Faces of WID - October 2020

Photo of Joyce MacDonald

Name: Joyce MacDonald
Title & Organization: Assistant Director of Development, Women’s Philanthropy, Greater Boston Food Bank

WID Role: Member
Hometown: Abington
Lives Currently: Weymouth
Education: UMASS

Hobbies: running, yoga, reading, cooking and gardening

How have you been coping personally during quarantine?

Whew! Remote learning has been a tough transition. Initially, gardening was a way to safely enjoy the spring season and allow my kids to be outside. Now, we have settled into a new normal continuing remote learning but continuing to be cautious when attending sports and fall activities. For my partner and I, work has been busier than ever before, but we have come to a good balance this fall.

When and how did you join the development field? What path brought you to your current role?

I was recruited into my role by one of my past mentors, who I deeply respect. It was an easy decision knowing how committed and hardworking she was as a leader. Authenticity and honesty were two of her pillars and I was eager to learn new skills. 

Tell us a bit about the organization for which you currently work and how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the organization’s work:

Covid has drastically impacted our work at The Greater Boston Food Bank. Since the start of the pandemic we have more than doubled our healthy food distribution from 1 million pounds of food to 2-2.5 million pounds of food weekly. Our childhood hunger statistics are second in the nation, which should be concern for all of us. Support has been strong and we have developed greater fundraising infrastructure to engage our new donors. Generous support has allowed us to respond to locations in deep need with unique programming, and implement innovative supports. Early in the crisis, we provided our community partners with a five million dollar investment in grants, removal of fees and food purchases. GBFB continues to invest deeply in the purchase of healthy foods and innovate unique partnerships to support families in need.

What are some tips and tricks you have incorporated/learned from fundraising during the COVID-19 global pandemic?

Personally, I have started scheduling priorities and providing space to take a deep breath in my weekly calendar. Pace at The Greater Boston Food Bank since the start of the pandemic has been amazing and at times overwhelming. Each donor phone call and touchpoint matters and I work to celebrate those connections and prioritize outreach as a highlight of my work. There is nothing better than catching a donor for a conversation and building the relationship on a warm and

Why did you join WIDGB? How long have you been a member?

I have been a member for seven years! I still remember the new member breakfast and was thrilled when I walked in and already knew so many friends! Lunch and learn sessions remain so relevant to changes and updates in the field and they are perfectly timed.

Can you share with us an inspiring development story from your career?

Recently, I was speaking to a donor about why he supports GBFB and he stated that, for him, knowing how many local children we fed on a regular basis makes him consider his role as a supporter. He spoke to me about helping families provide stability within their own family structure to help children and parents to be the best individuals they can, with a little help. He was considering the possibility and future of our clients- how many future doctors, scientists or teachers are we helping now? In hunger relief we often talk about the immediate need rather than focusing on the long-term benefits of our work to help our clients achieve their goals.

What advice would you offer to someone new in the field of development?

We never stop learning! Recognizing how complex the field is and experience as many elements as you can before settling on a specialty or area of interest.
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