Manna Food Center is the largest food resource in Maryland’s Montgomery County, a region emblematic of the increasing suburbanization of poverty in the United States. Montgomery County has many of the demographics of an urban area, but also significant swaths of agricultural land by design. The county supports the local farming community, new immigrants, an aging population, and, alongside all this, pockets of affluence. Increasingly, the residents of Montgomery County are becoming aware of income inequality within the community. Manna Food Center, which has been working in regional food distribution, education, and advocacy for 35 years, is often approached by locals eager to volunteer. Sometimes, Manna’s prospective volunteers say they want to help, but aren’t sure what they can offer the organization beyond a raised hand. Other times, companies have approached Manna with plans to scope a project, but subsequently struggle to follow through with the commitment from a skilled volunteer. Mitchell, however, was a different case.
The Pro Bono Consultant
With a consulting background from a career at Deloitte, Mitchell set up his own private consulting practice and deliberately incorporated pro bono service into his business structure. When Mitchell approached the Manna staff with an offer to provide skills-based volunteer consulting work, his nuanced approach set him apart from the outset. Mitchell was clear on the parameters both of his time commitment and expertise so as to find his niche within Manna.
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