Washington, DC – Friday, September 23, 2022 – At an exclusive event featuring DC Central Kitchen’s forthcoming new headquarters this afternoon, elected officials, top philanthropists, and community advocates gathered for a ‘first look’ at the nation’s most ambitious community kitchen and urban food hub before it opens in Southwest Washington, DC later this fall. To help the project achieve its full potential, renowned chef and humanitarian José Andrés pledged an extraordinary $500,000 matching challenge to support DC Central Kitchen’s growing programs within its new home.
For the past two years, Andrés and Donohoe Hospitality President Thomas Penny have co-chaired the Bringing the Kitchen Home Campaign, a $35 million fundraising effort to build out this new facility, entitled the Michael R. Klein Center for Jobs and Justice, and empower DC Central Kitchen to take on the challenges of hunger, poverty, and poor health in bold and innovative ways. The founder and perennial host of DC Central Kitchen’s signature fundraising event, Capital Food Fight, a Board Chair Emeritus, and long-time DCCK volunteer and advocate, Andrés’s giving challenge is a call to action at a turning point for the organization.
“For decades, I have seen DC Central Kitchen unlock the potential of people and reimagine the power of food to change lives. My gift today is made in that same spirit, encouraging others to join me in helping this organization enter a new future of boundless potential,” Andrés said.
Andrés’s donation was motivated by both his long-standing history with the organization and by his desire to accelerate the growth of DC Central Kitchen’s pioneering Healthy Corners program, an innovative solution that has captured his imagination. Already a national model, Healthy Corners provides DC residents in areas without full-service grocery stores access to healthy food by equipping corner store owners with fresh and frozen produce, technical assistance, and refrigeration infrastructure. With 36 percent of DC residents facing food insecurity in 2021, the 36,000 sq. ft. Klein Center for Jobs and Justice will include the additional space and equipment needed for DC Central Kitchen to expand its dynamic programming and continue to bring fresh food where it is needed most.
“I am so proud of the work we have done in a windowless basement for the past 33 years,” remarked DC Central Kitchen’s CEO Mike Curtin, Jr. “Going forward, we can use food, not as a means simply to feed people and alleviate hunger, but to rip out hunger by its very roots, and build a fairer, more prosperous, more inclusive city for us all. That’s the real power of the Klein Center for Jobs and Justice.”
Once settled in the Klein Center, DC Central Kitchen will increase the number of Culinary Job Training graduates by 150%, create 50 new, full-time, living wage jobs, double daily meal production to 25,000 nutritious, locally sourced meals each, and generate more than $150 million each year in measurable benefits for the District.
Andrés is joined on the Bringing the Kitchen Home Campaign Committee by longtime supporter and craigslist founder Craig Newmark. Teaming up with Andrés as “a cook and a nerd,” Newmark has also pledged his own $250,000 match, doubling donations to support DC Central Kitchen’s essential programming needs so the organization can be ready on day one when the Klein Center opens later this fall. Together, the two will double the next $750,000 in gifts to support DC Central Kitchen.
The District of Columbia has also been a major partner in the project, providing $2.3 million in grant support through the DC Workforce Investment Council and the Neighborhood Prosperity Fund. “I want to thank my friend José Andrés, Donohoe Hospitality and DC Central Kitchen for their commitment to expanding access to healthy food options and good paying jobs for DC residents,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser. “My Administration is committed to supporting DC Central Kitchen’s mission of using food as a tool to strengthen bodies, empower minds, and build communities. By investing $2 million into a new DC Central Kitchen facility, we are ensuring that our local dollars support local organizations that help our residents, particularly those most vulnerable, thrive and achieve healthier lifestyles.”
To learn more about the Bringing the Kitchen Home campaign and how to invest in DC Central Kitchen’s mission in building 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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