With its mission to ‘give back in meaningful ways,’ beloved fast-casual restaurant chain Tender Greens is an ideal partner for B:E.
After years of handing out gift card donations for fundraisers, the company set out to do something that could create lasting change. “So our charitable dollars and time and effort go to a cause that can really make an impact, our Sustainable Life Project (SLP),” says Bay Area Regional Chef Sean Canavan.
The brainchild of Tender Greens co-founder Erik Oberholtzer, SLP offers six months of paid, supportive job training to young adults aging out of foster care with the chance to apply for full-time employment at Tender Greens upon completion of the internship.
Through B:E’s partnership with the innovative company, Sean Eastwood, Executive Chef of the Walnut Creek location, provides professional culinary skills training to youth completing GROW, our own 12-week culinary program. “It’s a natural fit,” says Eastwood. GROW artisans are excellent candidates for the SLP program–so far, two GROW graduates have gone on to complete the rigorous SLP course, with more expected to enroll in the coming months.
The Tender Greens team appreciates the support that B:E provides youth. “They help with needs that we as an employer can’t necessarily help with–housing or emotional support,” says Eastwood. “So we find the partnership to be essential.”
Tender Greens is leading the way for other businesses looking to make a difference. “I’ve worked for big hotel groups that would never dream of going down this road,” says Eastwood. “The company supports us and allows us to do this outreach into the community which would simply be unheard of for most restaurant groups.”
Tender Greens’ contribution to the GROW curriculum has a profound impact on the young people in the program. According to B:E Education and Employment Coordinator Courtney Ralph, the experience allows the youth to “connect with an entity outside of systems that is interested and willing to invest in their future. It’s creating that asset network based on what they want to do, their passions and dreams.”
Together, B:E and Tender Greens are helping youth create their own path to fulfilling those dreams.