Perkins Joins Wholesome Wave as Chief Executive Officer

Jamaica Plain Community Minister/Associate Interim Pastor Benjamin Perkins has joined Wholesome Wave, a national 501(c)3 non-profit that addresses nutrition insecurity by making healthy produce available and affordable for people who need it most.  Serving as the organization’s Chief Executive Officer, Perkins will grow the strategy and mission, and ultimately lead the organization through the next decade of influence and impact.

“Since our inception thirteen years ago, we have connected over a million and a half families across the country to affordable fruits and vegetables, encouraging healthier eating to prevent, reduce, and reverse diet-related diseases,” said Michel Nischan, co-founder, Wholesome Wave.  “Because of the pandemic, we are at a pivotal point in our nation’s history when more people than ever are in need of affordable access to healthy food options through financial assistance.  I am delighted to welcome Benjamin to the helm of our organization to lead us to our next phase of growth and scale. Ben’s passion and dedication to helping communities around this country, as well as his vast experience working in public health over the years, will add great value to our work.  I look forward to the learnings Ben will bring to Wholesome Wave.”

“At a time when there is an urgent, immediate need in the United States to service those who are struggling to feed themselves and their families, I’m looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting to work today, on day one, to help meet this unprecedented demand in communities big and small around the country,” said Perkins.  “In addition to servicing this immediate need, the urgency of working with Michel, the Board of Directors and the entire team at Wholesome Wave to ensure that poverty is not a barrier to choosing fruits and vegetables is at the top of my list of priorities.  The long-term effects of assisting not only those in need, but also infusing demand into our farming ecosystem and helping take unnecessary strains off of our healthcare system, will ultimately help our country as a whole.  What undergirds this all is a foundational belief in equity and the dignity of those we serve, which is at the heart of everything we do.”

Prior to joining Wholesome Wave, Perkins served as Vice President, Health Strategies (formerly Vice President, Health Equity/Multicultural Initiatives) with the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association.  Previous roles include Associate Director for Community Engagement, The Fenway Institute at Fenway Health and Director, The MALE Center, AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts.  He is also a Community Minister/Associate Interim Pastor with Hope Central Congregational Church in Jamaica Plain, MA.  A graduate of University of California, Los Angeles, Perkins also holds a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University in Los Angeles, and Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School. 

Wholesome Wave is a national nonprofit that believes that solving hunger is not just about providing more food, but instead it’s about providing the right food so those in need can lead a healthy life. The organization’s efforts are driven by the mission of democratizing nutrition by empowering underserved consumers to make healthier food choices by increasing affordable access to fruits and vegetables. Wholesome Wave addresses complex problems with innovative and effective solutions, including the development of innovative payment technologies, programs such as  “Wholesome Rx” (doctors writing prescriptions for produce) and “SNAP Doubling” (2 for 1 produce at grocery stores and farmers markets). Founded in 2007 by James Beard Award-winning Chef Michel Nischan and former U.S. Undersecretary of Agriculture Gus Schumacher, the organization is based in Bridgeport, Connecticut. For more information, visit www.wholesomewave.org

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