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Spring 2020 LAB Grant: A Place To Serve At The Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank

Our Spring 2020 LAB Grant partnership with the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank has been a deeply fulfilling project to be a part of in the midst of these uncertain times. Last month, the Management Incubator class came together as a team and poured their ideas, time and construction skills into improving the volunteer training room at the Food Bank headquarters. Volunteers play a key role in dispersing goods to thousands of families in need in the Baton Rouge area, and this class of emerging business leaders poured all of their talents into making sure they have a welcoming, organized space to work.

The LAB Grant funding initiative allows us to develop emerging leaders while serving non-profits that improve the lives of Baton Rouge residents. As our second grant recipient, the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank is working closely with our Management Incubator and Leadership Coaching Series classes on a facility improvement and strategic planning project. In addition to free consulting from the talented professionals in our training courses, the Food Bank will be awarded $1000 in discretionary funds.

“It’s been really awesome getting to work together on an impactful project with people outside of our typical work environment.” – Joy Lindsey, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center

For the first phase of this partnership, Food Bank representatives asked that the Management Incubator class help improve the efficiency and functionality of their volunteer space – while making it more comfortable and inviting. Local leaders from the banking, business, healthcare and chemical production sectors fully immersed themselves in the work, producing a feasibility study and project timeline before executing their vision. One team member from Mary Bird Perkins stated that the goal for the project was to “create a fun and inviting atmosphere, so volunteers want to come back and bring their families and friends with them in the future.”

The plan coalesced around the need to generally spruce up and organize the room with paint, directional lines and other signage, amenities such as storage lockers, and fun elements like a chalkboard wall and decorative bulletin board for volunteer team photos. Installation day resulted in new sorting systems, fresh paint, and a #FIGHTHUNGER chalkboard wall all coming together to create a functional and exciting space. The room will receive heavy use as a multipurpose center to strategize, complete trainings, and educate the public about the work of the food bank.

We are grateful for partnerships and grants such as these that help us engage the community in new and exciting ways at no cost to those we serve.” – Mike Manning, CEO and President of the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank


This class of emerging leaders didn’t just contribute their time and energy towards improving the food bank – they took it upon themselves to raise additional funds from their companies, and presented a check to Volunteer Coordinator Bridgette Hebert Dembowski during a joint implementation planning meeting. The team members all expressed gratitude for how much they gained from this experience, with Shintech employee Robbie Kleinpeter stating that “everything is coming together and it’s been a really fun thing to watch and be a part of.”

The Management Incubator is designed to be an opportunity for participants to build their leadership skills while making a real impact in the community, and this team of professionals truly embraced that mission. It has been a pleasure to work with the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank through this process, and we look forward to the next stage of our partnership with the Leadership Coaching Series addressing their strategic and sustainability gaps.

Do you know of a local nonprofit who may like to be our next project partner? The LAB Grant application period will open again this summer – candidates just have to fill out a brief application. The grant recipient will have the opportunity to work with our Management Incubator and Leadership Coaching Series on a space enhancement and strategic initiative project of their choosing. They will also receive a monetary donation of $1,000. Learn more about the LAB Grant here

Management Incubator participants leave with an understanding of the competencies they’ll need as they take the next steps in their careers, and action plans to help develop those competencies. The ideal candidate is a successful individual contributor who was recently promoted or is being considered for promotion to a supervision or management position. Contact us to learn more.

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