It finally feels like fall here in Northern New Jersey and the time of year that we traditionally set aside for expressing thanks is right around the corner. While, of course, we feel fortunate each and every day for the good fortune that comes our way, this is the time when we bundle it all up and express our sincerest gratitude.
In a world of change, there are those who support and inspire us to take on the challenges that face our communities. It requires the compassion and commitment of many to rescue and deliver enough food in one year to provide 18 million meals to feed our hungry neighbors. Sponsors, donors, volunteers, our staff and drivers make the day-to-day operations possible. But to remain responsive to the needs of people whose struggles continue to grow requires a greater vision and responsiveness on the institutional level.
In an earlier blog, we gratefully announced that Bank of America had awarded Table to Table a significant monetary grant and entrance into their Neighborhood Builders program. As you might know, Neighborhood Builders is the nation’s most substantial philanthropic investment in nonprofit leadership development. Out of 700+ applicants, just 62 organizations are chosen each year and we are honored to be one of them. As our organization enters its next stage of development, this opportunity couldn’t have come at a better time.
We announced receiving the award in January and talked about the first session of the program in March which focused on organizational foundations that include leadership, sustainability and the ability to tell our story. As we wrapped up our third and final session just this month, we focused on overcoming obstacles in fundraising, the value of peer coaching and setting up positive outcomes by learning approaches that impact funding, relationships, and leadership.
One of the standout themes in these sessions was leading in challenging political times and how nonprofits are working toward solving social problems at the community level. The big question being; what are the changes in approach to building an inclusive economy? Nonprofit leaders are going to be defining big ideas, innovations in fundraising, and entrepreneurship as ways to change the story and change the world – or at least our corner of it. Capturing and developing compelling stories of the communities, families, and neighbors we serve is a dramatic narrative that we can share to create a greater understanding of how an inclusive economy helps us all. The sessions were intense and packed with information that will prepare us for the challenges ahead in our ever changing world.
Neighborhood Builders speaks to the commitment of Bank of America to have a long-term impact on communities by developing organizational readiness. It also speaks to the importance of our work, bringing healthy, nutritious food that would otherwise go to waste to the people who need it most, here in Hudson, Bergen, Essex, and Passaic counties.
Thank you to everyone who supports our mission and who understands the joy and hope that they help us bring with each delivery. From donors like Bank of America to the elementary school child who empties her piggy bank into one of our Bag a Lunch bags, we thank you for the decision you have made to share your abundance – and your hearts – right here in this community. Although the calendar reflects that it’s that time of year to give thanks, we are indebted to all of you every single day our trucks make a delivery that nourishes the young children, single moms, veterans, and senior adults who are waiting to share in their bounty.