The Los Angeles LGBT Center has been awarded a $300,000 grant spanning two years from The Eisner Foundation to support the Center’s innovative Culinary Arts program, an intergenerational training program for LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness and low-income LGBT seniors. Taught at the Center’s commercial kitchen in the Anita May Rosenstein Campus, the 300-hour program engages youth, ages 18–24, to learn basic culinary skills alongside students from the Center’s Senior Services programs. The program participants then assist with the preparation of up to 450 meals a day for the Center’s youth and senior clients experiencing food insecurity. Participants finish the program by completing a 100-hour internship at local restaurants, catering companies, and other food service businesses.
The Eisner Foundation made a previous $500,000 gift to the Center for an intergenerational courtyard garden designed to encourage social interactions on the two-acre Campus.
“Our unique Culinary Arts program is helping our youth and seniors thrive in the food and hospitality industries—thanks to the generosity of The Eisner Foundation,” said Center CEO Lorri L. Jean. “Nearly a quarter of the 65,000 LGBT seniors in Los Angeles County live on $999 or less each month, and many of them are faced with the decision to re-enter the job market. On the other side of the spectrum, nearly 60 percent of our youth members experiencing homelessness have told us they remain on the streets primarily because they cannot secure employment.”
The Culinary Arts program is the brainchild of Center Board of Directors member and celebrity chef Susan Feniger. It is taught by Executive Chef Janet Crandall, Executive Sous Chef Shirley Cho, and Sous Chef Arlita Miller, with Nick Panepinto serving as the program’s Director of Culinary Training and Operations. To date, 41 students have already enrolled in the Culinary Arts program.
“We’re so pleased that the Los Angeles LGBT Center has embraced intergenerational connection as a core value at their new campus,” said Trent Stamp, CEO of The Eisner Foundation. “This culinary training program is a great example of how intergenerational efforts can enhance an organization’s impact in a creative new way, and we hope others are inspired to follow the Center’s lead.”
For more information about the Los Angeles LGBT Center, visit lalgbtcenter.org.
For more information about the Center’s Youth Services, visit lalgbtcenter.org/youth.
For more information about the Center’s Senior Services, visit lalgbtcenter.org/seniors.