Since we shifted our grantmaking towards capacity building, we are often asked if capital projects are still eligible. A $20,000 grant made to Clear Path for Veterans provides an excellent example of an infrastructure improvement that expands not only organizational capacity, but also enables individuals to grow and prosper. Clear Path empowers military members, veterans, and their families through traditional and non-traditional, wellness-enhancing programming delivered in a safe and family-centered environment, while integrating community-based programs and services into a holistic network of supportive resources spanning Central and Upstate New York.
Their gorgeous space just outside Chittenango offers an excellent site locale for program events, outside bookings and training programs, but lacked a functional kitchen. Since the ultimate goal of the Farm to Table Culinary Program is to create a veteran-run catering, hospitality and event business which will provide an income stream, support and community exposure, the request for professional kitchen upgrades made perfect capacity building sense. The Gifford Foundation grant helped outfit their kitchen with the professional equipment necessary to train veterans in the culinary craft and host multiple community events. From weekly Canteens to fundraisers, the venue is now a preferred meeting location.
But as always, it comes down to people. Chris Dambach, a prior service Marine, has created a growing catering and food truck business, Bacon Brothers, using the Clear Path kitchen. His success provides the model for a new program called “Culinary Boot Camp,” where the farm to table concept will be utilized to train Veterans and showcase their cooking talents.
As they shared with us, “Clear Path is realizing new and diverse revenue streams, but more importantly we are supporting Veterans who are achieving their own successes.” To learn more about Clear Path for Veterans, visit their website and read this article from last winter.