Photo credit: Happy Acre Farm by Jayson Carpenter

Photo credit: Happy Acre Farm by Jayson Carpenter

When eBay employee David Sweeney recommended Kitchen Table Advisors for a grant through eBay Foundation’s employee-inspired grants program, he was thinking about the big picture. David recognized that eBay and Kitchen Table Advisors share a commitment to economically vibrant and sustainable communities. “I’m a Bay Area native who appreciates the amazing community that makes this a great place to live. I’m a father who cares about the food we feed our daughter. I work at eBay in part because I believe in our work to create economic opportunity. Supporting Kitchen Table Advisors means investing in healthy and sustainable food, and economic opportunity for the people who feed our families in the Bay Area,” wrote David in his grant recommendation. Thriving entrepreneurs have the potential to create a powerful ripple effect in their communities, impacting job creation, family livelihood, and collective happiness and wellbeing. David understood this firsthand -- both at work and in his own kitchen -- which is why he brought together two organizations empowering larger community ripples.

With a vision of inclusive economic opportunity and entrepreneurship for all people, a portion of eBay Foundation’s portfolio is driven by its employee-led grants program. Also known as eBay Foundation’s Global Impact Team grants, this program was developed to support non-profit organizations in communities throughout the world where eBay employees live and work. In addition to recommending non-profits for eBay Foundation grants, Global Impact Teams host fundraising events, and promote volunteerism and sustainability efforts. eBay views its employees as ambassadors, identifying and connecting mission-aligned non-profits with Foundation funds. Since 2006, eBay Foundation has channeled more than $7 million to non-profit organizations globally through its employee grants programs; about $1.5 million of this total has been awarded to non-profits based in the Bay Area.

Photo: Markegard Family Grass-fed meeting with KTA Advisor David Mancera

Photo: Markegard Family Grass-fed meeting with KTA Advisor David Mancera

Valuing Kitchen Table Advisors’ commitment to the financial health and longevity of small farmers powering our local economies, David’s grant recommendation resonated strongly with the employee committee that reviews Global Impact Team grant applications. As review committee member Renee Ziegenfus shared, “The eBay Foundation Global Impact Team was pleased to support Kitchen Table Advisors’ efforts to launch the Sustainable Farm Business Advising Program. In addition to working with Bay Area farms, KTA provides technical assistance that empowers farms to become viable and sustainable businesses. eBay Foundation is committed to helping non-profits focused on unleashing the power of entrepreneurship, and KTA is a great example of an organization in our own community bringing this mission to life”. Whether working behind a computer screen or in a cultivated field, entrepreneurs investing in their communities create a cycle of reinvestment. It’s a beautiful, resilient loop of interdependence — one that the eBay Foundation is motivated to grow.

This fall, the eBay Foundation is prioritizing funding for projects that fit with its mission of unleashing entrepreneurship to build economically vibrant and sustainable communities. At the same time, thanks to a heart-felt grant application and generous grant, Kitchen Table Advisors will be on more local farms. For KTA’s client family, this grant means ongoing advisor support with developing cash flow projections, researching financing options, and analyzing product lines. In cultivating stronger financial roots, these farms are able to reach their individual organizational goals and realize their shared mission to feed the communities that catalyze our local economies. 

The RSF Social Finance family

The RSF Social Finance family

In a local food system, there is a network of people that are vital to the creation of what we eat. Last week, we introduced you to POST's work in farmland preservation, offering Peninsula farmers a place to do what they do best--grow food. Today, we turn to another important part of our local food network--financing. Returning for their second year, Grazing at the Kitchen Table Sponsor RSF Social Finance invests in local food infrastructure with a vision of cultivating a more sustainable and equitable food system. Senior Lending Manager Kate Danaher offers a glimpse into RSF's mission-aligned investment approach and shares her excitement to connect with our Bay Area food community at Grazing.

RSF Social Finance is dedicated to transforming the way the world works with money. We strive to change the conventional financial and philanthropic system to one that is direct, transparent, and personal in its relationship with people. Originally founded in 1936 as the Rudolf Steiner Foundation, RSF offers lending, investing, and giving opportunities that support social enterprises addressing key issues in the areas of food and agriculture, education and the arts, and ecological stewardship.

At RSF, we are intentional in our approach to recreate the food system into one that is equitable and just. Our investment strategy focuses on strengthening local food infrastructure, which provides many benefits, including greater access to otherwise unreached markets for small-scale farmers in the Kitchen Table Advisors community. In Northern California, our financial and giving work has resulted in the expansion of social enterprises like Veritable Vegetable, an organic produce distributor and fellow Grazing 2016 Sponsor.

