IPM Food Pantry CEO to retire after transformational career

After more than five years at the helm, IPM Food Pantry’s president and CEO has decided to retire. In light of Alida Hart’s impending departure, the Greater Cincinnati-based food pantry has launched a national search to find her replacement.

“It has been an incredible privilege to lead this amazing organization through so much change,” said Hart, who began her formal relationship with IPM more than seven years ago as donor relations and communications manager. She assumed the role of chief executive in January 2019.

Most recently, Hart guided IPM through the construction of a new food pantry and distribution center in western Clermont County. Opened in October 2023, the 12,000 square-foot facility on Aicholtz Road doubled IPM’s capacity, resulting in a 69% surge in household visits. To support the new facility and added programs, Hart directed IPM’s successful $5 million comprehensive campaign.

Alida Hart

During Hart’s tenure, IPM has experienced substantial growth, most notably a four-fold increase in the amount of food distributed to families in need — over 1.3 million pounds in 2023 alone. Additionally, IPM has expanded its reach by meeting families where they are with over 100 mobile and pop-up pantries that deliver food access directly to communities across Hamilton and Clermont counties.

In 2023, IPM provided groceries for over 90,000 individual visits.

“I am proud to be part of this compassionate and committed community of friends, volunteers, donors and teammates,” Hart said. “I am truly grateful for the opportunity to serve our neighbors.”

Big boots to fill

IPM knows it has big shoes to fill with its new CEO and president, according to Kelly Holden, chair of the nonprofit’s board. 

Four local churches founded IPM in 1964 as a way to improve the wellbeing of impoverished families living along the Little Miami River near Newtown, Ohio. As decades moved forward, IPM continued to expand its reach, particularly under Hart’s leadership.

Since Hart joined the organization, IPM’s growth has included the introduction of a bevy of new programs, such as Fresh Start Kitchen which supports individuals starting over from adverse situations such as homelessness and abusive relationships. IPM also established a Food Resource Hub in 2020 for other community service agencies and schools, enabling these organizations to distribute IPM food resources to their clients. Today, the hub has 156 partners.

In 2020, Cincy Magazine named IPM as the Food Pantry of the Year. Hart received her fair share of personal accolades as well, taking home the Medical Mutual Pillar Award for Community Service in 2021 as the nonprofit executive director of the year.

Hart joined IPM after more than 14 years as an executive with Owens & Minor, a global healthcare solutions company.

Kelly Holden

“She is an innovative and passionate leader,” Holden said of Hart. “[She] has cultivated partnerships with a variety of community agencies and civic organizations to further enhance our services to neighbors in our southwestern Ohio community.”

Holden noted that IPM is working with Centennial Executive Search to identify the ideal candidate to fill the CEO role. The food pantry’s incoming boss will continue to drive innovation, strengthen programs, develop new initiatives and ensure that existing programs remain relevant to IPM’s mission, Holden said.

As part of transition, Hart will remain a part of the IPM team until the organization hires and trains her replacement. Holden said the goal is to have the new leader in place by this summer. 

“It has been an honor to work with Alida,” Holden added.

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