Each day in Silicon Valley, tens of thousands of pounds of excess food and surplus goods are dumped in our landfills and go to waste. In a Valley where one in three people experience food insecurity, Hunger at Home was created to connect the food and goods with those in need. Hunger at Home partners with local convention centers, hotels, and sports stadiums to collect excess food and goods to distribute to the hungry and homeless through a robust nonprofit network. To date, Hunger at Home has donated 3.5 million meals locally and helped distribute much needed items like towels, blankets, kitchen items, and hygiene kits. Hunger at Home also helps the clients of its nonprofit partners with job training and placement in the very businesses that donate excess food.
William (Ewell) Sterner, Founder and CEO. Ewell founded Hunger at Home in 2008 in San Diego and reactivated the nonprofit in 2015 after moving to San Jose. As a 30-year hospitality executive, Ewell was moved to start Hunger at Home when his son Cassidy volunteered and saw the devastating effects of hunger and Ewell knew of the extensive food waste in the hospitality industry. Ewell’s background makes him ideally suited to partner with hotels, convention centers and entertainment venues to channel excess food to those in need. Prior to joining Hunger at Home, Ewell served as Team San Jose’s general manager of operations at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center. Ewell also served as director of food and beverage at the Sundance Resort in Utah and area director for 26 Hilton Hotel properties in the San Diego area. While at the Hilton, Ewell was awarded the Gold Key Food and Beverage Person of the Year Award for launching the “Go Green” committee aimed at food sustainability. He was also awarded the Food and Beverage Person of the Year in Management from the City of San Diego for his work launching the first Hunger at Home Gala. Ewell strongly believes that as a community we will end hunger when we, “Make what has become acceptable, unacceptable. Make those who have become invisible, visible. If not now, when? If not us, then who?”
Dinari Brown, Chief Operating Officer. Since 2018, Dinari has served as Chief Operations Officer for Hunger at Home. Dinari brings more than 18 years of experience in the hospitality industry where he has led hundreds of team members in complex culinary operations. Prior to joining Hunger at Home, Dinari served as the executive chef for the San Francisco 49ers Levi’s Stadium where he led a culinary team of more than 350 employees including Super Bowl 50. He also held culinary leadership positions at the Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco and the Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Beach. Dinari serves as an instructor of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill and previously at Contra Costa College in San Pablo. Dinari holds degrees in hospitality management, culinary and pastry arts from Contra Costa College and a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Loyola Marymount University. He has been an active member of the community since attending high school at Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose. Bellarmine’s motto “men for and with others" has been a guiding principle in his life and one that drives his commitment to the community.
Lisa Walstrum, Director of Development. Lisa’s nonprofit career was launched in 2005 when she joined Fresh Lifelines for Youth (FLY) as their community resources manager. She worked in the legal profession for more than 15 years, which included five years as a legal analyst for the San Jose City Attorney’s Office, when she wanted to change course after volunteering at her children’s school. After FLY, she joined the development team for Children’s Musical Theater San Jose, where she specialized in grant writing, events management and annual giving campaigns. Then she served as the development director at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art until venturing out as an independent grant writer and fundraising consultant in 2015. After serving as a board member for Hunger at Home since 2018, Lisa joined the staff as their director of development in 2020. In this part-time position, she is charged with creating and implementing a sustainable fund development plan and assisting with elevating Hunger at Home’s visibility as they strive to transform how society responds to hunger and homelessness.
Michael Miller, Board Chair and Nonprofit Consultant. Michael’s career includes more than 20 years in nonprofit leadership on both coasts and serving as general manager and producer for events internationally. He has led two San Jose nonprofit arts organizations — Children’s Musical Theater and San Jose Jazz — through successful turnarounds. A longtime Silicon Valley resident, he works as a theatrical consultant, serves on several boards and collaborates on a variety of projects with his wife, Mary Curtis. Michael received his bachelor of arts degree in business administration from the University of Kentucky and is a graduate of Stanford University’s Nonprofit Leadership program.
Madison Nguyen, Board Vice Chair and Executive Vice President of The Silicon Valley Organization. Madison is responsible for driving SVO’s public policy, advocacy, political action, economic and community development strategies and tactics. Madison has a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from University of California, Santa Cruz and a master’s degree in social science from University of Chicago. She published her first book, “Vietnam to America: My Journey of Dreams” in 2012. In 2002, Madison won a seat on the Franklin-McKinley Board of Education and became the first Vietnamese American woman elected to public office in California. In 2005, Madison was elected to the San Jose City Council and then made history as the city’s first Vietnamese American councilmember. Madison served as Vice Mayor of San Jose from 2011 to 2014.
Janette Sutton, MBA is a 10+ CFO veteran. She graduated with Honors from Saint Mary’s College in the MBA program for Global Business. Janette was instrumental in establishing and developing the Team San Jose Finance Team and re-building relationships with the City of San Jose. Janette was an original Hunger at Home board member in 2016.
Jennifer Sant’Anna, Board Secretary and Sustainability Consultant. Jenny brings a strong mix of entrepreneurship, civic engagement, sustainability and technology to her role as sustainability consultant and partner at REV. Jenny co-founded a first-generation mobile software company, SoftMagic Corp. (acquired by Puma Tech) where she served as vice president of operations. She also co-founded the consulting group, UIX Global, a firm focused on urban innovation and civic engagement. Jenny has over 25 years of management experience working with employees and volunteers including serving on a private school board of trustees as finance chair and on a school parent association board as co-president. Jenny holds a Bachelor of Science in education and social policy from Northwestern University and a Master of Public Administration in sustainable management from Presidio Graduate School.
