Great Northern Services

Weaving a stronger community, together...

Weed, CA   |


Great Northern Services invigorates communities by initiating positive social change to improve economic conditions.

Notes from the nonprofit

GNS helps address the typical negative outcomes of chronic poverty such as health problems due to poor nutrition, by enabling each community to provide their own solutions through existing government and local resources. We are solving the problem of meeting basic needs by helping to increase regular access to food, assisting with home energy costs, and working with cities and towns to access federal funding and maintain functioning municipal services. Our work means that local communities can focus on vitality and growth instead of devoting all their resources to meeting the basic needs of residents.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Marie-Josée Wells

Main address

310 Boles Street

Weed, CA 96094 USA

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Formerly known as

Great Northern Corporation



NTEE code info

Rural (S32)

Management & Technical Assistance (W02)

Food Banks, Food Pantries (K31)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Poverty in rural California comes with its set of challenges—from economically depressed communities with high rates of food insecurity, to the long distances traveled for food/services, and remote communities with extreme weather. Great Northern Services seeks to address the problems that hurt our county—making food available to low-income households, delivering prepared meals to the doors of seniors, keeping the power on and heating fuel costs affordable, making home repairs to increase safety and lower expenses, providing small businesses with economic development, assisting cities in improving their residents quality of life. Children who worry about having enough to eat over school breaks go home with a bag of food. Low-income families who can’t afford to travel have food resources delivered in their communities. Seniors with limited income or access to food have more options and more connections. Families that worry about being able to heat their homes get firewood delivered.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Community Food Program

Countywide Emergency and Supplemental Food - over 20 sites:
• Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)
• USDA Commodities distribution
• Local food pantry distribution
• State emergency boxes

Child Nutrition
• Free child summer lunches
• School holiday snack bag program
• Mini-pantries in schools

Senior Nutrition (60+)
• Meals on Wheels South Siskiyou
• USDA Commodities Supplemental Food Program (CSFP)

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

GNS helps low-income eligible Siskiyou County households pay heating costs once a year for their electric, oil, wood, or propane.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

GNS receives funding through Federal, State and Private sources to weatherize sub-standard housing occupied by low-income Siskiyou County residents.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

GNS administers the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Housing Rehabilitation Program in various communities in Siskiyou County designed to provide assistance to income-eligible homeowners in the form of loans to finance the cost of necessary repairs. Housing Preservation Grants are coupled with the Weatherization Department work to make homes more energy-efficient and handicapped accessible. We partner with local government to bring substantial funds into our region to update aging infrastructure.

Population(s) Served

We couple innovative individuals with money from the federal government to generate jobs and tax revenue for Siskiyou County communities. Business loan funds are available throughout Siskiyou County. These loans and grants are intended to create or retain jobs and help businesses become confidently sustainable.

Population(s) Served

Through Meals on Wheels South Siskiyou, GNS delivers home-delivered meals to seniors 60+ residing within the four South County communities of Mt. Shasta, Weed, Dunsmuir, and McCloud, who meet home-delivery service criteria. We also serve seniors who formerly visited congregate sites or used transportation to visit sites. We also offer a pet assistance program to senior nutrition clients.

All of the meals we offer feature complex carbohydrates, nutrient-packed vegetables, and healthy proteins. We also have options to meet common dietary restrictions, such as a diabetic or gluten-free diet.

GNS is a member of Meals on Wheels of America.

Population(s) Served

In Mt. Shasta, a snowfall leaving berms along the roadside often spells injury or blocked access to food or medicine for some vulnerable seniors. This City program serves seniors 60+ and also puts local contractors to work for community benefit.

Population(s) Served

The Siskiyou County HIV/AIDS Foundation and GNS help individuals who are HIV positive with access to healthcare and support services.

Population(s) Served
People with HIV/AIDS

Where we work

Affiliations & memberships

Chamber of Commerce 2011

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

We plan to:
1. Diversify and grow revenue streams
2. Improve and maintain workplace safety
3. Increase community outreach: recipients, donors, sponsors, partners, volunteers, board, and employees
4. Develop leadership abilities and potential of the team

