Culinary Training Academy wins $50,000 grant from trust at Gulf Coast Community Foundation

Funds to provide persons with disabilities the opportunity to gain skills and on-the-job experience

This is a photo from The Haven’s webpages devoted to the Culinary Training Academy.

The Haven in Sarasota has received a $50,000 grant from the Gould Family Trust Foundation at the Gulf Coast Community Foundation (Gulf Coast) for a Culinary Training Academy with Rise Up Café, The Haven has announced.

This program, The Culinary Academy: Empowering Through Experience! Has been “designed to provide individuals with disabilities the opportunity to gain valuable on-the-job experience and training in the dynamic and rewarding field of food service,” a news release explains.

“We are very excited to be partnering with Rise Up Café and Gulf Coast Community Foundation,” said Brad Jones, president and CEO of The Haven, in the release. “The core belief behind all of our programs,” he continued, “is to provide opportunities for our participants to gain independence and purpose. The Culinary Academy will provide comprehensive training in a community-based setting, with the goal of our graduates finding employment in our community,” he added.

“The Haven has a large commercial kitchen on its 32-acre campus that provides culinary training and jobs for Haven clients,” the release explains. “Daily, these clients plan, cook, and distribute meals for The Haven’s 66 Selby Preschool students.”

Rise Up Café, which is located across the street from Gulf Coast’s Sarasota Philanthropy Center, “is a coffee shop in downtown Sarasota that provides dozens of jobs for adults with disabilities, with an additional 300 future employees on the waiting list,” the release notes.

The grant assistance from Gulf Coast will enable The Haven and Rise Up Café to allow both the current café employees and the individuals on the waiting list to receive culinary training, the release says. Participants will have the opportunity “to work alongside experienced professionals in a variety of food service settings, such as restaurants, cafes, and catering companies, and they will learn essential skills such as food preparation, cooking, customer service, table service, and kitchen operations in a supportive and inclusive environment. The program will develop important social and interpersonal skills for participants,” the release points out.

“We are thrilled to partner with The Haven on this generous grant through Gulf Coast Community Foundation,” said Rise Up Café founder Beaver Shriver in the release. “Providing a culinary training program will be a big help for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to obtain employment at Rise Up Café or other restaurants looking for eager and dedicated employees,” Shriver added.

Approximately 120 participants a year will receive 40 hours of training each, the release says. Upon completion of the program, each participant will receive a certificate and the opportunity” to be placed into integrated employment with assistance from The Haven job coaches. The goal is to have each individual master skills necessary to secure employment in the restaurant industry, the release adds.

“Gulf Coast Community Foundation is pleased to provide this grant that will create a transformative experience for individuals with disabilities,” the Foundation’s president and CEO, Phillip Lanham, said in the release. “Mr. Alvin Gould was a compassionate and generous philanthropist who found great joy in supporting students in our region,” Lanham continued. “We are honored to steward his legacy and see the tangible impact of his generosity through this project.” Visit the to apply for the Academy.