Episode 37: Heart Over Pocket | Alan Graham of Mobile Loaves & Fishes

Today we get to chat with Alan Graham, CEO, President & Co-Founder of Mobile Loaves & Fishes! Alan is also the visionary behind the MLF’s Community First Village and is certainly a man on a mission. Since founding the nonprofit in 1998, they have served over 5 million meals to the homeless. The Community First Village provides permanent and affordable housing for the chronically homeless. Alan shares his advice and wisdom on founding a non profit and working with some of the struggles. We were honored to sit down with such a motivated and determined nonprofit leader striving to change our community for the better. From just an image and vision to now a 24-acre RV park and nonprofit raising extremely high donations to help others and empower communities, Alan and his family are sure making Austin a better place for everyone.

 



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Key Takeaways:

[1:37] Alan grew up in Alvin, Texas, and moved to Austin in 1976, to attend the University of Texas.

[3:03] Mobile Loaves and Fishes started when Alan attended a men’s retreat and came out of the retreat with a calling to help others, and say yes to God. Shortly after, the image of a catering truck as a distribution vehicle for those who need help came to him, and he knew that was his next entrepreneurial purpose.

[5:49] Before Mobile Loaves, Alan was a real estate developer, and was working on air cargo facilities around airports in the United States. By 2003, he was solely working on Mobile Loaves full-time.

[7:16] Alan has gone through many struggles of starting his nonprofit, and gives advice to those just starting out, on sustaining donations and growing financial support.

[8:52] The Pareto Principle holds true for Alan’s business: 90% of their money comes from 10% of the people. Recognizing that is very important to know where to focus, when raising the type of money that ML&F does.

[10:58] The “H/P ratio” stands for heart over pocket, which is their philosophy of showing potential donors into the emotional part of what MLF does before asking for any amount of money.

[12:29] Thank you to our Sponsor, the Papasan Properties Group.

[15:10] Housing will never solve homelessness, but community will. The First Community Village is 24 acres and boasts a wide and impressive array of amenities. Alan and his wife, along with some other visionaries, live on the land, as well, to provide a community vibe and support system.

[18:57] Most of us benefit from a support net. Many homeless have just endured profound and catastrophic loss of family and people to support them in life. Unfortunately our society shuns them away instead of helping them feel loved and known.

[20:28] The three legged stool of MLF: the truck operation, the community first model, and community works, which empowers people to cultivate their lifestyle. Alan urges people to come by and check it out, through booking a scheduled tour, which they have every Saturday morning.

[25:59] Next week our guest is Holly Priestner.

The Taco:

Texas Honey Ham

Mentioned in This Episode:

Mobile Loaves & Fishes

Community First Village

The One Thing, by Gary Keller

Alan@mlf.org — to schedule a tour of Community First Village

Welcome Homeless: One Man’s Journey of Discovering the Meaning of Home, by Alan Graham
with Lauren Hall

The Continental Club

The Saxon Pub

The Hilltop Cafe



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