Greater Boston’s non-profit food business incubator is building a new food economy grounded in racial, social and economic justice
Eastern Bank Foundation is pleased to announce CommonWealth Kitchen (“CWK”) as a 2022 Community Advocacy Award honoree for its leadership in investing in BIPOC and women entrepreneurs who are starting and building food businesses with the goal of creating a thriving, equitable local food economy. Its comprehensive resources include education, training, infrastructure and industry networks.
“In Greater Boston, Commonwealth Kitchen is an essential hub of opportunity for diverse entrepreneurs and business owners in the food sector,” said Nancy Huntington Stager, President and CEO of the Eastern Bank Foundation. “Its ecosystem of support helps hundreds of food businesses and entrepreneurs get their start, helping them to create hundreds of new jobs and tens of millions of dollars in new revenue, all while advancing food security by eliminating food deserts and distributing thousands of meals to families in need.”
CWK operates Boston’s only non-profit, shared-use commercial kitchen and small-batch manufacturing operation, which houses over 50 food companies and works with over 200 food entrepreneurs annually. CWK’s programs include: Ready to Launch, which guides food businesses through starting their operations; the SHIFT Fellowship to help BIPOC entrepreneurs scaling business production; retail accelerators for testing food concepts with lower risk; education and training programs to help early-stage food entrepreneurs in low-income neighborhoods build strong businesses; and the Restaurant Resiliency Initiative which supports BIPOC-owned restaurants through the unprecedented impacts of COVID-19. It also creates strategic partnerships with buyers, distributors, event planners, procurement officers, and food service operators to help food businesses grow sales. In addition, CWK’s CommonTable initiative has invested over $1.5 million into helping over 30 diverse food companies grow. In 2022, CWK achieved a significant milestone with the purchase of its food production facility, securing a permanent home for food entrepreneurs to access a range of resources to succeed and thrive.
“At CommonWealth Kitchen, we are driving the systemic change necessary to make an equitable food economy a reality,” said Jen Faigel, Executive Director of CommonWealth Kitchen. “When we level the playing field for diverse entrepreneurs of all backgrounds to start and build food-based businesses, we lift up communities, improve health outcomes, and tackle economic inequality. And we get to eat delicious food while we do it!”
The celebration of Eastern’s Community Advocacy Award coincides with the Eastern Bank Foundation’s commitment to economic inclusion and mobility through its philanthropy, volunteerism and advocacy, including to advance equity in the small business ecosystem. Recognizing that entrepreneurs and business owners are building blocks for the local economy, the Foundation seeks to fund organizations that build ecosystems of support for business owners in historically marginalized communities, including Black, Latinx, Asian, women, LGBTQ+, Veterans and people with disabilities.
Read more about all of the 2022 Community Advocacy Award honorees at: https://www.easternbank.com/communityadvocacyawards
About Eastern Bank Foundation
Created in 1994, the Eastern Bank Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Boston-based Eastern Bank. Through philanthropy, employee volunteerism, advocacy and collaborations with other businesses and community partners, Eastern Bank Foundation responds to community needs and supports sustainable solutions to our communities’ most vexing challenges across eastern Massachusetts, southern and coastal New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. To learn more, visit easternbank.com/foundation.
Eastern Bank Foundation