Alchemist CDC

Catalyst for Change

aka Alchemist Community Development Corporation   |   Sacramento, CA   |
GuideStar Charity Check

Alchemist CDC

EIN: 20-1891448


Alchemist CDC connects communities to land, food and opportunity toward a vision in which all neighborhoods are vibrant, equitable, healthy and diverse.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Sam Greenlee

Main address

4625 44th Street, Ste 33

Sacramento, CA 95820 USA

Show more contact info



Subject area info

Food security

Urban development

Community improvement



Population served info

Children and youth


Economically disadvantaged people

NTEE code info

Community, Neighborhood Development, Improvement (S20)

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Alchemist seeks to address the three interlocking problems of environmental injustice, food insecurity, and economic inequality.\n\nThe most vulnerable people in our communities face not just one challenge, but a system of connected barriers and threats that make it difficult for them to thrive.\n\nVery often, the same people:\n- lack secure access to nutritious food\n- lack access to land on which they could grow their own food\n- have fewer parks and green spaces available in their neighborhood\n- suffer disproportionately from various forms of pollution\n- have few or no connections to assist them in pursuing entrepreneurial ambitions that might improve their economic status\n- etc.\n\nDue to the multifaceted problem, there is a need for a multifaceted response.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Alchemist Kitchen

Alchemist Kitchen addresses the main barriers to success for emerging food businesses through a two-phased program structure, which provides support and builds business acumen. Alchemist Microenterprise Academy (AMA) is a 12-week business training course covering the fundamentals of starting a food business. Topics range from financial literacy and legal business structures to recipe development and safe food handling. After graduating AMA, entrepreneurs have the opportunity to apply to the Incubator Program.

The Incubator Program provides customized technical assistance, mentorship, and low-cost commercial kitchen access. Incubator businesses work closely with Alchemist CDC staff to further develop their businesses, build assets, and create individualized benchmarks to ensure accountability and a progression plan for eventual graduation. Alchemist CDC also leverages our own connections to help connect Incubator participants to opportunities, small business loans, and more.

Consistent with Alchemist CDC's mission, Alchemy Kitchen primarily serves entrepreneurs from low-income backgrounds and under-resourced communities.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
People with disabilities
Ethnic and racial groups
Immigrants and migrants

Alchemist CDC operates CalFresh payment processing at 9 Sacramento area farmers' markets. This program brings equitable access to farmers' markets by providing systems necessary for CalFresh/Food Stamps recipients to use their benefits to buy fresh, healthy, local produce. (CalFresh provides qualifying lower income individuals financial assistance in purchasing food for themselves and their families.) This program contributes to the direct sales of local small and mid-sized family farms, and stimulates attendance at farmers markets, enhancing the local economy. Through community partnerships, every booth location provides CalFresh eligibility screening, application assistance and can answer common customer questions about this essential government program .

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Children and youth
Non-adult children
People with disabilities
Refugees and displaced people

Market Match is an incentive program offered to CalFresh recipients exclusively at farmers' markets, enabling them to purchase more fruits and vegetables while simultaneously stretching their food budget. Alchemist CDC facilitates the use of Market Match funds, outreach support and operations training at 18 farmers' markets and farm stands in the greater Sacramento region. When customers spend their CalFresh benefits at these markets, they earn additional Market Match dollars to purchase fresh, seasonal produce. (Maximum Market Match offered per person per market day varies by location, between $5-$20). This program not only benefits the CalFresh user, but supports our local growers who would not otherwise have a way to accept this vital food security benefit. We are proud to be making farmers' markets more sustainable and contributing to the positive economic impact they have on the community.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

Alchemist CDC is committed to working with local neighbors to support grassroots efforts to solve community problems and pursue visions of the common good.In this capacity, Alchemist is best known for our Land-Based Work. Through these projects, we help transform vacant land into vibrant, neighborhood amenities through direct community engagement, design, and hands-on participation in creating public gardens and community gathering spaces.