Mike Finnerty, Board Treasurer and President and CEO, Innovative Cost Management Services. As the leader of ICMS, Mike oversees all facets of the business in Northern California. ICMS is part of the Patriot Growth Insurance Services, a national comprehensive full-service insurance brokerage and consulting firm. Prior to joining ICMS, Mike held senior management roles with American Specialty Health, PacifiCare of California and Mutual of Omaha. Mike has served on the boards of directors of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County and Teammates Mentoring Program of San Diego, where he was president. Mike has a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration-marketing from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and an MBA from Pepperdine University.
John Southwell, Board Member and General Manager, Marriott San Jose. General Manager John Southwell brings more than 20 years of hospitality experience to his position as General Manager of the San Jose Marriott. Prior to joining the San Jose Marriott, Southwell served in the joint capacity of General Manager of the Hilton San Jose and Vice President of Hotel Operations for the hotel’s ownership group, DiNapoli Capital Partners. For nearly two decades, Southwell has played a vital role in promoting San Jose as a destination. He is a founding member of Team San Jose, which operates and markets the San Jose McEnery Convention Center and many of the city’s cultural facilities. As past Chairman of the Board for the convention center, he helped guide its recent $130 million renovation and expansion. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the San Jose Convention & Visitors Bureau. Southwell is dedicated to improving the community for residents and tourists alike. An active member of the Mayor of San Jose’s Role Model Mentor program, San Jose State University’s Hospitality Management Advisory Board, the San Jose Office of Economic Development’s Work2Future program, the KIPP Foundation Charter School Program Board and Cornell University’s Hospitality Management Advisory Board, he views educational and job skills development as key to the well-being of the community. He supports the All Stars Project of the San Francisco Bay Area, the San Jose Sports Authority and is a coach for Sharks Youth Hockey League. Southwell holds a Master of Hotel Management from Cornell University and a Bachelor of Applied Arts, Hospitality and Tourism Management from Ryerson Polytechnic Institute in Toronto, Canada.
Chuck Toeniskoetter, Board Member and Chairman of Toeniskoetter Development. In 1983, Chuck co-founded Toeniskoetter & Breeding Inc. with his partner, Dan Breeding. Toeniskoetter & Breeding received more than 30 awards for excellence and restored San Jose’s St. Joseph Cathedral and renovated Hewlett Packard’s world headquarters. In 2003, Chuck sold his portion of Toeniskoetter & Breeding Construction but maintains his role as chairman at Toeniskoetter Development (formerly Toeniskoetter & Breeding Development). Chuck received a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Notre Dame in 1967 and an MBA from Stanford University in 1973. He served as an officer in the Marine Corps from 1967 to 1970, including a tour in Vietnam. He has held leadership positions in numerous organizations. Community recognition includes Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame, Boy Scouts Distinguished Citizen Award and San Jose Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership Award. When not working, you can find Chuck riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
Andrea Urton, Board Member and CEO, HomeFirst. Andrea joined HomeFirst in March 2015 after serving as the agency’s interim CEO. She received her Master of Science in Clinical Counseling Psychology from San Jose State University in 2001 and her license as a Marriage Family Therapist in 2005. Andrea has spent her career striving to provide the highest quality, innovative and culturally competent services for youth and families in Santa Clara County’s highest-risk communities. Andrea is keenly grounded in service to people experiencing homelessness or marginalized by lack of housing. Prior to HomeFirst, Andrea was the program coordinator for Gardner Family Care Corporation Prevention & Early Intervention Services, a clinical director for Families First and the Chief Operating Officer for Alum Rock Counseling Center. She was an adjunct lecturer for Santa Clara University, where she worked to increase awareness around issues of diversity and inclusion, organizational sustainability and industry best practices. Her goals are to ensure that everyone has the cultural resources and supportive services that allow them to thrive.
Jennifer Van Every, Board Member and Principal, The Van Every Group. Jennifer founded The Van Every Group in 2011, a Silicon Valley-based consulting company providing strategic communications and marketing to corporations and nonprofits. She has more than 20 years of experience in a wide range of communications and marketing activities, including content development, media relations, social media, demand generation, executive and employee communications, speech writing, branding and event planning. She has worked with leading corporations and nonprofits in Silicon Valley, including Altera, Gardner Health Services, The Health Trust, HomeFirst, Kids in Common, Intel and Xilinx. Jennifer is actively engaged in many philanthropic activities, particularly those aimed at ending hunger and homelessness and building more affordable housing. Jennifer received her bachelor’s degree in United States History from San Francisco State University.
Vinni Walia, Board Member and Director of Facilities, Team San Jose. Vinni is the director of facilities at Team San Jose where he oversees seven City of San Jose-owned buildings, including the San Jose McEnery Convention Center, San Jose Center for Performing Arts and the San Jose Civic. Vinni serves on the Board of the San Jose Arena Authority, which oversees the SAP Center at San Jose, Solar4America Ice at San Jose, and Excite Ballpark. He has more than 20 years of hospitality management experience and has worked for the Hilton, Marriott and Westin. As a hobby, Vinni hosts a 5:00 p.m. prime time drive show on KLOK 1170 AM radio where he interviews state and local elected leaders on issues affecting the community. He is an English as a Second Language instructor with the San Jose and Hayward public libraries. In 2017, he was recognized as “Volunteer of the Year” by the San Jose Public Library. Vinni has great interest in public speaking, speech presentation and coaches students for the nonprofit The Ideal Kids.