2021 R.E.D. Gala Community Impact Award Honoree: Community FoodBank of New Jersey (Carlos M. Rodriguez)

Community FoodBank of New Jersey

The Urban League of Essex County is proud to present the 2021 R.E.D. Gala Community Impact Award to the Community FoodBank of New Jersey for being a committed community partner; not losing sight that real power lies in the hands of the community.

CFBNJ is a member of Feeding America®, and is the leading anti-hunger and anti-poverty organization in the state. What started as a modest enterprise in the back of our founder Kathleen DiChiara’s station wagon in downtown Newark in 1975, became an incorporated non-profit in 1982 and has grown to two warehouse facilities in Hillside and Egg Harbor Township, the combined size of five football fields. These locations serve area programs and community partners – over 1,000 in 15 of 21 New Jersey counties – within which 760,000 food insecure neighbors in need reside. CFBNJ packages food orders for local soup kitchens and food pantries; purchases and collects food for distribution; helps people in need through SNAP application assistance; and reaches communities with limited resources with mobile pantries. CFBNJ is a valued partner of the Urban League and partnered with us as we shifted to provide emergency relief during the pandemic.


Carlos M. Rodriguez, President and CEO, will accept the award of the behalf of the Community FoodBank of New Jersey.

Carlos M. Rodriguez is a recognized voice against hunger and addressing the needs of the working poor.  Twenty-two years of executive leadership experience have focused on improving policies and delivery of services to the scale needed to reach all neighbors in need.

Born and raised in the South Bronx, he has an in-depth understanding of poverty and a profound appreciation of the impact of human service. He currently serves as President & CEO of the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, where his focus is on bringing individuals, corporations, community groups, and government together towards a better future for the 1.2 million people in New Jersey who struggle with hunger. His work to simultaneously feed and shorten the pantry lines involves increasing distribution of nutritious food while helping to address the root causes of hunger and connecting working poor families with resources to help them earn a sustainable living. 

Carlos earned his MS in Urban Policy and Not-for-Profit Management from Milano Graduate School, New School University; a BA in Sociology from the College of the Holy Cross and a Not-for-Profit accounting certificate from New York University. He previously served as the Executive Director of Fulfill (formerly the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties) and has also held high-level positions at the Food Bank For New York City, as well as the Children’s Defense Fund of New York and the Community Food Resource Center. He has also been on various community advisory boards and strategic planning committees and served as Treasurer of the Eastern Region of Food Banks.