RSF Loans Support Workforce Development and Food Security
Apr 23 2014
RSF Social Finance (RSF) is pleased to announce new loans to the Bread Project and DC Central Kitchen (DCCK), two innovative non-profits using the food industry to combat unemployment and create economic opportunity.
“These two organizations differ in the size of their operations and the communities that they work with, but they’re both combating similar issues,” says Kate Danaher, Senior Lending Associate at RSF. “It’s a strong testament to the replicability of these types of social enterprises. This type of model can make a big difference in any community struggling with unemployment.”
The Bread Project provides food service job training and job placement for low-income San Francisco Bay Area residents. In the midst of a recession and widespread unemployment in 2000, Susan Phillips and Lucie Buchbinder, specialists in subsidized housing, were approached by their tenants to start a job training program. After doing some research, they discovered that baking was a trade with growing demand and a practical career-path and The Bread Project was formed. Today, The Bread Project runs nine and twelve-week programs that provide training ranging from basic culinary and customer service skills for roles in restaurants and other food retail businesses, to baking and manufacturing practices for roles in food production industries. In the last two years alone, The Bread Project has helped more than 300 individuals in need – with participants receiving over 88,000 hours of training, and graduates earning nearly $2 million in wages.
RSF financing will be used to invest in training programs and curriculum, job placement, kitchen and bakery equipment, and to cover operational expenses such as seasonal payroll and administration.
In Washington DC, DC Central Kitchen has been creating economic opportunity in the food industry for low-income and at-risk communities, while also addressing issues of food-insecurity and food-waste, for 25 years. Since its founding in 1989, DC Central Kitchen has prepared 27 million meals for low-income and at-risk DC residents. Their largest program is the Meal Distribution program which provides 10,000 healthy meals per day to local schools, homeless shelters, and other social service non-profit organizations. All meals are prepared by students and graduates from their Culinary Job Training program for unemployed men and women, many of whom are homeless, have been previously incarcerated, or have struggled with addiction. In addition, each day DCCK repurposes 3,000 pounds of surplus food products from major food service corporations and unwanted produce from local farms to prepare their meals.
RSF financing will be used to support upgrades to the organization’s fleet of delivery vehicles.
For years, we’ve tried to push and redefine the boundaries between non-profit social service work and impact-driven social enterprise,” says DCCK CEO Mike Curtin. “RSF’s critical investment in our delivery and food recovery infrastructure will allow us to drive down operational costs and improve our multiple bottom lines of fighting hunger, generating revenue, creating good jobs, and reducing needless waste in our community.”
“Investing in workforce development programs that relate to our food system can be a double win,” says Danaher. “These organizations empower our most marginalized citizens to get back on the path of self-sufficiency with the added benefit of putting healthy food in schools and soup kitchens, recovering food that would otherwise go to a landfill, and supporting farmers.”
About The Bread Project
The Bread Project’s mission is to empower individuals with limited resources on their path to self-sufficiency through skills instruction, on-the-job training in their social enterprises and assistance with establishing a career in the food industry. The organization provides clients with rigorous culinary/bakery training program, extensive workplace readiness coaching, on-the-job experience, employer outreach for job placement, and long-term follow-up support. www.breadproject.org
About DC Central Kitchen
DC Central Kitchen is America’s leader in reducing hunger with recycled food, training unemployed adults for culinary careers, serving healthy school meals, and rebuilding urban food systems through social enterprise. Since its founding in 1989, DC Central Kitchen has trained and employed at-risk adults to prepare and deliver over 27 million meals to underserved populations. www.dccentralkitchen.org