Podcast: Everything Co-op Interview about Capital Impact’s 2020 Co-op Innovation Award

By Alison Powers, Cooperative & Community Initiatives Manager

In early 2020, Capital Impact Partners, in partnership with the National Cooperative Bank, awarded a total of $100,000 to three awardees, – ChiFresh Kitchen, The Guild, and the Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative – through its Co-op Innovative Award. Capital Impact’s Co-op Innovative Award aims to increase co-op development in communities with low incomes and/or communities of color. This year, the Co-op Innovation Award focused on organizations educating new audiences on the impact and potential of the cooperative model to disrupt income inequality, steward community ownership, and create strong vibrant places of opportunity.

ChiFresh Kitchen intended to launch in 2020, but pushed forward its intended launch in response to the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on Chicagoans of color and residents with low incomes. Many of the members lost jobs because of COVID, so launching the co-op provided much-needed income in addition to getting food out to the community. ChiFresh is now delivering prepared meals that are freshly cooked, healthy, delicious, and rooted in the culture and traditions of the people being served. They are also working closely with local government and anchor institutions to become the go-to prepared meal vendor for anchor institutions implementing good food purchasing policies. 

Last month, Alison Powers, Cooperative & Community Initiatives Manager at Capital Impact Partners, and Camille Kerr, Founder of ChiFresh Kitchen joined Everything Co-op podcast host Vernon Oakes to discuss the 2020 Co-op Innovation Award and the work being done by the co-op owners of ChiFresh Kitchen in Chicago.

Listen to the podcast to learn more about the Co-op Innovation Award, how the Award supports economic mobility for members of historically disinvested communities, and how ChiFresh Kitchen is supporting ownership and self-determination for formerly incarcerated Chicagoans, primarily Black women, and increasing healthy food options for Chicago communities during the pandemic.

You can also hear from Alison and Camille at the SOCAP20 Virtual conference this week. 

2020 Co-op Innovation Award winners and co-op owners of ChiFresh Kitchen in their kitchen

Click on the photo to listen to the podcast!