Bohn lends business acumen to Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin

Pay it Forward

Bohn

William Bohn
Executive vice president, head of private client and institutional services
Associated Bank
Nonprofit served: Feeding America Eastern WisconsinService: Board member

Growing up in a large family, Bill Bohn saw his mother set a high standard for hospitality.

“She always showed her caring for people through food,” Bohn said. “We always had lots of food going to lots of places when people were sick. On holidays, we always had extra places set for people who didn’t have a place to go. It was always a value that I was raised with.”

Bohn
Credit: Kat Schleicher Photography

And it’s a value that stuck with him. Over the years, Bohn and his wife have donated to food programs and lent a hand at soup kitchens on Thanksgiving.

Bohn enjoyed serving in that capacity. So when he was approached eight years ago to join the board of Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin and began learning more about the organization’s operations, he saw it as an opportunity to apply his business acumen for a greater cause.

“I wanted to do something good for people and help solve a problem, but I also wanted, because I’m a business person, do it in a very cost-effective, efficient businesslike manner,” he said. “So it’s the perfect marriage of those two concepts.”

Bohn, now in the middle of his two-year term as chairman of the board, appreciates Feeding America’s approach to hunger relief. As a national organization, Feeding America leverages partnerships in the supply chain that allow it to acquire food at below-retail prices and distribute it through pantries and meal programs.

“I never understood the logistics behind how much food was needed and how it got from one place to the other,” Bohn said. “So when I first learned about the concept of the food bank and what it was, it was intriguing. It’s really about efficiency and logistics. The more I learned about Feeding America’s model, the more impressed I was – it’s a significant and meaningful way to create a different outcome and solve hunger.”

Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin serves as a food bank for a network of more than 600 member organizations, including food pantries, meal programs, shelters and mobile pantries, to provide more than 20 million meals to about 400,000 people in 36 eastern Wisconsin counties each year.

And while Bohn enjoys being able to apply his business savvy to help the large-scale operation run efficiently, Feeding America officials note he’s also willing to roll up his sleeves when needed – to sort, label and pack food to make sure it gets to those who need it.

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