DC Central Kitchen, Inc.

DC Central Kitchen fights hunger differently

Washington, DC   |  http://www.dccentralkitchen.org

Mission

DC Central Kitchen develops innovative social ventures to break the cycle of hunger and poverty.

Notes from the nonprofit

DCCK has a strong monitoring and evaluation track record through capturing and intentionally analyzing outputs, outcomes, and key performance indicators (KPIs) pertaining to our workforce development and food access programs. Goals for KPIs are set annually in tandem with our budgeting process as we match our expenses and efforts to desired outcomes. We continually evaluate our training metrics: graduation rates, credential attainment rates, job placement rates, job retention rates (30 days through 1 year or more), starting wages, and wage increases. We also track student progress in achieving self-identified goals in their Individual Success Plans, as well as individualized outcomes such as improvements in credit scores and enrollment in continuing education.

Ruling year info

1988

Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Michael F. Curtin Jr.

Main address

425 Second Street NW

Washington, DC 20001 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

52-1584936

NTEE code info

Employment Training (J22)

Food Service, Free Food Distribution Programs (K30)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Community Meals

DC Central Kitchen turns 3,000 pounds of otherwise wasted food into 5,000 healthy meals for our community every single day. Pioneered in 1989, DC Central Kitchen's model enlists thousands of dedicated volunteers to turn otherwise wasted food into nutritious meals for homeless shelters and nonprofits.​ These aren’t simply bags of donated groceries or crates of canned goods – they’re real meals, made by hand by graduates of our Culinary Job Training program who now work for us full-time at living wages. ​ We then put these meals onto our fleet of trucks and deliver them to more than 80 partner agencies, including homeless shelters, rehabilitation clinics, and after-school programs.​ In addition to providing meals, we offer engaging cooking demonstrations, taste tests, and nutrition education lessons for those we serve.​ These activities save front-line agencies more than $3 million a year in food costs, which they reinvest to fight the underlying cause of hunger - poverty.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

DC Central Kitchen prepares unemployed adults for culinary careers so they can leave hunger behind for good. Our nationally recognized program enrolls adults with histories of incarceration, addiction, homelessness, and trauma in 14-weeks of rigorous culinary education and life skills workshops. Trainees completed internships with local hotels, corporate kitchens, and restaurants, and obtain their ServSafe food handler's certification. Graduates boast a 90% job placement rate, are 90% less likely to return to prison than other ex- offenders nationwide, and contribute upwards of $225,000 in payroll taxes back into the community each year. This social ventures has been featured by PBS NewsHour, The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Public Radio, and the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Business Horizons Quarterly.

As of May 2019, we have officially opened the DC Central Kitchen Cafe, located in Ward 8 on the campus of THEARC. This new full service cafe not only provides a healthy food access point in a ward with only 1 full service grocery store, it also serves as the location for our new, youth-focused Culinary Job Training program. Serving youth ages 18-24 who are disconnected from both school and work, we provide culinary training as well as social support to enable learners to meet their personal and professional goals.

Population(s) Served
Unemployed people
Incarcerated people

DC Central Kitchen employs graduates of its Culinary Job Training program to serve award-winning farm-to-school menus to low-income schoolchildren. We are the food service provider at 15 schools in Washington, DC where 100% of students quality for free and reduced-price lunch. We source ingredients from more than 30 local family farms and every meal is scratch-cooked according to recipes designed by our expert team of chefs and dietitians. In addition to providing meals, we offer engaging cooking demonstrations, taste tests, and nutrition education lessons for the students and staff at the schools we serve. We are the only nonprofit providing healthy school food on this scale and are the recipients of the highest national recognition for innovative food service in schools presented by the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine. Through this $6 million social enterprise, we employ 35 men and women with high barriers to employment full-time above the DC living wage.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people

