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Meeting Essential Needs with Dignity, Inc. and Leonard Cheshire Teams Win Morgan Stanley’s 14th Annual Strategy Challenge Supporting Nonprofits in the U.S. and the U.K.

  • Morgan Stanley employees provided pro bono consulting services for 15 nonprofits
  • 183 nonprofits served since the program’s launch in 2009

Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) today announced the winners of this year’s Strategy Challenge, the Firm’s flagship pro bono program, which brings together rising talent to help nonprofit organizations solve strategic, mission-critical challenges. Winning teams supported Meeting Essential Needs with Dignity, Inc. (MEND) and Leonard Cheshire, in the U.S. and the U.K. respectively.

Over the past 10 weeks, Morgan Stanley employees have provided in-depth, pro bono consulting services to 15 nonprofits on topics including organizational expansion and how to scale strategy, as well as enhancing efficiency and effectiveness through business and program models. The 2023 Strategy Challenge culminated in events in New York and London, where teams presented their recommendations to nonprofit sector experts and senior leaders at the Firm.

The winning U.S. team collaborated with MEND, a nonprofit focused on increasing access to fresh and healthy food for food insecure families in Essex County, New Jersey. The Morgan Stanley team was challenged to identify the demographics most in need of services and partnerships to maximize the impact of MEND’s direct-delivery program. Through analysis, the team identified families with young children as the priority population, established criteria for assessing potential partners and recommended optimizations for MEND’s current operating model.

“Our dedicated Morgan Stanley team analyzed an abundance of internal and external quantitative and qualitative data that we hadn’t had the capacity to explore deeply,” said Robin Peacock, Executive Director at MEND. “With their expertise, we were able to more fully understand community needs, test and validate our existing programming and design a blueprint for future growth. This 10-week program saved us thousands of hours of staff time and accelerated the transformation of hunger relief in our community!”

The winning team in the U.K. worked with Leonard Cheshire, a pan-disability charity that supports disabled people to live, learn and work as independently as they choose. The Morgan Stanley team analyzed how the nonprofit could effectively scale its employment program, Change 100, to ensure more young disabled people have access to work. Following extensive research into the employer market, the team’s winning recommendation included an implementation plan and tools to enhance the employer value proposition, restructure program delivery and improve data capture.

“We are thrilled the team working on our flagship Change 100 programme won the 2023 Morgan Stanley Strategy Challenge,” said Marcus Missen, Executive Director, Advocacy, Partnerships and Impact at Leonard Cheshire. “We now have the insights, tools and confidence to supercharge the programme’s impact and support many more disabled people entering the world of work. It was a privilege to work with such a talented team, and we extend our heartfelt gratitude.”

“The Strategy Challenge is a testament to our employees’ deep commitment to giving back and effecting positive change,” said Joan Steinberg, Global Head of Philanthropy at Morgan Stanley and President of the Morgan Stanley Foundation. “Congratulations to each of this year’s teams for developing thoughtful strategic proposals to help nonprofits tackle critical societal issues with impact, including in education, healthcare, children’s wellbeing, mental health and food insecurity.”

The 15 nonprofits that participated in this year’s Strategy Challenge across the U.S. and the U.K. include:

  • Coach Core is a social mobility charity using the power of sport and apprenticeships to change the lives and career prospects of underrepresented young adults.
  • Common Denominator aims to help in-need middle school students love math and build confidence through tutoring and mentorship.
  • Directions for Our Youth engages young people as active partners in their own development as they seek to become thriving, self-sufficient adults and agents of change within their local and global communities.
  • Generation: You Employed, UK helps disadvantaged jobseekers facing barriers to employment by supporting them as they pursue life-changing careers they otherwise could not access.
  • I'RAISE Girls & Boys International Corporation is dedicated to supporting the mental wellness of youth and providing educational services and resources to children, parents and communities through holistic, low- to no-cost in-school and community-based services.
  • Leonard Cheshire believes in building a fairer, more inclusive society that recognizes the positive contributions we all make, and supports disabled people to live, learn and work as independently as they choose, whatever their ability.
  • Meeting Essential Needs with Dignity (MEND) strengthens the health of individuals and families in Essex County, New Jersey, by increasing access to fresh and healthy food.
  • Neighborhood Housing Services of Brooklyn (NHS Brooklyn) creates and preserves affordable housing by providing opportunities for homeownership education, financial assistance and community leadership.
  • NHS Charities Together works with and provides funding for over 230 local charities that support the workforce of the National Health Service while improving care for patients and communities across the U.K.
  • National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) has been protecting children for over 100 years – doing everything it can to prevent abuse and neglect, alongside providing expert support to help children recover.
  • Riverdale Neighborhood House strengthens its community in the Northwest Bronx by delivering programs and ensuring access to resources that build bonds, create networks and promote equity across generational, cultural, racial and economic lines.
  • Save the Children works in the U.K. and around the world to keep every child safe, healthy and educated. It has helped provide over 45 million children with the opportunities they need to survive and thrive.
  • Summer Search’s mission is to unleash students' potential through mentoring and transformative experiences.
  • The Sato Project is dedicated to rescuing abused and abandoned dogs in Puerto Rico, where an estimated 500,000 stray dogs (known locally as ”satos”) roam the island’s streets and beaches.
  • Thrive for Life aims to transform lives behind and beyond the prison walls.

For more on the Morgan Stanley Strategy Challenge, click here.

About Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) is a leading global financial services firm providing a wide range of investment banking, securities, wealth management and investment management services. With offices in 42 countries, the Firm’s employees serve clients worldwide including corporations, governments, institutions and individuals. For further information about Morgan Stanley, please visit


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