Trent understands the value of being well fed in order to perform at a high level. Since finishing his pro career with the Chicago Bulls following their 1993 championship season, Trent has worked as a broadcast analyst for Minnesota Timberwolves basketball games and for five years as the Director of District Athletics for the Minneapolis Public Schools. In the latter role he managed budgets, facilities, fundraising, and stakeholder engagement while fostering an environment where academic integrity, competitive athletic excellence, social responsibility, and respect for others are highly valued. The district community consisted of more than 6,000 student athletes in 29 schools cooperating with over 700 professional coaches and administrators.
From 2007 to 2011 Trent served as a coordinator for community outreach and youth development at his alma mater, the University of Minnesota. During this time he launched a successful on-campus program for diverse youth in middle school; the goal for these Trent Tucker University Scholars was promoting college readiness.
Trent is a North Carolina native who grew up in Flint, Michigan before moving to Minnesota for college. He was a member of the Big 10 Championship Gopher basketball team in 1982, and started his professional career as a first round draft pick with the New York Knicks. He played in 61 playoff games during his career. Trent ranks fifth in 3-point field goal percentage in the history of the entire NBA.
Stacey Hueftle Stockdill, Ph.D.
Founder, EnSearch, Inc.; Independent Director of Evaluation and Data Support for the Child Nutrition Index
Dr. Stacey Stockdill founded EnSearch, Inc., in 1986 where she engages teams of partners from across the county as a project dictates, conducting evaluations for corporations, foundations, government agencies, and nonprofits. Stacey was the statewide evaluator for Hunger-Free Minnesota and transitioned to Hunger Impact Partners where she continues to serve as an independent researcher and statistician responsible for validation of state and federal data and data collection. Stacey oversees the synthesis and analysis for Hunger Impact Partners’ proprietary Child Nutrition Index.
She has taught courses for M.B.A., M.A., and doctorate programs at the University of St. Thomas, Metropolitan State University (St. Paul), and the University of Minnesota. Stacey has also provided customized training for corporations, foundations, and nonprofits. She earned her Ph.D. with specialization in evaluation, qualitative and quantitative measurement, and statistics from the University of Minnesota. Stacey received the 1997 Myrdal Award, awarded by the American Evaluation Association to recognize substantial contributions to the professional practice of evaluation.
Molly Molpus, Grant and Research Manager, leads grant award program for schools and community organizations.
Jim Thielman, Webmaster, manages website content and on-line marketing.
Anna Christofaro, Outreach and Marketing Analyst, supports mobile app, community outreach for student nutrition programs and social media platforms.
Weijia Shi, Communication and Research Analyst, provides quantitative/qualitative research and messaging analysis.
Hao Lin, Special Project Analyst, provides mobile app platform development support and technology solution expertise.