DC Central Kitchen empowers corner stores in low-income Washington, DC neighborhoods to stock and sell fresh produce and healthy snacks. We deliver fresh produce and healthy snacks to corner stores in DC’s 'food deserts' where residents lack convenient and affordable access to grocery stores and other retail options. We offer produce to corner stores at wholesale prices and in smaller quantities than a conventional distributor. The stores pass on their savings to consumers, making it an affordable option for consumers living near or below the poverty line. Instead of just giving away food, we have demonstrated significant demand in low-income communities for our fresh, affordable food deliveries to corner stores. Our results show that 97% of store owners agree that this program has helped them think differently about selling produce and 91% would recommend other small retails to participate in the program. In 2015, research students at Carnegie Mellon University demonstrated that walkability to healthy food had increased by 11% of our target communities since the program launched. Healthy Corners has won the NBC-Universal 21st Century Solutions Prize (2012), the Tavis Smiley- Social Innovation Challenge (2014), and been recognized as a national best practice by The Food Trust and the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work

Awards

Mayor’s Environmental Excellence Award 2010

District Department of the Environment (DDOE)

Green Business Award for Innovation 2010

Washington Business Journal

Gelman, Rosenberg, and Freeman EXCEL Award for executive leadership 2010

Center for Nonprofit Advancement

Neighborhood Builders Award 2006

Bank of America

Social Innovation Challenge 2013

University of Maryland

Champion of Change for executive culinary leadership 2014

The White House

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of participants who gain employment

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Unemployed people, Economically disadvantaged people, Incarcerated people

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

87% job placement rate for the 100+ annual graduates

Average hourly wage of clients who became employed after job skills training

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Economically disadvantaged people, Incarcerated people

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Average starting wage of $14.32 per hour, with 50% of graduates securing a wage promotion within the first year of employment

Number of jobs created and maintained

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Economically disadvantaged people, Incarcerated people

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

48% (87 of 180) of DC Central Kitchen's workforce are graduates of the Culinary Job Training program for at-risk and unemployed adults.

Total pounds of food rescued

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of meals served or provided

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Economically disadvantaged people, Homeless people, At-risk youth

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Additional revenue and wages generated attributable to the organization's efforts

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

55-60% of DCCK's annual revenue is generated through social enterprise activities that create meaningful employment opportunities for graduates of our Culinary Job Training program.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

DC Central Kitchen is a nonprofit developer of innovative social ventures that break the cycle of hunger and poverty. Each of our food industry ventures pursues a triple bottom line of creating opportunities for meaningful careers, expanding healthy food access, and test innovative solutions to systemic failures. By testing, refining, and sharing new best practices for nonprofits and social entrepreneurs, we hope to advance and inspire solutions that empower marginalized and at-risk people to achieve their own lasting liberation from the cyclical conditions of hunger and poverty.

DC Central Kitchen fights hunger differently by using career training, job creation, and sustainable business practices to strengthen local food systems and reduce disparities in health and economic opportunity. We operate five social ventures which collectively recover 2 million pounds of food, prepare and distribute 3.5 million meals each year, and train 100 adults with high barriers to employment for culinary careers.

As a 'central kitchen,' DC Central Kitchen creates instant collaboration and major economies of scale. We leverage partnerships with three dozen restaurants, wholesalers, and local farm to recover unused food at our centralized facility. There, we prepare nutritious meals in bulk and distribute them at little or no cost to 83 nonprofit agencies, which saves them – and their donors – $3.7 million in food and personnel costs annually. Dozens of agencies that receive our meals in turn refer their at-risk clients to our Culinary Job Training program, empowering them to progress along their path to self-sufficiency. We serve as the contracted school food vendor at 15 schools, 12 of which are located in Wards 7 and 8. As a school food vendor, each of our school meals meets the stringent requirements of the DC Healthy Schools Act. We have the unique capability to cluster our supplemental meal service, nutrition education, and corner store produce offerings in the neighborhoods around these target schools in a cost-effective way. Perhaps most importantly, we leverage the insights and experiences of our 78 employees who graduated from our Culinary Job Training program for at-risk adults to innovate, expand, and meet the unique needs of our target communities.

