Rock Island, Ill. (Nov. 14, 2023) – Royal Neighbors of America, a women-led fraternal benefit society based in Rock Island, Ill. has presented Rhiannon Menn, Founder and CEO at Lasagna Love with a Nation of Neighbors℠ empowerment award and grant.
Royal Neighbors offers life insurance and annuity products to its members and is driven by its mission of supporting women and serving communities. Nation of Neighbors is Royal Neighbors’ signature women’s empowerment program. It recognizes and supports women who work to empower women and girls through a nonprofit, business, or program. Nation of Neighbors recipients are influential leaders who exemplify the Royal Neighbors “neighbor-helping-neighbor” mission of community service.
During the pandemic, Rhiannon Menn was looking for a way to help other moms. She began cooking extra meals and leaving them on community members’ doorsteps. “One thing led to another, and I found myself at the head of a global nonprofit organization responsible for connecting thousands of people each week through homemade meal delivery,” said Rhiannon.
Lasagna Love has a three-part mission: to feed families, spread kindness, and strengthen communities. “We deliver kindness in the form of a lasagna pan. For some, it fulfills the need of a hungry belly, and for others, the need of a hungry soul,” said Rhiannon.
Rhiannon was nominated for the award and grant by Royal Neighbors employee and member, Ann Lembke, who has delivered over 20 lasagnas to families through Lasagna Love in 2023. To increase the impact she was making, Ann applied for the Royal Neighbors Difference Maker Fund (DMF). “I realized this program would allow me to make more lasagnas and serve more families,” said Ann.
“Rihannon’s work has empowered thousands of women on both a micro and macro level,” Ann stated in her nomination submission. “Not only has it empowered people - especially women – who are most commonly caretakers - to ask for help… Rihannon’s work has also empowered 300 volunteer leaders - most of whom are also women - to impact their own communities as part of the organization she built.”
“Rihannon’s work is the epitome of the Royal Neighbors mission,” said Royal Neighbors of America CEO and President Zarifa Reynolds. “She connects neighbors-with-neighbors in communities across the globe.”
Lasagna Love intends to utilize these grant funds to alleviate expenses linked to its recently developed volunteer platform, Project Ricotta. This initiative is a collaborative, open-source effort aimed at constructing a top-tier volunteer portal and app. “This project will help address challenges limiting our ability to continue to grow – like improving volunteer utilization and engagement, managing hyperlocal spikes in supply and demand, and enabling our volunteer leaders to leverage data,” said Rhiannon.
With the new volunteer portal, Lasagna Love expects to feed 1 million people annually by 2025. “From age 7 to 70, from all walks of life, our community of volunteer chefs has mobilized a true kindness movement that is touching the lives of countless individuals,” shared Rhiannon.
To date, Royal Neighbors has awarded more than $2.5 million in Nation of Neighbors grants nationwide.
More about Royal Neighbors of America
Royal Neighbors was founded in 1895 as a membership organization by nine pioneering women who recognized the need to insure the lives of women and children. Now, with more than 250,000 members nationwide, Royal Neighbors of America offers life insurance and annuity products to its members and is driven by its mission of supporting women and serving communities. The organization’s employees, members, and chapters across the country drive the mission through localized volunteerism and philanthropy programs making social impact the cornerstone of their work. In 2020, Royal Neighbors was upgraded to “A Excellent” (3rd highest out of 13) by the AM Best Company for overall financial strength and ability to meet ongoing obligations to certificate holders. The rating was affirmed as of November 30, 2021 and once again in 2022. In 2022, Royal Neighbors delivered $24.5 million in social good, record revenue and received an all-time high score from the Great Place to Work® employee survey, achieving their sixth Great Place to Work Certification. For more information about Royal Neighbors of America, go to royalneighbors.org.
Marie Young, Manager, Communications
Marie.Young@royalneighbors.org | (309) 732-8280