A Minnesota nonprofit that was raided by the FBI last month announced Friday that it is dissolving, blaming “negative media reports.”
The FBI raided over a dozen properties connected to Feeding our Future Jan. 20. An FBI search warrant accused the “conspirators” of stealing “millions of dollars in federal funds” from child nutrition programs, but the nonprofit has denied any wrongdoing and nobody has been charged with a crime to date.
“In recent years, individuals and companies in Minnesota have engaged in a large-scale scheme to fraudulently obtain and misappropriate federally funded child nutrition programs. The scheme was carried out by individuals who owned and operated companies purportedly in the business of providing federally funded free meals to underprivileged children and adults, including during the global COVID-19 pandemic,” the FBI search warrant alleges.
The search warrant lists Feeding Our Future’s St. Anthony offices and several connected addresses, including the home of its executive director, Aimee Bock.
“The companies and their owners received tens of millions of dollars in federal funds for use in providing nutritious meals to underprivileged children and adults. Almost none of this money was used to feed children. Instead, the participants in the scheme misappropriated the money and used it to purchase real estate, cars, and other luxury items,” the search warrant says.
Feeding our Future had been engaged in a legal battle with the Minnesota Department of Education regarding its participation in the free-food programs since November 2020, according to an in-depth report from the Center of the American Experiment. The Minnesota Department of Education oversees two federal nutrition programs at the local level, those being the Child and Adult Care Food Program and the Summer Food Service Program.
At one point last spring, the Department of Education cut off Feeding our Future’s funding because it was growing suspicious of the organization, but a judge ordered the state to reverse course.
On Friday, Feeding our Future announced that its Board of Directors voted to dissolve the organization and “begin winding down its operations in light of negative media reports and frozen assets.”
“Feeding our Future did a lot of great work for the community. It’s heartbreaking that the organization must dissolve under these unfortunate circumstances,” said Bock.
The nonprofit’s own press release referred to Bock as its “embattled executive director.”
The alleged scandal has prompted several state lawmakers to call for an audit of government spending during the COVID-19 pandemic. State Rep. Steve Drazkowski said he plans to introduce legislation to combat fraud in some of the free-food programs.
“This food program, called Feeding our Future, is part of an organized crime network,” Drazkowski said last month. “Criminals continue to defraud the taxpayers of our state and nation right in front of the eyes of their elected leaders.”