Fighting Hunger With Pro Bono, Part 3
September is Hunger Action Month. A month to take action, spread the word, and dedicate ourselves to ending hunger. In honor of this month, and as part of our hunger initiative--Accelerate Change--Taproot is releasing inspiring stories of pro bono making an impact. Thanks to support from Alliance to End Hunger, we're showcasing how three organizations are taking advantage of expertise to do everything from effectively providing healthy meals and expanding access to fresh food, to increasing the promotion of regional food distribution, education, and advocacy to those who need it. Creating a food-secure future will take all of our resources, including our human capital. Join us this month, and every month, to use your skills in the fight to end hunger.
The Impact of Pro Bono on the Fight to End Hunger: the Patachou Foundation
In the aftermath of the Great Recession, Indianapolis saw a stark uptick in concentrated poverty. Downtown Indianapolis—with coffee shops and farm-to-table restaurants—continues to enjoy a developing cultural scene, but other regions of the city face a mounting crisis. Indianapolis was recently ranked worst in the country for food access1 , and a study by Feeding America reported that 19.4 percent of Marion County (primarily Indianapolis) faces food insecurity, compared to the national average of 15.4 percent2 . Many residents have to walk over one mile to reach their nearest grocery store, pushing them to rely on snacks from gas stations instead of fresh, healthy produce.
The Patachou Foundation is a mainstay of the Indianapolis community, working to undo the effects of food insecurity and inaccessibility in the city. Using the Patachou, Inc. restaurant’s production kitchen, the Patachou Foundation prepares and serves high-quality meals, while volunteer educators and chefs teach kids about both nutrition and food preparation. Patachou maintains this labor-intensive operation with a roster of skilled volunteers—many of whom are professional restaurant workers—who prepare and serve around 350 meals per week.
Pro Bono at All Levels
The Patachou Foundation has used high-impact pro bono in many ways at their organization. Hunger nonprofits often tackle several deep-seated issues at once, from poverty to food access to nutrition. Patachou wanted to tell this story succinctly but was struggling to tie together all the pieces that comprise hunger issues. To do this, they connected with Eli Lilly and Company’s Elanco branch for a communications project. Giving back to the community, Eli Lilly conducted a training for Patachou’s executive team and board of directors, which involved a one-day seminar and ‘Think on Your Feet’ coaching on communication. Patachou now has crisp and succinct messaging which has resulted in clearer communications across the organization.
Skilled volunteers can also be used for short-term projects, which bring additional skills to the organization that aren’t available in house. For example, Patachou needed a video for an upcoming annual fundraiser but didn’t have the internal expertise to produce one quickly. On Taproot+, an online platform for matching nonprofits with skilled volunteers, Patachou was connected with a professional videographer for an eight-hour project. The videographer spent one day conducting interviews and gathering social media collateral, ultimately producing a 90-second video. Media clips that may have ended up on the cutting room floor were put to further use on the Patachou website, extending the project’s impact beyond the fundraiser
About the Taproot Foundation
Taproot Foundation, a U.S. based nonprofit, connects nonprofits and social change organizations with passionate, skilled volunteers who share their expertise pro bono. Taproot is creating a world where organizations dedicated to social change have full access—through pro bono service—to the marketing, strategy, HR, and IT resources they need to be most effective. Since 2001, Taproot’s skilled volunteers have served 4,600 social change organizations providing 1.5 million hours of work worth over $160 million in value. Taproot is located in New York City, San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and Chicago and is leading a network of global pro bono providers in over 30 countries around the world.