Maryland’s Intelligence Community is Collectively Driving Change
The Collective Power of Maryland’s Intelligence Community
There are things all of us wish we could change today: from the mundane, but growing pile of dirty dishes to the aspirational, state of the world. For any number of reasons, we may push such things off because “we can do it later” (the dishes) or “we won’t make a difference” (the world).
But, when it comes to fighting hunger, three members of Maryland’s Intelligence Community (IC) rejected this attitude. They, like the Maryland Food Bank (MFB), recognize that hunger is a problem that needs to be addressed now, and that together, we can make a difference – in as short a time as five weeks.
“I immediately contacted two of my peers in the Intelligence Community to have dinner and brainstorm what we could do to help.”
It Begins with Brainstorming
Bill Dunahoo, president of Nexxis Solutions, has been engaged with the Maryland Food Bank for some time. After a chance run-in with MFB board member Mary Frances Isakov, Bill was surprised to learn of the food bank’s funding gaps, as well as the growing need for food assistance during COVID.
“I immediately contacted two of my peers in the Intelligence Community – Jason Freedman, President of Cymertek Corporation, and Robert Harrison, Director of Business Development at iNovex Corporation – to have dinner and brainstorm what we could do to help,” said Bill.
Together, they decided they would start a five-week fundraising campaign during the holiday season, complete with matching gift opportunities. Their target audience? Their generous colleagues in Maryland’s Intelligence Community.
The question they had then was how to manage this organic, grassroots effort. How were they going to “convince people” the money they raised was actually going to the Maryland Food Bank?
Intelligent Solutions: Maryland Food Bank and Fenly
Bill called the food bank to present their campaign idea, and the Maryland Food Bank had a ready and simple solution: Fenly, the food bank’s Virtual Food Drive, individual fundraising, and team fundraising platform.
The IC team elected to start a Virtual Food Drive, which allows you to symbolically purchase items (like canned tuna or milk) toward a campaign goal.
The idea is similar to a traditional food drive – but even better. Virtual Food Drives eliminate the time and expense associated with hosting traditional food drives. They are also an especially good alternative to traditional food drives in the time of COVID. Since there is no food to physically handle and no physical group gathering, they provide a great means to keep families safe and fed during these trying times.
But perhaps the best benefit of hosting a Virtual Food Drive is that participants get to leverage the food bank’s wholesale buying power to make a greater impact through monetary donations than if they donated physical canned foods.
“The Maryland Food Bank made it exceedingly easy to run our campaign. Other than an email or call to our contemporaries, we didn’t have to do much.”
How the Power of Three Snowballed
The Intelligence Community is a sector that has endured the pandemic relatively unscathed – no one went without a paycheck – so the three friends knew it would be easy to reach out and find people who really were committed to helping our neighbors in need.
However, they didn’t anticipate just how successful their campaign would be.
During the virtual campaign, Bill, Jason, and Rob saw their industry’s comradery shine. Companies that they didn’t actively contact reached out to help.
What started off as a dinner conversation between three friends grew into a Virtual Food Drive backed by the support of 37 companies in the Intelligence Community.
Together, they raised $300,000 to benefit the Maryland Food Bank in just five weeks!
Because each dollar raised through Virtual Food Drives helps supply enough food to provide up to three meals, Maryland’s Intelligence Community was able to generate roughly 900,000 meals for our neighbors struggling during the pandemic.
You, Too, Can Start a Virtual Food Drive
After the success of their inaugural fundraising campaign, the three friends of the food bank are now encouraging other sectors to start their own Virtual Food Drive to help even more Marylanders.
They offer the following reasons you should make the most of MFB’s fundraising tools to help improve your community today:
It’s Fast and Efficient
The food bank’s “do-it-yourself” fundraising tool lets anyone start causing change today.
“Hosting a Virtual Food Drive allowed us to reach down into the grassroots of our companies instead of moving through leadership,” said Jason. “It helped us get more people involved, and faster.”
It Makes an Immediate, Local Difference
Rob thinks the success the Intelligence Community experienced with their VFD was due, in part, to the locality:
“As nice as it may have been to have a big, conglomerate participate in our fundraiser – it’s not always easy for them to do so, and they might not be local. This VFD brought together Maryland companies to help a Maryland nonprofit that helps Marylanders – that helps drive the initiative.”
It Has the Power to Inspire
The three agree that while there are plenty of nonprofits worth supporting, the Maryland Food Bank has a mission that everyone can understand and make personal – and it’s this commonality that inspires the collective to help their fellow Marylanders.
“Even if COVID does go away, the Maryland Food Bank still needs to do their important work,” says Bill. “I hope that grows, that we keep the excitement around helping our neighbors in need keep going, and we can inspire other groups in Maryland to do the same.”
Alone, the idea of ending hunger can seem out of any one person’s reach. But as Maryland’s Intelligence Community has demonstrated, together, with our own communities – whether work, school, friends, or family – we can make a difference, and we can do so today.
You, Too, Can Make a DifferenceStart your own Virtual Food Drive within your community today.
Register as a User on our Fenly website. Then, select “Virtual Food Drive” on the far-right side of the page to start the process. Fenly will guide you through a series of simple questions to help bring your vision to life.
Don’t forget to share your VFD on your social media channels to let friends, families, and followers know that together, you can help Maryland Food Bank keep people fed during COVID-19 – that together you can make sure all Marylanders have enough to eat.