Yolo Food Bank Receives the Largest Private Gift in the History of the Organization

(Jessica Loya - Photographer)

The largest private gift in the history of Yolo Food Bank was announced this week on the occasion of the organization’s inaugural donor celebration held on March 15 in Woodland, California. Longtime Davis resident Katherine Chambers passed away on April 6, 2022 naming Yolo Food Bank as a beneficiary of her estate. The organization states this gift of more than $900,000 will impact tens of thousands of lives for decades to come, and will serve as a seed gift for a planned giving circle to be named after Chambers, launching later this year.

“This is an extraordinary gift that doesn’t happen every day – what a testament this is to our mission” said Karen Baker, executive director of Yolo Food Bank. She added, “Yolo Food Bank is honored and grateful to receive a gift of this magnitude that will have a lasting impact not only on our organization, but on the members of our community most in need. We are so grateful for Katherine and hope this will inspire other donors to consider similar ways to shape the present and future of the communities they hold dear.”

Born in Rochester, New York, Katherine Chambers was the only child of Edward Chambers and Edna Messeroll Chambers. Her studies lead her to obtain a degree in biological sciences from the Alfred University in Ithaca, New York and a master’s degree in library science from the University of Michigan. Chambers settled in Davis, California in 1984 after accepting a position in the biological and agricultural department of Shields Library at UC Davis. During her 25-year tenure, she curated materials for the library’s collection and taught science database classes and offered her botany and bee culture research expertise for faculty and students.

Chambers lived a life of service and volunteering with numerous organizations in Yolo County, including Yolo Food Bank. She was also a dedicated member of The Friends of West Pond, a volunteer organization and community group who cares for the enhanced wetland wildlife habitat at the West Area Pond in Davis. As a local resident, her favorite weekend destination was the Davis Farmers Market where she would ride her bicycle, as she chose not to drive a car.

“While the amount of this gift is certainly astonishing, what matters most to us is that Katherine Chambers has chosen to trust us with carrying on her legacy,” said Yolo Food Bank Senior Director of Development and Communications Steven Loya. “As food insecurity levels throughout our region keep rising, this major gift could not have come at a more critical time.”

In the coming months, Yolo Food Bank will introduce a planned giving circle to its supporters in honor of Chambers to inspire future gifts by promoting others to consider Yolo Food Bank in their estate plans.


If you’re interested in investing in your community, consider planned giving options. We’d love to talk about your interests! Please reach out to Yolo Food Bank’s Senior Director of Development and Communications Steven Loya at steven@yolofoodbank.org.

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