New Headquarters in Southwest DC to be Named The Michael R. Klein Center for Jobs & Justice
Washington, DC – October 1, 2021 – After 30 years of life-changing efforts in the basement of a downtown homeless shelter, DC Central Kitchen has launched the Bringing the Kitchen Home campaign as it prepares to move into a new home on Buzzard Point in Southwest DC. The 36,000-square-foot state-of-the-art Michael R. Klein Center for Jobs and Justice, named in honor of long-time supporter Michael Klein, will open in Spring 2022, housing expanded production and training kitchens, offices, meeting and event spaces, and the third location of DC Central Kitchen’s social enterprise cafe model.
“When I joined DC Central Kitchen in 2004, it was clear our mission and the needs of our community had grown beyond the confines of our existing space,” says DC Central Kitchen CEO Mike Curtin. “This state-of-the-art facility will finally provide our staff, culinary students, and volunteers with space to work and learn with dignity as we undertake even more ambitious solutions in the fight against hunger and injustice.”
The first such appeal in the organization’s history, the Bringing the Kitchen Home campaign aims to raise $35 million to cover capital and construction costs, offset rent and occupancy expenses for the next 10 years, and fund program expansion in the face of rising community needs. Mr. Klein’s $10 million campaign gift is his second notable contribution to the organization in the last three years. His lead gift to open the DC Central Kitchen Cafe in Ward 8 in 2019 launched a social enterprise that offers healthy food to area residents and job training to Opportunity Youth.
While DC Central Kitchen will be moving out of the Federal City Shelter basement in Northwest DC it has called home for many years, the organization will remain in Ward 6 after the Klein Center for Jobs and Justice opens in the emerging Buzzard Point neighborhood along V Street SW next spring.
“Mayor Bowser is so proud to support entrepreneurs that step up to help us build a more inclusive and diverse economy. That’s why we awarded $340,000 to DC Central Kitchen through our Neighborhood Prosperity Fund,” said John Falcicchio, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. “This will help them complete and open an astounding facility that will provide occupational training, among other services, and will help reduce unemployment in a region in need.”
In addition to the Neighborhood Prosperity Fund, the District of Columbia Government has supported the project through grant funding from the DC Workforce Investment Council and the DC Central Kitchen Tax Rebate Act of 2021, which provides the organization with a rebate on local property taxes as it focuses on expanding its programs.
“This new facility not only allows DC Central Kitchen to significantly expand its job training and meal preparation activities, but the project comes at a time when our city needs to expand opportunities for its young people, long-time residents, and returning citizens while rebuilding its hospitality sector,” says Thomas Penny, Campaign Co-Chair and President of Donohoe Hospitality. “The Klein Center for Jobs and Justice, located steps from the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge connecting Wards 6 and 8, ensures a base of operations here in our nation’s capital for decades to come while allowing DC Central Kitchen to become an even more central part of how our workforce system connects residents from both sides of the Anacostia River with promising careers.”
Once settled in its new home, DC Central Kitchen will have the capacity to expand job training by 150%, double production levels to 25,000 meals a day, create 50 new jobs mostly for graduates of its acclaimed Culinary Job Training program, host 25,000 volunteers each year, and generate $200 million in annual financial impact for the community by 2025. The scope and timeliness of the project led it to be named 2020 Lease of the Year by Washington Business Journal.
“I am proud to have been a part of the DC Central Kitchen family for more than 25 years. By taking this important work out of the basement and bringing it out into the light, we can bring more people around this table,” says Campaign Co-Chair José Andrés. “We can unite volunteers, chefs, people who have faced hunger, homelessness, and poverty, all working together to solve problems through the power of food. There’s still work to be done and I know DC Central Kitchen will continue to lead the way.”
Andrés, Penny, and Klein are joined on the Campaign Committee by top chefs like Spike Mendelsohn and Rock Harper, philanthropists including Craig Newmark, Rick England, and Eric Kessler, and Nationals’ legend Ryan Zimmerman, along with other local leaders and entrepreneurs. Thanks to the Committee’s efforts and the gifts and pledges of numerous donors, including The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, the campaign has reached 83 percent of its overall goal to date.
Starting today, DC Central Kitchen is launching a $2 million matching challenge. Craig Newmark Philanthropies (craigstable) and three area family foundations have pledged to collectively match the next $2 million in donations received through the Bringing the Kitchen Home Campaign to kick-start the public phase of this effort and bring the campaign that much closer to its overall goal.
To learn more about the Bringing the Kitchen Home campaign and how to join DC Central Kitchen in building a legacy of change in its mission to build lasting solutions to food insecurity and social injustice in the nation’s capital, visit https://bringingthekitchenhome.org/.
ABOUT DC CENTRAL KITCHEN
DC Central Kitchen (DCCK) is an iconic nonprofit and social enterprise that combats hunger and poverty through job training and job creation. Our approach provides hands-on culinary job training while creating living-wage jobs and bringing nutritious, dignified food where it is most needed in our city. We serve scratch-cooked farm-to-school meals in DC schools; deliver fresh, affordable produce to corner stores in neighborhoods without supermarkets; provide delicious catering; and operate fast-casual cafes that also provide on-the-job training. DCCK has been featured in national media including The Washington Post, The Atlantic, National Geographic, PBS NewsHour, and more. To learn more, visit dccentralkitchen.org or follow @dccentralkitchen on Instagram and @dcck on Twitter.
Melissa Gold, DC Central Kitchen
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