A Note from our CEO
This report marks another year of life-changing work here at DC Central Kitchen, and two full years of carrying out that work in the face of a pandemic. Thanks to the incredible and catalytic support of our community, we have continued to move our programs and mission forward.
Our Culinary Job Training program moved to Nationals Park and the Ronald Reagan Building before settling into our re-opened social enterprise cafe in Ward 8 and celebrating our 2000th graduate. We deployed our first-ever food trucks to provide meals during school breaks, transformed the Washington Convention Center into a grocery assembly line, and delivered record quantities of healthy food to small corner stores. We met the urgent needs of the moment while planning for our biggest move yet: transitioning from our long-time headquarters in a shelter basement later this year to a transformational 36,000 square foot facility named the Michael R. Klein Center for Jobs and Justice, where we will expand our programs and help anchor a more inclusive post-pandemic recovery.
Because of you, DC Central Kitchen has adapted and adjusted without ever losing sight of our values and unflinching focus on the root causes of hunger and poverty in our city. I hope you enjoy seeing what your support has made possible and look forward to sharing more ‘big moves’ in the year to come.
Mike Curtin, Jr.
Chief Executive Officer
Stories of Movement
Eater: Hundreds of Nonprofits Train People to Work in Restaurants. What Happened When COVID Shut the Restaurants Down?
The pandemic transformed the hospitality industry and the future of restaurant workers. Read about how our Culinary Job Training program earned national acclaim for our response to COVID-19. [Eater DC]
Celebrating Our 2,000th Graduate
The third graduating class of the pandemic, Culinary Job Training (CJT) Class 125, included our 2000th CJT graduate. Read more about the monumental moment here.
I Went for Knife Skills and They Gave Me Life Skills
Culinary graduate Trenisha J. made the most of her DC Central Kitchen experience at our iconic temporary training location, Nationals Park, landing a restaurant management position on H Street! “They not only get you prepared for the kitchen, they get you prepared for life in general. I’ve learned how to sell myself as an entrepreneur and the things that I do. This experience has broadened my horizons and shown me how to be a better me, basically. I went for knife skills and they gave me life skills.” Read Trenisha’s full story. [Patch]
3 Million Meals and Counting
When the pandemic hit, we jumped into action to meet the needs of our community. This year, we served over 3 million meals, distributed 290,000 grocery bags, and supported numerous local farms via our local sourcing commitments. [Washington City Paper]
A Presidential Visit
Despite pausing our volunteer program, we have found creative ways to get the community involved, including welcoming a visit from the first and second families, where they prepared 450 Thanksgiving meals alongside our kitchen staff. [People]
How Our Community Came Together to Feed Thousands
This Thanksgiving we received an overwhelming number of requests for additional meals and grocery kits. Thanks to creative local partnerships, generous donors, and dedicated volunteers, we provided more than 4,000 delicious, healthy, scratch-cooked holiday meals to shelters, community centers, and schools this Thanksgiving. Read more here.
Back to School
Since the beginning of the pandemic, our Healthy School Food team has pivoted to meet the urgent needs of our students. This year, our staff served 480,000 locally sourced, scratch-cooked meals to schoolchildren at 18 DC schools and received a 94% satisfaction rate from students. Read about how our staff adapted to COVID-19 restrictions while lovingly keeping students nourished here.
CNN: CEO Mike Curtin talks solutions to food insecurity
On Christmas Eve, DCCK CEO Mike Curtin discussed rising childhood food insecurity and how our Healthy School Food team is meeting the needs of our community with CNN anchor Kate Bolduan.
Ten Years of Healthy Corners
Our Healthy Corners program marked its tenth anniversary of continuing to bring affordable, nutritious food to underserved communities. Check out The DC Line’s story on how Healthy Corners works with 53 local corner stores to make healthy food accessible for everyone.
A WIC Win
We were part of a coalition of advocates, policymakers, and agency experts who contributed to the passage of the DC WIC Program Expansion Act of 2018, which allowed smaller DC retailers to accept WIC benefits for the first time. Now, nine of our Healthy Corner stores accept WIC benefits from low-income mothers and young families. Learn more about our game-changing WIC expansion here.
Cafe at THEARC Re-opens
We were able to re-open our social enterprise café at THEARC and transform the space into the temporary home of our Culinary Job Training (CJT) program where students can develop their hospitality skills and provide affordable, nutritious meals to the community.
A Sustainable Approach
Our procurement team recovered 537,074 pounds of food, increased our investment in Black and Latinx local farmers, and added the JK Community Farm as a new partner. Learn about our gleaning efforts at JK Community Farm here.
Best of DC: Virtual Capital Food Fight
Our pivot to a virtual Capital Food Fight was named the Best Virtual Fundraiser by Washington City Paper. Learn more about this honor and see the other winners here.
Biz Journal: DC Central Kitchen Unveils Plan for New Headquarters
In Fall 2021, we publicly launched the fundraising campaign for our new headquarters, The Michael R. Klein Center for Jobs & Justice. Read more about the projected impact of our new space in The Washington Business Journal and visit bringingthekitchenhome.org for construction updates, naming opportunities, and ways to get involved.
DC Central Kitchen is grateful for the thousands of financial supporters, partners, and volunteers who make our work possible every year. This year, we also welcomed some amazing new members of the DCCK family and mourned the loss of long-time champions whose legacies continue through our daily work.
While another year passed without the ability to safely host volunteers, we employed more than 100 graduates of our Culinary Job Training program full-time, at living wages, and additional 401k contributions. In addition to these 100 alumni, we welcomed four new Directors (Melissa Gold, Director of Communications & Marketing; Kisha Marshall, Director of Culinary Operations; Mikeya Kirksey, Director of Workforce Development; and Shay McCray, Director of Café and Retail Sales) and other new faces as integral members of our team.
In 2006, when we were in jeopardy of not making payroll for the first time in our history, Bob literally answered our call and provided the bridge funding we needed to right our cashflow and secure our first major social enterprise contract. Moved by our progress, Bob and Nancy made the largest donation DC Central Kitchen had ever received, encouraging us to “plan for the future, not for payroll.” Read about the Torray’s full impact here.
DC Central Kitchen celebrates the life of our thought-partner, advocate, and friend Sarah Tyree, who passed away on December 30, 2021. While we would come to know her as a devoted volunteer and Chair of our Board, Sarah’s relationship with DC Central Kitchen started with a simple phone call more than a decade ago. After getting our CEO Mike Curtin Jr. on the phone, she introduced herself and her employer, CoBank, and asked “how can we help you do more?” Read more about Sarah’s transformative legacy here.
We continue to generate much of our operating revenue through our sustainable social enterprises. Essential support is also provided by foundations, individuals, corporations, and government grants. Financials presented here are a summary – you can access our full audited financials here.
DOWNLOAD OUR LIST OF TOP DONORS IN FISCAL YEAR 2021 >>
While the stories above reflect our work to fight hunger differently in 2021 and beyond, the financials listed here encompass the fiscal year of 2021, running from July 2020-June 2021. Donor lists for the current fiscal year of 2022 will appear in the corresponding annual report, which will be available in the spring of 2023.