Data and Opportunities: The Story of DC Central Kitchen

December 12, 2014

When we think about data-driven innovation, we don't automatically think of the non-profit sector. We often think of the high tech, Silicon Valley types that deliver us amazing breakthroughs from apps, to new personalized services. 

But there's an organization in Washington, DC that is using data to ensure that thousands of people in the city receive healthy meals and a second chance.

For more than 25 years, DC Central Kitchen has prepared and delivered meals every day to thousands of people in the Nation’s Capital including those at many of its public schools, hospitals, shelters and more.

It also has a robust program that offers culinary arts training to those who are looking for a second chance at life and in a rewarding profession.

Using the power and insight of data, along with an operation that literally and figuratively “feeds the soul of the city,” DC Central Kitchen is more than a run of the mill not-for profit that wants to change the world. It is a well-run enterprise that uses data and makes a tremendous difference in the lives of thousands of people. 

"DC Central Kitchen produces a lot of data," DC Central Kitchen CEO Mike Curtin said. "The effort over the last couple years has been to bring that data together, use software systems and really create meaning out of that data. We needed to track it, we needed to monetize it, and we needed to put it in terms that people could understand." 

After spending some time with them, including in their always bustling and action packed kitchen, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation created a video profile on DC Central Kitchen that features Curtin and his inspiring staff.

While offering insight into the Kitchen's mission, the video also delves into how the use of data has allowed DC Central Kitchen to optimize its operations and change lives for the better in a number of ways.

In addition to the video, the Chamber Foundation has also profiled DC Central Kitchen in Issue 12 of the Business Horizon Quarterly (BHQ).

That article is available here and gives you even greater detail on their mission and impact. There are lots of organizations around us where data makes a difference and we at the Chamber Foundation are proud to shine some light on one just a few blocks from the US Capitol Building that literally does it with every meal and life they serve and touch.

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