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OUR RESULTS > GLEANERS COMMUNITY FOOD BANK

Helping a food bank improve their  facilities while maintaining focus on their core mission.

When Gleaners began to dive into a new, long-term project to improve its campus and make it more sustainable and accessible, it was a natural step for the organization reach out to Guy for strategic guidance. G.O. Williams & Associates L.L.C. principal, Guy Williams, first sat down with DeWayne Wells, President of Gleaners Community Food Bank in mid-2008 over coffee. Both were involved in work with the W. K. Kellogg Foundation's Food and Fitness Collaborative in Detroit and had high degree of respect for one another based on a few interactions and word-of-mouth from colleagues. The two met again later in the year when Gleaners took over as the lead agency on the Collaborative so that DeWayne could learn more about Guy's work with the project. Guy and DeWayne maintained a connection through mutual networks in the food systems community.

Challenge

Gleaners was founded with the purpose of nourishing communities by feeding hungry people. Last year, the organization distributed over 30 million pounds of food. The food bank has won dozens of awards for its exceptional service in the community and for its excellent management; however, the food bank staff, while clear experts in the realm of food security and food distribution, have little experience in managing large-scale construction projects or in environmental assessment and green-building. The organization had received a planning grant from the Kresge Foundation, which had yielded some excellent planning documents and products, but it wasn't clear how to use this set of tools to move forward into implementation.

Solution

After a few initial discussions, Gleaners drew up a formal contract with G.O. Williams and Associates to provide leadership as Gleaners moved ahead on implementation of their vision for updated facilities and the development of a community greenway. Gleaners hired Guy as the main project manager to guide the project on every level: from broad vision to day-to-day implementation. By trusting Guy's experience, his technical expertise, and his deep alignment with Gleaners' mission, the Gleaners management team was able to take a step back from day-to-day oversight of the facilities project and focus on their core mission. Even in the early stages of the project, Guy has been able to bring tangible value to the project by helping to identify possible architects, drafting a comprehensive RFP, organizing the environmental assessments, and providing advice on the selection process for contractors. As the project continues to develop, Guy's role will continue to evolve and adapt into whatever is needed to accomplish Gleaners' vision.

More about the Organization: Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan was founded in 1977. Its activities fall into one of two categories: procuring and distributing food or fostering reliance on sources other than emergency food. Gleaners fuels the pipeline for emergency food providers by maintaining an inventory of perishable and non-perishable food. These items are distributed to communities in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston, and Monroe counties using a network of 420 partner agencies. To learn more about Gleaners and its programs, visit www.gcfb.org.

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"[Guy] really pays attention and explains things thoroughly. And I feel he gets our organization and our situation. He understands there are expectations and limitations around funding and he's thoughtful about trying to meet our goals while staying within those parameters."

Bridgett Lomax
Senior Director of External Affairs
Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan

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