Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley Announces Nonprofit Recipients of Cash Grants to Implement Pro Bono Strategic Advice

Jun 17, 2011

15 Nonprofits Across the U.S. Received Pro Bono Services from Morgan Stanley Strategy Challenge Teams; Cash Grants Awarded to Women’s Initiative, Feeding America and Episcopal Social Services

New York —


Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) announced that the nonprofits Women’s Initiative for Self Employment, Feeding America and Episcopal Social Services received cash grants to implement pro bono strategic advice provided by Morgan Stanley professionals at the Third Annual Morgan Stanley Strategy Challenge. 

This year, the Strategy Challenge paired teams of outstanding Morgan Stanley professionals with 15 nonprofit organizations across the country for eight weeks to provide pro bono strategic advice on issues related to business model optimization, geographic and program expansion, and new ventures.  All together, the Morgan Stanley teams donated more than 6,500 hours of high-impact analysis and advice – equivalent to a market value of approximately $1 million based on pro bono standards developed by the Pro Bono Action Tank, which estimates how nonprofits should value in-kind contributions.  This figure does not capture the additional value that the actual recommendations and strategies have brought to the nonprofits in areas such as productivity improvements, new revenue streams and more efficient business models.  Over the past three years, the Strategy Challenge has cumulatively delivered approximately 14,500 hours to 36 nonprofits.

The teams presented their final recommendations in a competition at Morgan Stanley’s New York headquarters on June 15.  The nonprofits associated with the top three teams – Women’s Initiative for Self Employment, Feeding America and Episcopal Social Services – were presented cash grants of $25,000, $15,000 and $10,000, respectively, by Morgan Stanley President and CEO James Gorman.

“The Morgan Stanley Strategy Challenge takes our firm’s key asset – our talented professionals – and shares them with organizations that could use the added resources to tackle critical strategic issues,” said James Gorman, President and CEO of Morgan Stanley.  “Our teams have put in thousands of hours of work, and we hope that their recommendations will help the nonprofits amplify their impact within their communities.  Giving back is part of what Morgan Stanley stands for.”

The first-place team worked with Women’s Initiative to determine how the organization could best prepare itself for its desire to expand.  The team provided the organization with key financial and organizational benchmarks it needs to achieve to prepare itself for growth beyond the San Francisco Bay area.

“Taking businesses to scale is exciting – but potentially dangerous – so having Morgan Stanley experts providing us with the triggers and the safe pathway to achieve that scale was invaluable, and will lead to thousands of women finding economic security as well as job creation when our country needs it the most,” said Julie Castro Abrams, CEO of Women’s Initiative. 

Janet Gibbs, Chief Financial Officer of Feeding America said, “We were thrilled and honored to be among the selected charities that benefitted from the Morgan Stanley Strategy Challenge.  The collaborative business model that the Morgan Stanley team developed will allow us to harness the power of the network to achieve significant cost savings – in order to feed more people, in more places, throughout America.”

Elizabeth McCarthy, Executive Director, Episcopal Social Services, commented, “The Morgan Stanley team we worked with really embraced our programs and the children we serve, and helped us to quantify the success of our early childhood education programs.  They also helped us establish a diversified funding model that will enable us to continue to serve low-income children in New York City despite significant cuts to public subsidies.  We are so grateful for the continued partnership of Morgan Stanley.”

This year, the Strategy Challenge expanded to include nonprofits from San Francisco and Chicago, as well as New York City (see below).  The organizations’ missions address issues ranging from childhood nutrition and job training, to educational advancement and wildlife conservation – among others.  They were selected from among hundreds of nonprofit partners of the Firm through a rigorous selection process. 

The Strategy Challenge is jointly sponsored by Morgan Stanley's Global Sustainable Finance Group and Morgan Stanley Community Affairs Office.

“Morgan Stanley is committed to contributing its business and financial expertise to help non-profits develop the long-term sustainable business models they need for enduring success,” said Audrey Choi, Head of Global Sustainable Finance at Morgan Stanley. 

Added Joan Steinberg, Global Head of Community Affairs at Morgan Stanley: “The issue of scalability can be difficult for charities to manage.  Since the Strategy Challenge was launched two years ago, nonprofits continue to tell us our professionals’ pro bono advice is helping them to grow and achieve their strategic objectives.”

Participating Nonprofits

  • Episcopal Social Services
  • Feeding America
  • Green Chimneys
  • Hispanic Scholarship Fund
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center
  • Olana Partnership
  • Only Make Believe
  • Reach the World
  • Sponsors for Educational Opportunity
  • Sustainable South Bronx
  • Upwardly Global
  • VOICES of September 11
  • Wildcat
  • Wildlife Conservation Society
  • Women's Initiative

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Media Relations Contact: Sandra Hernandez, 212.761.2446