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D.C. Central Kitchen

Geography Washington DC

DC Central Kitchen (DCCK) is a Washington, D.C. based direct service nonprofit whose mission is to use food as a tool to strengthen bodies, empower minds, and build communities.

In the fall of 2022, DCCK will transition from an overcrowded basement to its new facility—a state-of-the-art commercial kitchen, staff headquarters, and community hub in the Buzzard Point neighborhood of Southwest Washington, D.C.

Through the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program, Reinvestment Fund is helping finance the new headquarters (named the Michael R. Klein Center for Jobs & Justice). The move will allow DCCK to expand its reach outside of its kitchen, triple its capacity, and bring the local community to the table in a space that reflects and dignifies the impactful work.

For 33 years, DCCK has combated hunger and poverty through job training and job creation, and community-driven social ventures. The organization provides hands-on culinary job training for individuals facing high barriers to employment while creating living wage jobs and bringing nutritious, dignified food where it is most needed. DCCK’s social ventures include serving scratch-cooked farm-to-school meals in D.C. schools, delivering fresh, affordable produce to corner stores in neighborhoods without supermarkets, and operating a fast-casual café.

In 2020, DCCK served 3.6 million healthy meals at 193 locations, invested $2.7 million in local farmers, and sold 362,000 units of fresh produce and healthy groceries at neighborhood corner stores.

DCCK’s renowned culinary job training (CJT) program’s progressive approach has helped more than 2,000 men and women launch culinary careers. On an annual basis, more than 90 percent of the sponsor’s training participants self-identify as Black or African American. Over 90 percent of students enter their program with no income, 60 percent have histories of incarceration, and 25 percent have experienced recent bouts of homelessness. Instead of evaluating applicants on specific paper credentials, they take on students based on demonstrated skills and work ethics. DCCK is a proud employer of more than 100 of its graduates.

DCCK’s work is high-mission for Reinvestment Fund. “Financing an equitable, racially-just, sustainable and inclusive food system has been core to Reinvestment Fund’s mission and our New Markets Tax Credit program for close to two decades,” says Michael Pokorny, Regional Director of Lending and Investments at Reinvestment Fund. “We are pleased to be able to continue that commitment by supporting DC Central Kitchen’s new home, which will strengthen the institutional food supply chain, produce healthy food and meals, as well as create quality jobs and career pathways for those who face high barriers to employment.”

Due in part to the financial resources provided from the New Markets Tax Credit investment, DC Central Kitchen plans to expand its industry-leading CJT program for adults and opportunity youth by 150 percent, create 50 new jobs, expand its volunteer network from 16,000 to 25,000 volunteers annually, and generate over $200 million in annual financial impact for the community by 2025.

Read about more projects financed through the New Markets Tax Credit program here. 

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