Alum helps people as CEO of Feeding AmericaRiverside, Calif. (Jan 19, 2024) — Carolyn Solar (’19) wants to make food security and food resources more attainable for people in need. As CEO of Feeding America Riverside | San Bernardino, she is in the position to make that happen.

“We're all one job loss, one health emergency away from food insecurity. The people that we serve are neighbors and people with children, I just want to make sure that people who are getting assistance know that it's OK,” Solar said. “They don't need to be embarrassed.”

The nonprofit runs about a dozen programs to feed people, focused on children, students, veterans or seniors. It also partners with 250 other nonprofits to help get food out to other areas of need in the community.

Throughout her career, Solar has mostly worked at nonprofits. Then in 2017 she joined Feeding America Riverside | San Bernardino. She started in marketing, then moved up to philanthropy director.

In April 2022, she was promoted to CEO. The previous CEO thought Solar would be great for the role when she retired.

“She had a lot more faith in me than I had in me,” Solar said.

Solar acknowledged she had many goals and was ambitious when she first started in the role.

“Now I'm a little more realistic,” she said. “I want to make sure that people feel safe coming to us for support.”

In October, the nonprofit purchased another building that will serve as a community resource center in Riverside. It will include a learning center that will serve as a hub for the child nutrition initiative. Feeding America Riverside | San Bernardino also will provide more training opportunities to community partners to help facilitate the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) application assistance. The building should be in use by summer 2024.

While working at the food bank, Solar has met a lot of people.

“A lot of people will cry because they're so thankful for the basic necessities,” she said. “I'm blessed in my life that I haven't had to experience that. We're helping people have that support they need, especially when they're in those times where they don't know where their next meal is coming from.”

Solar remembers learning about ethics in her MBA program at CBU. It guides her in her work as she seeks to make sure everything the nonprofit does is fair and done in a dignified setting. Over 60% of the nonprofits they work with are faith-based organizations.

“It's nice to have those leadership, marketing and ethics skills to be able to work with a wide variety of groups,” Solar said. “It definitely helps me grow as a leader.”

Contact CBU Marketing and Communication

Vice President for Marketing and Communication:
Angela Meluski

8432 Magnolia Avenue
Riverside, CA 92504