Officials at the Potomac School in McLean announced Jan. 13 that Amanda Marshall, founder of Fair Chance and co-founder of Families4Families, would receive school’s annual Award for Exemplary Service.
Marshall received the award during a school-wide assembly honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The award recognizes people in the wider community who are making an important difference through service to others.
Marshall in 2002 founded Fair Chance, an organization that works to strengthen non-profits that support children and families in communities affected by racism, discrimination and poverty.
Fair Chance provides training and resources to help non-profits so they can serve their communities more successfully. In its 20 years of existence, Fair Chance has partnered with more than 200 non-profits in the greater D.C. area. Ninety-five percent of those organizations are thriving today and, together, they serve more than 150,000 children and families.
Marshall now serves as an active board member at Fair Chance.
Concerned about increasing food insecurity resulting from the pandemic, Marshall and her husband Alex and their sons started Families4Families (F4F) in 2020. One of F4F’s goals is to empower young people to make a difference through service.
Student-led F4F clubs collect food and other essential items and work with local non-profits to get the donations to people in need. In just three years, Families4Families has grown into a nationwide organization, with 55 student clubs in 25 cities – and the organization’s volunteers have collected and donated enough food to provide 880,000 meals. A number of Potomac School students are active with local F4F clubs.
“Amanda and her family have given so many young people the opportunity to engage and contribute to their communities,” said Melinda Adamec, a Potomac School parent and F4F volunteer. “While the donations benefit the families who receive groceries monthly from the clubs, there’s also tremendous benefit for the students who work together in these clubs and gain hands-on experience serving their communities.”
Amanda Marshall has “devoted her career to partnering with individuals and organizations to address societal needs, with a particular focus on supporting children and families,” said Tim Jaeger, Potomac School’s acting head of school. “Her compassion, creative approach to problem solving and perseverance inspire the Potomac School community as we, too, seek to make a positive difference.”
Upon receiving the award, Marshall quoted Martin Luther King Jr.: “Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
Marshall added, “I believe that each person, regardless of how old you are, how much money you have, or where you live, can make a positive impact on the lives of others. Let me repeat that: I truly believe that anyone, regardless of their circumstances, can find a meaningful way to help others.”