Every year the master of business administration (MBA) professional development class at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton put their social entrepreneurship skills to work to support non-profit organizations. They share their business knowledge and entrepreneurial skills to raise awareness of the important work happening in the community’s not-for-profits.
This year the MBA professional development students worked with the Fredericton Community Kitchen to help with their Student Hunger Program which supports students in the community by eliminating hunger as an obstacle to learning.
In early January, the students met with Bart Myers, President of the Fredericton Community Kitchen, and other board members. Based on their conversation with him, they pinpointed six challenges the Fredericton Community Kitchen was facing and decided to work in six groups—each of which would target one of those challenges.
The following outlines how the students tackled each of these challenges:
FredRock Music Festival 2015: raising funds and awareness
This summer the likes of Joel Plaskett Emergency and Blue Rodeo will be entertaining thousands of fans at the FredRock Festival (http://www.fredrockfest.com/). Every one who buys a ticket or pass will have the option to donate $2 or $5 to the Student Hunger Program. The FredRock Festival website will feature the Student Hunger Program to help create awareness of how important this program is, and to inform visitors of the opportunity to support it. During the two day festival (July 17-18) the students and members of the FCK will be hosting an information booth about the Student Hunger Program and selling 50/50 tickets. The potential of this project to raise extra funds for the program and create more awareness of the impact it is having on the lives of students in Fredericton is significant.
Fixing Student Hunger: the magic of community
Hunger doesn’t end at school, so the FCK has developed a Backpack Program, to complement their Luncheon Program, to send food home with school children over the weekends. This year during National Hunger Awareness Week (May 5-9) the FCK will be promoting both programs and this group of MBA students produced video to help them. The video highlights the FCK’s Lunch and Backpack Programs and is the first online media asset created as part of the FCK’s new online social media marketing campaign.
A Fresh Face: creating a new website and strategy
This group worked with the FCK to create a new web presence. Along with creating a fresh new look, the team moved all the content onto the new site, and integrated all of the organization’s social media accounts into the site so that they could be managed from one platform – Facebook, Twitter, and a brand new Youtube channel. Additionally, they are providing training and guidance to FCK staff, so that the switch will be as seamless as possible.
Hunger Awareness Week: raising funds and awareness
To help raise funds and awareness about the Student Hunger and Backpack programs, this group developed a one-page proposal and pitch to target local grocery stores to give shoppers the option to donate to the FCK with each purchase during Hunger Awareness Week (May 5-9).
Deals for Wheels: finding support for vehicle maintenance
The FCK owns one vehicle, a 2008 Dodge Ram Pickup, which they use for all their food pick-ups and deliveries. The annual cost of running and maintaining this vehicle is approximately $8,000. To help the FCK save money on this expense, a group of students met with several auto service providers in the area to see if they could find someone willing to provide discounts towards the maintenance of the vehicle. They were in luck! They found several who willing to provide discounts, and one in particular who offered free oil changes, oil filters and checks for the life of the vehicle.
Staying Cool: finding support for refrigeration maintenance
When you’re in the food industry, refrigeration means everything! The refrigeration unit owned by the FCK is a few years old and in need of regular maintenance and repair. The costs for this type of work can add up significantly. The FCK will be moving to a new location in a few years, and will need to purchase new refrigeration units when they do. Until then, this group of students contacted every refrigeration company and contractor in town until they found a perfect fit with someone who was willing to maintain the current unit and keep it running at a discount.