1. Maintain the current level of federal funding for services
2. Where federal funding is supplemental, increase complementary revenue by 25%
2. Implement keys steps to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in the workplace, including a) create a plan for a safe work environment that protects employees and clients from exposure and transmission; b) ensure our facility is clean, disinfected, and equipped with hand sanitizer stations; and c) maintain a support system for employees to address new realities and emotional challenges
3. Strategize the organization's involvement and partnerships in the community and how we will communicate it: a) identify a monthly goal; b) consult with relevant stakeholders; c) research opportunities and challenges; d) Identify the right audience for the goal; e) define the outreach strategy
4. Keep hiring talented staff members and provide them with support and opportunities to become effective leaders

Federal Funding:
GNS maintains federal funding through ongoing programs and continued contracts for emergency and supplemental food and energy, weatherization, community and business development and HIV/AIDS programs. We are adjusting to a pause in weatherization services due to the pandemic crisis by reallocating staff to an ongoing construction project. We plan to increase supplemental revenue through strong opportunities presented in a long-term grant plan and a fundraising plan that encompasses corporate support and major donations.

Workplace Safety:
GNS has implemented a successful hybrid work program with several at-risk staff members working from home and some staff working a combination of home and office shifts to minimize the number of employees onsite at any given time. Staff members working in the office adhere to strict safety guidelines including wearing masks in shared spaces and using hand sanitizer. Physical distancing measures are in place so clients can still be served in the office if they cannot apply for services via mail or phone. GNS is still effective at delivering and expanding services and will be able to continue our important services because our staff and clients are safe.

Our staff is meeting the challenge of immediate response to the coronavirus crisis, including doubling countywide food distribution almost overnight. Our team is highly dedicated to assisting others in need, and therefore we maintain an important spirit of cohesiveness and drive, especially in the face of crisis. We invest in our staff's knowledge and well-being, including providing educational opportunities, time off as needed to tend to personal and family needs, and ongoing support with emotional and professional needs during challenging times.

Community Services reaches every community in the county providing children, seniors, and the general public with nutrition services, including fresh produce programs. Seniors in designated areas also benefit from snow removal services.

Energy Assistance & Weatherization have improved the living conditions of thousands of low-income households.

Economic Development provided hundreds of businesses with the capital they needed to succeed.

Community Development has helped small municipalities access capital to improve their infrastructure.

Great Northern Services leverages our staff's experience and our proven ability to create lasting relationships with other community agencies to complete innovative projects such as the countywide strategic planning project Siskiyou Occupational Advancement Roadmap and its implementation complement,, as well as Resilience plans for the cities of Weed and Montague. We continue to assess and address community food and home energy assistance needs, weatherization and rehabilitation demands, and continue to collaborate with other agencies and organizations to provide solutions.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Siskiyou County communities are known for their resilience and perseverance in the face of a chronically poor economy. When appropriate resources are made available, local community members effectively work together to help everyone share in the resources and ensure that these resources go to the best use. GNS helps improve community vitality by delivering basic needs resources to each community and supporting residents in activating these resources.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Case management notes, Community meetings/Town halls, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees, Suggestion box/email, Personal visits,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    Meals on Wheels America provided funding opportunities in 20201 supporting pet food and supplies for the clients of regional member-providers, including Meals on Wheels South Siskiyou. Our team connects individually with each Meals on Wheels client who has a pet to find out what their pet needs, and to help ensure that they have adequate supplies if they needed to evacuate due to wildfire. The evacuation question arose in talking to several clients. This feedback led to wildfire preparedness being a core feature of the new Meals on Wheels Pet Assistance program. Another topic that arose was the need for congregate meal clients to receive similar assistance, which we were able to accomplish with the same funding source.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners, The general public,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    The communities we serve are in constant communication with our teams, as we serve 20 sites countywide, working closely with volunteers who are tapped in to the needs of their own communities. People are comfortable relaying needs and successes to our teams. We respond to feedback in person and through emailing or calling people who express interest in effecting change or becoming more deeply involved. Our supporters are very vocal and very much a part of the conversation and process of improving their own communities. They call us, email us, talk to our teams, send messages through social media, send cards, and share and recommend our online content. This engagement is growing monthly, as more community members become aware of the various ways to communicate and become part of GNS.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    The time needed to implement new technology such as video testimonial pages,


Great Northern Services

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Great Northern Services

Board of directors
as of 01/24/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Heather Weldon

Great Northern Services

Term: 2011 - 2020

Board co-chair

Robert Menzies

Great Northern Services

Term: 2011 - 2020

Heather Weldon

Banner Bank

Robert Menzies

Menzie's Native Nursery

Terry Mazingo

Investors First Mortgage

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/24/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation

No data


Equity strategies

Last updated: 01/24/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.