Founded in 1989 as the nation's first 'community kitchen,' DC Central Kitchen (DCCK) has specialized in efficient food aggregation, preparation, and distribution for more than two decades. We are at the forefront of the national healthy food access movement, fighting obesity with inclusive programs that leverage the energy, feedback, and capabilities of our target communities. DCCK is the leading US nonprofit engaged in the commercial scale production of healthy, scratch-cooked school meals – now some 7,000 per day – and our efforts to directly distribute nutritious snacks and fresh produce to corner stores in low-income neighborhoods with little to no access to healthy options is the first and largest program of its kind in the country. Today, DCCK's food access, educational, and economic development services address the social determinants of health for more than 13,000 low-income DC residents each year. Over the past quarter-century, we have recovered 30 million pounds of unused food, distributed 30 million meals to at-risk community members, and trained 1,500 unemployed adults for culinary careers. Our path-breaking social enterprises, first launched in the mid-1990s, offer meaningful job opportunities for 79 of our culinary graduates while generating revenue for our core programs. For the past six years, our social enterprise portfolio has generated more than half of our organization's total revenue. Last year, DCCK was profiled by The Atlantic, PBS NewsHour, the Washington Post, National Geographic, and National Public Radio, and was named one of the top social enterprises on the planet by the founder of the World Social Enterprise Forum. Moving forward, we seek to build on our status as the city's leading nonprofit provider of healthy meals to schools, homeless shelters, and nonprofit agencies, increasing our annual meal distribution total from 3 million to 4 million meals by 2019. We seek to expand our capacity to aggregate local farm products, operate value-added food production activities, increase student breakfast and lunch participation, and pursue revenue generating business opportunities that will have a long-term impact on the accessibility and affordability of healthy food. Additionally, we seek to break new ground as a best practice provider of workforce training and supportive, living wage employment to at-risk individuals through culinary social enterprise. In two years, we plan to annually train 100 - 110 men and women with significant barriers to employment for culinary careers, and employ 80 - 90 of our culinary graduates in an array of capacities from serving healthy school meals to providing catered corporate lunches. We are currently developing additional career services that include continuing education and managerial training for previous culinary graduates and a tailored curriculum for opportunity youth with high barriers to employment.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    DC Central Kitchen turns the traditional soup kitchen model on its head by preparing 12,000 daily meals for low-income DC residents and placing job training and job-creating social enterprises at the center of our innovative operation. In addition to training individuals with significant barriers to employment through our Culinary Job Training program, we provide locally sourced, scratch-cooked meals for 18 low-income DC schools, deliver fresh, affordable produce to 50 corner stores in neighborhoods without supermarkets, and operate healthy cafes that also serve as live training grounds. Our social enterprises provide jobs for over 100 of our own culinary graduates who earn living wages with comprehensive benefits while generating half of DCCK’s operating revenue.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Case management notes, Community meetings/Town halls,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    DCCK employs two Store Champions – Healthy Corners shoppers who help us collect feedback from customers and store owners about their experiences with our program and products. Their input guides our nutrition education events, cooking demonstrations, and the products we offer. Feedback from recipients of our emergency food assistance led to the addition of shelf-stable proteins and dry goods to our popular grocery bag distribution. We are also working with a local farm supplier to share a survey with grocery recipients about which culturally relevant crops they should plant. Student feedback on our school meals is collected in cafeterias via our Fresh Feature Friday taste tests that assesses changes in students’ attitudes and behaviors as they engage in our nutrition education.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    DC Central Kitchen’s unique model is based on a ‘leadership cycle’ through which individuals who have experienced poverty, hunger, incarceration, and trauma are central to solving these challenges in our community. The cycle begins with our training program and continues as we create jobs for our graduates here at DCCK. We currently employ over 100 of our graduates in almost every department, including in critical leadership and mentor roles in our CJT program. Graduates serve as trusted, trauma-informed peers and their new student referrals are key to sustaining the leadership cycle. Additionally, DCCK has a highly engaged, 23-person Board of Directors that includes two graduates of our training program, industry representatives, and leaders with deep ties to DC’s underserved communities.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It can be difficult to connect with our less successful alumni,

Financials

DC Central Kitchen, Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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DC Central Kitchen, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 02/21/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Claudia (Dia) Sherman

Retired

Term: 2018 - 2019

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes