Paving the Way: Unsung Hero
Welcome to NonProfit PRO’s 2017 Nonprofit Professionals of the Year Awards. This entry is for Nonprofit Professional of the Year. To view all of this year’s award winners, click here.
Waste Not is a nonprofit organization that collects an average of 8,000 to 10,000 pounds of excess perishable food daily and delivers the food to over 100 agencies that feed the hungry, which include schools, after-school programs, daycare centers, rehabilitation centers, transition homes and senior facilities.
Under Dee Mitten’s strategic direction, the organization has rescued and transferred three million pounds of food in 2016—feeding over 50,000 people in Arizona. While this may seem like a remarkable success for the organization, Mitten often reminds her staff, board of directors and present and prospective donors that the organization’s work is far from done.
She is proactive in attracting funds from organizations and has made positive steps in major gifts over the last three years, which include several six-figure gifts. Mitten describes herself as “not one of those high-powered executive directors, hob-knobbing with wealthy donors.” She has genuine passion for the organization’s mission and has an energy that is contagious and inspiring as it is effective in rallying support.
“Dee is the ultimate leader and is unafraid to deal with all the segments and people involved in the rescue and delivery of fresh food. She deals equally well with Waste Not drivers as she does with Werner Schemacher, owner of numerous Mercedes-Benz dealerships and a dedicated supporter of Dee and Waste Not,” Nancy Grace, philanthropy director at Graceful Fundraising, said. “She is the most dependable person most of us will ever know. She has great ideas, is energetic and simply makes things happen.”