Our greatest hope is to build a system where small to medium-sized food producers can grow and make delicious food with integrity. This new system will be characterized by compassion and interdependence with consumers who have a stake in its success.

Like the farmers and chefs who attend Grazing, we are committed to changing the paradigm of the food system. There is a yearning for more connection to both each other, and the earth that provides us with so much. At Grazing, this connection is palpable through the amazing community that comes together from all parts of the food system. The evening is made for meeting as many people as possible, and joining a variety of conversations. It's such a dynamic experience!

Grazing at the Kitchen Table takes place from 6.30pm to 9.30pm on Thursday, September 22, 2016 at Dogpatch WineWorks in San Francisco. Tickets go on sale in July. Follow #GrazeAndGive2016 for updates.

Photo credit: Teddy Miller

Photo credit: Teddy Miller

Grazing at the Kitchen Table, our annual fundraiser and gathering, provides us with the very unique opportunity to bring together food system changemakers to celebrate our collective work. One such trailblazing organization, and Grazing Sponsor, in our community is the Peninsula Open Space Trust. At Kitchen Table Advisors, we value POST’s mission to protect precious farmland on the Peninsula. For many of our small farmers, POST’s work is vital to their ability to access land for growing beautiful food that feeds our region. We invite you to learn more about POST's vision for preserving Bay Area farmland from POST staff member Matt Dolkas.

The story of the Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) began in 1977, when a small group of citizens founded the organization to protect the open spaces, farms and parklands in and around Silicon Valley. Since that time, POST has protected over 75,000 acres of land in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. Most of that land has been transferred to regional, state, county or national parks. Once protected, we then work to keep the natural values of the land intact for future generations of people and wildlife. Our success as an organization is a testament to the vision of our founders and the commitment of our community to protect the places we all know and love.

Photo credit: Teddy Miller

Photo credit: Teddy Miller

Since our founding, POST has been committed to preserving farmland on the Peninsula and keeping it in production. Like Kitchen Table Advisors, we too see the need for thriving farms that produce healthy food for our region. On the farmland we own, we offer farmers long-term agricultural leases and invest in agricultural improvement projects to ensure the operators have the tools needed for success.

We know that there is more to be done in this area. This is made clear by the alarming rate at which we are losing local farmland--most notably the 35% loss of farmland San Mateo County has experienced in the past 30 years. That’s why in spring of 2016 we launched our Farmland Futures Initiative, a $25 million campaign to triple the number of protected farmland acres and farms on the San Mateo coast in the next ten years.

Our hopes are that, with our Farmland Futures Initiative, we can work to protect the remaining prime soil acres on the San Mateo coast. We want to see this land, and the farmland that we’ve already protected, continue to nourish our communities. We aim to support the next generation of farmers growing robust and sustainable operations. They’re some of the best stewards of the land and empowering their operations is how we can build healthy soils, maintain wildlife habitat and sources of locally grown food. These are the ingredients that make the Peninsula such a special place to live.

Photo credit: Peninsula Open Space Trust

Photo credit: Peninsula Open Space Trust

POST’s vision of the land and the future of our communities is shared among a vibrant group of local changemakers, one among them being Kitchen Table Advisors. In the future, we see a robust regional food system stewarded by thoughtful, dedicated farmers who care about the health of the land for their livelihoods and for its role in the greater ecosystem. POST has a unique role in helping create this vision. We’re committed to the land, to the hard-working farmers who maintain it and to the future of this amazing place.

Grazing at the Kitchen Table takes place from 6.30pm to 9.30pm on Thursday, September 22, 2016 at Dogpatch WineWorks in San Francisco. Tickets go on sale in July. Follow #GrazeAndGive2016 for updates.

As a Certified B Corporation, a member of 1% For the Planet and a founding member of the Slow Money Alliance, Mamma Chia has made sustainability and giving back to the community priorities since its founding in 2009. After Founder and CEO Janie Hoffman met Kitchen Table Advisors’ Founder and Executive Director Anthony Chang at a Social Venture Network Conference, Mamma Chia became one of our early supporters.

Anthony & Janie recently had a chance to catch up and chat about how Mamma Chia is supporting local food systems through 1% for the Planet.   

 

 

Posted
AuthorKitchen Table Advisors
CategoriesDonor Spotlight