Michael Klein speaks to the crowd of DC Central Kitchen supporters at the Bringing the Kitchen Home Launch Event on Thursday, September 30, 2021.
Friends and supporters of DC Central Kitchen filled The Point’s dining room on Thursday, September 30, 2021 as we officially launched the Bringing the Kitchen Home campaign, an important milestone in our journey towards a new home at The Michael R. Klein Center for Jobs and Justice in Buzzard’s Point.
Guests heard from a distinguished list of speakers, including Board Chair Gail Chambers, Campaign Co-chair and President of Donohoe Hospitality Thomas Penny, and DC Central Kitchen Board Member and Culinary Job Training Graduate Joseph Tolbert who shared:
“… I was looking for the opportunity to become a law-abiding citizen. I owe DC Central Kitchen so much for that. After graduation, I secured a job with Hilton, where I was promoted and became my hotel’s union representative. Now I advocate for policies that support returning citizens while helping DC Central Kitchen make decisions that will shape its future.”
More than just a campaign to fund a new facility, Joseph spoke to the importance this new state-of-the-art space. The building will allow DCCK to increase job training by 150% so that more folks like Joseph can have a seat at the decision-making table.
CEO Mike Curtin echoed these sentiments, explaining to the gathering that “this is a defining effort by a globally-recognized social enterprise to reimagine the role that groups like ours can play in regional food systems, workforce systems, and urban development projects.”
In addition to thanking the many elected officials, donors, and community partners who have made this three-decade journey to a new home possible, Curtin revealed the name of the new facility: The Michael R. Klein Center for Jobs and Justice, in honor of long-time supporter Michael Klein.
“Mike Klein’s gift isn’t a traditional gift, just as DC Central Kitchen is not a traditional nonprofit,” Curtin added. “We chose this name to reflect what makes this organization and this project fundamentally different.”
He went on to announce that other generous partners, including Craig Newmark and the craigstable anti-hunger initiative, collectively pledged to match the next $2 million raised in the Bringing the Kitchen Home campaign – the largest matching challenge in the organization’s history.
After the brief remarks, guests were invited around the corner to take a self-guided tour through DC Central Kitchen’s soon-to-be home. Sunlight streamed in, highlighting the various signs designating the future rooms and facilities as guests milled around, chatting with staff and one another, and for the first time, we got a glimpse of what our future home will be like: one filled with staff and supporters excited and eager to bring jobs and justice to our community.
You can check out more photos from the event on our Flickr.