Fundraising for Food

Public Administration graduate helping to end hunger and build relationships
Dannielle Pinson, BSBA '15, MPA, '17

Until 2021, Sawyer Business School graduate Dannielle Pinson, BSBA '15, MPA, '17, worked as manager of development and corporate relations at the Greater Boston Food Bank, one of more than 34,000 nonprofits in the state of Massachusetts.

One in 11 people in Eastern Massachusetts is food insecure. That’s about nine percent of the population. Nationally, the numbers are even more dire: 1 in 8 people, or 12.5 percent.

But Boston-native Dannielle Pinson is doing her part to change that as corporate relations manager at the Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB). Along with her colleagues, Pinson, a double Ram who earned her Bachelor of Arts in 2015 and her Master of Public Administration (MPA) in 2017, hopes to raise $18.2 million this year.

“Raising money is hard!” she says. “You may get a lot more noes than yeses, but when you get the yeses it feels really good.”

Pinson says she loves the relationship-building part of the job, whether it’s the interactions she has with current partners or reestablishing partnerships that may have lapsed.

“What works best for me is stepping back, taking that $18.2 million number out of my head first, and putting the human aspect back into the work,” Pinson says. “Get the partners to come down to the Food Bank, tour the warehouse, show them why it’s important they join our mission.”

A Strong Cohort

The power of relationships in the non-profit space is something Pinson learned as a student in the MPA program.

“The best part of the MPA experience is the sense of community you get in the program, the peer-to-peer learning,” she says. “Yes, the professors are great. Yes, the content is great. But the best parts are the real conversations that you have with folks in the field, people who are doing the work. You learn at so many different levels that way.”

A Boston native, Pinson was a student in the Melrose Public Schools thanks in part to the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity Program (METCO). It’s a voluntary program intended to expand educational opportunities, increase diversity, and reduce racial isolation by permitting students in certain cities to attend public schools in other communities that have agreed to participate.

“I’m used to being an ‘only’ or an ‘other,’” she says. “So to me it’s vital to break spaces to let people come in so they do feel included. That’s why a colleague and I are exploring how we can get more people of color actively involved with the Food Bank’s smaller leadership programs.”

While Pinson enjoys her work at the GBFB, she says she wouldn’t mind being a student again, particularly because the new non-profit minor the Sawyer Business School launched this fall is right up her alley.

“I want to ask them for a re-do!” she laughs. 


Greg Gatlin
Office of Public Affairs

Ben Hall
Office of Public Affairs