GBFB President and CEO Catherine D’Amato gave a speech to Harvard Business School students earlier this year in which she challenged students to “develop an innovative, cost-effective, scalable way for pantries to deliver food.” To answer that question, small teams of Harvard Business School Online students from around the world embarked on the first ever HBS Online Community Challenge.
A group of ten teams submitted proposals for this first-ever “End Hunger Challenge.” From that group, GBFB Team Members met to debate the merits of each proposal and selected five finalists—from Boston, Los Angeles, New York, Oslo, Norway, and Sao Paulo, Brazil—who had the most compelling plans to address food insecurity.
After whittling the group down to five, the students presented their ideas through the state-of-the-art HBS Online Classroom at WGBH Studios in Brighton. GBFB Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President of Distribution Services Carol Tienken and Senior Vice President Cheryl Schondek were on hand to discuss the proposals in real time with the finalists and offer their expertise on operating hunger-relief organizations.Ultimately, Carol and Cheryl chose the New York City team as the competition winner. Their proposal including developing a mobile app to help with warehouse inventory management, incentives for volunteering, streamlined coordination of pantries and their clients, as well as broadening the scope of GBFB’s efforts.
“We know that once people understand what foodbanking is about, they want to get involved,” said Carol. “I know that we got ideas from this challenge that we can do. All of them have given us things to think about.”