Create opportunities in our hometown

Washington, DC is our home. It’s also home to some serious challenges.

  • The nation’s largest racial disparity in employment rates.
  • The highest intensity of gentrification of any U.S. city.
  • DC is one of just two jurisdictions in the nation where the number of young people who are disconnected from both work and school is on the rise. One in three young adults living in Wards 7 and 8 now fall into this category.

These facts may be new to you, but the overall picture should not be. For all our city’s growing prosperity, there are far too many of our neighbors who want to learn marketable skills, embark on meaningful careers, and provide for themselves and their families but simply cannot find a way forward.

We’re hoping you will stand with us as we strive to expand economic opportunity in our hometown.

For 30 years, DC Central Kitchen has empowered adults with histories of incarceration, addiction, homelessness, and trauma to pursue culinary careers in our city’s thriving hospitality industry. After training more than 1,800 people, we have become more than a charity. We are a valued pipeline of talent that’s helping our local restaurant community continue to grow.

In 2018, our nationally acclaimed Culinary Job Training program:

  • Completely overhauled its curriculum, infusing essential digital literacy and personal financial management skills throughout our 14-week course;
  • Dramatically extended post-graduation services, successfully connecting 30 of our graduates with continuing education opportunities that reflect their career goals;
  • Increased its number of graduates to 116 students thanks to creative efforts to rearrange our existing schedule and limited space.

Your support is the reason why we’ve been able to push forward. And it’s why we won’t stop now.

In 2019, DC Central Kitchen is dramatically expanding our Culinary Job Training program to meet the needs of young adults.

DC Central Kitchen Cafe is now open.

Last year, we announced our plans to open a healthy cafe in Ward 8 that would double as a second site for our Culinary Job Training program, with this location focusing on young adults who have become disconnected from both school and work. Since then, thanks to your support, we have:

  • Completed construction on a brand-new cafe that has been meticulously designed to serve as a hands-on foodservice training center specifically for young adults who have become disconnected from both school and work;
  • Worked with the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation to build an innovative curriculum that is tailored to how young people learn, cope with challenges, and think about their futures;
  • Prepared a dozen graduates of our long-standing training program to serve as respected instructors, trauma-informed mentors, and relatable recruiters of young people facing some of the same struggles they once did.

When you invest in DC Central Kitchen, you’re not just contributing to a program that helps people. You’re equipping individuals who have overcome serious challenges themselves with the means to turn those experiences into a framework for helping others.

Meet Ron, who completed our training program in 2016, and is now apprenticing to become a Culinary Arts Instructor and support young people in his own community.

Thanks to a generous matching challenge from the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation, all contributions to DC Central Kitchen will be matched, up to $75,000, until June 30, 2019.

Your gift will allow Ron and our workforce development programs to empower a record number of our neighbors to fulfill their potential – graduating a total of 140 people in the next year, and up to 200 annually by 2021.

With two locations providing two distinct training programs that are carefully tailored to the needs and aspirations of our diverse students, we’ll be stretched and challenged like never before.

But we’re going to do it. Because our community needs us to. We hope you will give generously today so our innovative solutions to poverty can keep moving forward, and so more members of this community can share in everything it has to offer.

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