We are innovators who thrive when problem solving.
Sharon Feuer Gruber, Co-Founder
Sharon is a proven leader in creating cutting-edge programs addressing food access, food recovery, economic development, and urban agriculture. She advises on the development and operation of projects and organizations across the food system. Some highlights include evaluating the efficiency, effectiveness, and equity in an emergency food program; bringing sustainable food products to market; and conducting a gap analysis of the value chain for farm to institution in the mid-Atlantic. She is a member of the Montgomery County (MD) Food Council, where she participates in the Food Recovery and Access Working Group, and also has recently served on advisory committees for various grant-making organizations.
Sharon also co-founded the Wide Net Project, a non-profit organization that helps restore the Chesapeake Bay while simultaneously supporting hunger-relief in the mid-Atlantic region. She establishes partnerships, cultivates relationships with funders, directs communications, and helps manage operations.
Sharon's innovative approach to addressing food access and sustainability has been featured numerous times in the Washington Post and on NPR, among other media outlets. Previous to her career in the food system, she was a non-profit communications manager; she served as creative manager for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and editor of the National Head Start Association’s award-winning Children and Families magazine.
Wendy Stuart, Co-Founder
Wendy specializes in providing comprehensive, long-term solutions for sustainable food, agricultural, and environmental issues. As an economist, she advances customized approaches for businesses to promote their vision while maintaining financially successful business practices. And as a local food systems specialist, Wendy’s expertise provides a comprehensive framework for assessing the feasibility of triple bottom line solutions, and specializes in the development of entities that support local food systems. She has consulted on the feasibility, build-out, and launch of multiple commercial kitchens, and participated on the committee initiating the formation of Washington, D.C.’s first Food Policy Council. She also managed the inaugural Food Day campaign for the Washington, DC area, for which she was directly responsible for 120 events supporting healthy, affordable, and sustainable food.
Previously, Wendy founded and managed a successful 3D visualization firm that created powerful tools to communicate technical, legal, scientific, and promotional information. She has worked as a consultant on renewable energy, including as a manager at KEMA Consulting. She has also worked as a chef, and on farms around the globe, as well as an instructor at the university level. She has written multiple successful grant applications and business plans that have led to effective start-ups and business expansions. She holds a master’s degree in economics, a master’s degree in sustainable food systems from the Universita di Scienze Gastronomiche in Italy, and a degree in culinary arts from the Culinary Institute of America.
Wendy is also the co-founder of the Wide Net Project .
Lauren Brownstein, President, PITCH: Fundraising and Philanthropy Consulting
Lauren has worked in the non-profit community for nearly 20 years as a fundraiser, educator, and program manager. She has raised millions of dollars for museums, workforce development programs, student support organizations, community centers, and other initiatives. She specializes in helping grant seekers develop meaningful partnerships with funders, as well as crafting outstanding grant proposals. She also supports Food Works Group clients with growing board leadership and designing fundraising strategies and plans.
After honing her solicitation skills with United Jewish Appeal (now JFNA) and negotiating extensive corporate sponsorships with the Information Technology Association of America, Lauren served as a Grants Officer and the founder and director of the Corporate Partners Program at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. While at the museum (a federal government agency), she managed more than 70 foundation relationships and created the museum’s first corporate membership program. She then served as Director of Foundation and Corporate Relations at Hillel, raising money for domestic and international programs for college students. Lauren sits on the boards of multiple non-profit organizations and established her consulting practice in 2003, where she works with an array of clients including arts organizations, social service providers, children's advocacy groups, public interest law groups, and more.