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Bruce Morgenstern, Boots on the Ground Award

Photo by David Trozzo

Any given day, you might see Bruce Morgenstern directing traffic. Or perhaps developing algorithms to distribute government food more equitably. Or leading a team of volunteers in an emergency response. Or even distributing more than 300,000 diapers and wipes to local nonprofits. 

Bruce uses his many talents to lead volunteer efforts, provide IT support, create databases, consult with management, mobilize volunteers—and yes, even direct traffic on occasions. Bruce kicked off his volunteer commitments after his retirement from ARINC in 2013. Since then, the former engineer has helped numerous local nonprofits with his no-nonsense, get-it-done attitude to advocate, volunteer, lead, and organize making a direct impact on the community around him. 

“Bruce is not only committed to ensuring his community is prepared for any type of emergency, but also willing to jump in and act in emergency efforts as they unfold,” said nominator Leah Aiello Paley, Anne Arundel County Food Bank (AACFB) Chief Executive Officer. “When we lost our entire volunteer warehouse workforce at the beginning of the pandemic, Bruce made it his mission to ensure that AACFB had the manpower in place to keep our critical work going. Without his leadership and support, the flow of food to the tens of thousands of people in our community seeking assistance every month would not have been possible. 

“Bruce was not only the key person behind the scenes encouraging others to get involved; he also worked alongside staff and volunteers to move the food throughout our 32,000-square-foot warehouse,” she continued. “Bruce continues to work on the AACFB sorting line, making sure food is ready for distribution to our member agencies.” 

In addition to his work with the Food Bank, Bruce serves as the President of the Anne Arundel-Annapolis Community Emergency Response Team (AAA-CERT), a position he has held for the past three years; works with the Department of Aging & Disabilities and the Anne Arundel County Public School System; assists the Office of Emergency Management; and is a board member with the Maryland Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster and Leadership Anne Arundel—all while providing hundreds of volunteer hours for other organizations such as the Food Bank and Kingdom Kare. 

“When the county was tasked with supporting the Afghan Refugee Relief effort, Bruce was at the forefront of volunteer leadership in mobilizing and coordinating volunteer support, both at the county and state level, and as a board member of Maryland Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster,” said Preeti Emerik, Anne Arundel County Office of Emergency Management Director. “His encyclopedic knowledge of nonprofit relief organizations, deep connections across the regions, and political acumen were invaluable.” 

Bruce and his wife, Jessica, also give financially; they opened the Jessica and Bruce Morgenstern Local Community Impact Endowment Fund, a Donor Advised Fund, with CFAAC in 2017. For the past two years, they have called on community members to fight hunger as AACFB’s Action Sponsor during September’s Hunger Action Month awareness and giving campaign, donating up to $5,000 from their CFAAC fund. 

“Bruce never hesitates to utilize his many and varied connections throughout Anne Arundel County in support of a worthy cause,” said AACFB’s Paley. “He is a team builder and community connector.”

Bruce was nominated by the Anne Arundel County Food Bank.

The Boots on the Ground Award is presented to an individual who has gone above and beyond to improve lives and meet community needs through their exceptional efforts, including mobilizing resources for public benefit, leading by example, serving when they are called, advocating, and volunteering for those in our community who need help. Their efforts have a direct, real, tangible impact on our neighbors and our community.

Go back to 2022 Awardees