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Bank of America honors Alpha Project and Kitchens for Good

Plus the Burn Institute and the Ocean Discovery Institute throw parties with a purpose

Kitchens for Good's designation as a Bank of America Neighborhood Builder came with a $200,000 grant

Bank of America recently recognized Alpha Project and Kitchens for Good for their efforts to help San Diegans rebuild their lives. Both 2019 Bank of America Neighborhood Builders honorees received a $200,000 grant, leadership training, and an opportunity to access capital to expand.

Kitchen for Good facilitates tuition-free culinary apprenticeships for people transitioning from incarceration, homelessness, and foster care, while simultaneously helping economically disadvantaged communities overcome food insecurity. The Neighborhood Builders grant will help Kitchens for Good acquire two new training kitchens and hire staff.

By leveraging the Neighborhood Builder program, hundreds of additional students will gain the knife skills and the life skills they need to get and keep a job, and hundreds of thousands of meals will be served annually to those in need—a true win-win that empowers sustainable careers,” said Kitchens for Good CEO Jennifer Gilmore.

For three decades, Alpha Project has been assisting homeless San Diegans with housing, as well as work, nutrition, recovery, and support services. The Neighborhood Builders grant will help Alpha Project hire additional staff and grow its food and employment programs to meet increasing demand. 

“For most of our program participants, successful completion of our programs means permanent independence through education, employment, sobriety, and stability,” said Bob McElroy, founder and CEO of Alpha Project. “Our vision has always been not to manage homelessness, but rather to end it for our clients by offering jobs not handouts, respect not pity, and empowerment not control.”


Burn institute party in the paddockTeri Kelchlin with her winning bid at the Burn Institute’s Party in the Paddock fundraiser


The Burn Institute’s ninth annual Party in the Paddock at the Del Mar Fairgrounds last month raised more than $80,000. The nautical-themed evening included live music from High Tide Society and a speech by survivor Alexis, who suffered third-degree burns to her face, neck, and chest in a car accident, then turned to the Burn Institute for support during her recovery. The party, hosted by the San Diego County Fire Chiefs' Association and the Burn Institute Auxiliary, also included a live and silent auction with packages from local favorites such as Cowboy Star, Juniper and Ivy, and Phil’s BBQ.


Lizbeth Pastenes, Rudy Vargas, Georgette Gómez, and Matt Yagyagan at Ocean Discovery Institute’s Bubble Up! Gal


The Ocean Discovery Institute’s Bubble Up! Gala earlier this month raised more than $548,000. The black-tie event at the U.S. Grant brought students and supporters together in the name of helping kids from underserved communities get involved in science and conservation. This year’s gala featured for the first time ever an Ocean Discovery alumni table where former students could give back by purchasing tickets. 

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