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Robin Garr

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Chef Space kitchen incubator wins grant

by Robin Garr » Thu Jul 25, 2019 2:33 pm

Chef Space Receives $30,000 Grant from Gheens Foundation
Chef Space's mission carries forward Foundation's food-centered beginnings

The Gheens Foundation has granted $30,000 to Chef Space, Louisville's first kitchen incubator which offers multiple food preparation and processing stations, access to capital, storage space, and training opportunities for its food-venture members. The Foundation's support will help Chef Space pursue its goal of creating scalable food service business for West Louisville.

The Gheens Foundation, Inc. was established in 1957 by C. Edwin and Mary Jo Gheens to continue their lifelong interests in education, religious programs and human services. Mr. Gheens, a Louisville native whose father and uncle were successful in the wholesale grocery business, was the owner of a large, successful candy manufacturing company in Louisville. The family also owned a working plantation in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana which was rich in mineral resources. The Gheens Foundation has distributed over $129,000,000 in charitable grants since its inception.

With the support of the Gheens Foundation, Chef Space will be able to amplify its efforts to assist and train its entrepreneurs, including improving the kitchen space, providing educational courses, and giving businesses hands-on experience. Barry Allen, the President and Treasurer of the Gheens Foundation, stated, "We are delighted the trustees made this important investment in our community."

Kevin Smith, the President and CEO of Community Ventures, Chef Space's parent organization, recognizes how much the support of the Gheens Foundation will add. He says "We've overcome challenges as one of the 'early-ins' in the Russell neighborhood, and the Gheens Foundation's financial, as well as vocal, support gives us great encouragement to keep going." The entire team at Chef Space is grateful to the Foundation and is looking forward to a great partnership.

Chef Space provides commercial kitchen space and business training for entrepreneurs to start food-related ventures as a means for economic security. Since November 2015, 80 businesses have called Chef Space home. With Chef Space's support, these businesses created over 400 part- and full-time jobs. Since 2015, over a dozen businesses graduated and moved off-site to their own brick-and-mortar locations, with four additional businesses planning a move to a permanent location in West Louisville in 2019. For more information, visit www.ChefSpace.org

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