Investing in Breadwinners

Since 2008, Hot Bread Kitchen has worked to create economic opportunity through careers in food. Ten years in, we asked ourselves: What more do we have to do to further our mission, increase our impact, and realize the world we imagine for ourselves and the communities we serve? Investing in Breadwinners, a study of our first decade of impact, captures the efforts and effects of Hot Bread Kitchen’s economic empowerment programs and social enterprise. Through interviews with our graduates, we invite you to learn more about the work we have done—and will continue to do—to support women, entrepreneurs, and the future of work. Read more from our CEO, Shaolee Sen.

Executive Summary

A report of the most critical insights we have gained over a decade of learning, including data on Hot Bread’s individual, family, and community-level impact. With changes sweeping the workplace, the culinary sector, the labor market, and our own business model, this summary describes what we have accomplished, for the purposes of learning how to do more, better.

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Mission Meets Market

In collaboration with an array of partners, Hot Bread Kitchen has been able to create jobs, generate economic activity, contribute to community vibrancy, and sustain social impact in East Harlem. We evaluated the factors that have led our social enterprise to generate more than $100 million in local economic impact.

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Investing in Breadwinners

To understand the long-term impact of economic empowerment for women who face financial insecurity and barriers to employment, we interviewed 60 graduates of our culinary training program. Our study found the Hot Bread Kitchen experience goes far beyond learning how to make bread.

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Incubating with Intention

We conducted interviews with 20 of our former incubator members about the impact HBK Incubates has had on their businesses’ trajectories, from their sales to buyer relationships to goals for the future. Most alumni identified Hot Bread’s incubator community as key to their businesses’ success.

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Full Impact Study

This study is the culmination of our effort to understand the impact of all of our programs—where growth in economic opportunity has been for the women we have trained over the last ten years, the entrepreneurs we have supported since 2011, and for our East Harlem community.

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Acknowledgments

This study would not have been possible without the women and entrepreneurs who are, and always have been, the reason Hot Bread Kitchen exists. Huge thanks to the 60 graduates of our culinary training program and 20 alumni of HBK Incubates who provided invaluable insights and feedback about the qualitative impact of our programs. Without them, there would be no impact to measure. We are grateful for their continued dedication to our work and for being members of the Hot Bread Kitchen community.

RESEARCHERS
Enormous thanks to Dana Archer-Rosenthal, a social impact expert and independant consultant who has spent her career supporting, strengthening, and deepening mission-driven nonprofit work. Dana led this impact study and was responsible for developing our interview protocol, methodology, and analysis. We would also like to thank all of the researchers who helped shape this study and conducted primary and secondary research, specifically: Grayson Caldwell, lead field researcher; Floee Skrzypek and Noah Best, primary research assistants; and the team of The School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University graduate students and Hot Bread volunteers who conducted primary interviews.

STAFF
In addition to conducting interviews with our program graduates and incubator alumni, several Hot Bread Kitchen staff members provided critical context and background on the history of our organization. Special thanks to Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez, Shaolee Sen, Jill Kaplan, Karen Bornarth, Kobla Asamoah, Kelsey Minten, and Kelli Kerkman for their support in this process, and to Margo Sivin and Jenny Kutner for designing and writing this final product.

PHILANTHROPIC SUPPORT
We are also grateful to the supporters who made this impact study possible, in particular Fondation Chanel for funding our research and publication of this report. Thank you to each of the advisors and organizations that were willing to share their expertise and feedback as this report coalesced, providing vital critiques along the way. This study is better for your insight.

Advisory Support
Citi Foundation
Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation
Evidence for Action
Fondation Chanel
Guggenheim Partners, LLC
JP Morgan Chase Foundation
Robin Hood Foundation
Workforce Development Institute

Finally, to the funders who have worked with us to grow our mission over the years, we could not have completed this undertaking—or done any of the life-changing work we have done over the past decade—without your generosity. We thank you for your enduring support of Hot Bread Kitchen and your contributions to the women and entrepreneurs we serve.