Appetite for Change, a Minneapolis nonprofit that aims to increase access to healthy foods, has received a record $1.5 million donation from an anonymous donor.

The gift, which the organization announced this week, is the largest amount ever given by a single donor in its 11-year history.

"We didn't see this coming. It was a big surprise," said Tasha Powell, co-founder and president of Appetite for Change. "We're just truly honored and appreciate this gift. It comes at a perfect time, coming out of the pandemic."

The nonprofit, which has 100 employees and a $4 million annual budget, will use the money to continue to expand the organization and retain employees by boosting benefits and salaries, Powell said.

The money also will be used to help buy new equipment and tools. Some of it will go toward a capital campaign to open a permanent building for Appetite for Change in north Minneapolis to consolidate all its programs under one roof, she said.

Appetite for Change hosts cooking classes and youth training programs, and it operates Breaking Bread Cafe & Catering in Minneapolis, Station 81 Drink and Eatery in St. Paul, an outdoor market, gardens and greenhouses. The nonprofit also distributes meal boxes of fresh produce to 400 households a week.

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