We also strive to be nimble in helping the community to respond to urgent needs and immediate opportunities with one-off projects like pop-up cooling stations in the midst of a heat wave.

Our Land-Based Neighborhood Empowerment projects include:
- Oak Park Sol Community Garden
- Oak Park Art Garden
- Pansy Community Garden Park
- Community Connections 95820

Population(s) Served
Social and economic status
Children and youth

Where we work


ASLA Communities Grant Program 2020

American Society of Landscape Architects Sierra Chapter

Nonprofit of the Year 2022

California Assembly District 7

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of CalFresh transactions

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Age groups, Economically disadvantaged people, Refugees and displaced people, Non-adult children

Related Program

CalFresh: Connecting Families to Farmers

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Dollar amount of CalFresh and Market Match distributed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Age groups, Social and economic status

Related Program

Market Match- incentive program to encourage healthy eating

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Our mission is to connect Sacramento-area communities to land, food, and opportunity, toward a vision in which all neighborhoods are vibrant, equitable, diverse, and healthy.\n\nVibrant, diverse, healthy and equitable communities that are informed by the needs and wishes of residents. \nVibrant: Neighborhoods are full of creative residents with the best ideas for improving their communities – we are here to help develop and educate residents as a way to strengthen communities.\n\nEquitable: Social justice in community development means that all residents should contribute to and benefit from economic and physical development in their neighborhoods – authority needs to be held accountable.\n\nDiverse: Community health is strengthened by having residents of diverse ethnicity, economic level, cultural background, age and interest.\n\nHealthy: Address social determinants of health. These structural determinants and conditions in which people are born, grow, live, and work include factors like socioeconomic status, education, the physical environment, employment, and social support networks, as well as access to health care. We strive to level the playing field with a holistic view of health and wellbeing.

Education, infrastructure, access and affordability all factor into our strategies. \n\nAccess and affordability: We first look to improve access to existing resources within a community (e.g., ensuring that people can utilize public assistance benefits at farmers' markets and neighborhood stores; Providing financial incentives to help stretch food budgets for low-income populations); \n\nEducation: We address motivation and self-empowerment through education (e.g., teaching a 12 week course on the fundamentals of starting a food business);\n\nInfrastructure: Where infrastructure supports are missing, we seek to create or attract the necessary components (e.g., creative re-use and reclaiming of vacant spaces, a commercial kitchen incubator to provide opportunities for entrepreneurial ventures that build financial sustainability and create jobs).

Alchemist maximizes its resources to get the most of our programs. With a small but committed staff and a network of volunteers, interns and partners we are able to effectively serve thousands of individuals across the greater Sacramento region. \n\nAlchemist CDC has developed a reputation for our food access work and we are able to utilize our position to advocate and to serve.

Alchemist CDC worked with legislative staff and advocacy organizations to provide input on the "EBT access at Farmers' Markets" bill (AB537) that passed in late 2010 to allow third-party entities to operate EBT processing systems at farmers' markets where the market operators were unable or unwilling to. We began bringing CalFresh processing to farmers' markets in the greater Sacramento area in 2011. Since then we have grown the number of markets served as well as customers served each year. While we have grown to serve thousands of individuals in the greater Sacramento area, we know there are still CalFresh customers who do not know they can use their benefits at the farmers' market and we believe we can further grow our numbers and improve healthy food access for lower-income families. \n\nOur Neighborhood Empowerment program has seen success through the Oak Park Sol Community Garden, and the early stages of development and community engagement at the Oak Park Art Garden. The Pansy Community Garden Park has received building permits and should be completed in 2021. We are pursuing a major grant that, if awarded, would allow for the completed development of the Oak Park Art Garden. Following that, we will be able to develop, on-site, the Oak Park Tool Library, a community-powered lending library of tools. We are also pursuing the expansion of our fiscal sponsorship program to provide an administrative home for more grassroots community organizations.\n\nOur Alchemist Kitchen program has completed three cohorts in the Alchemist Microenterprise Academy, and is about to open admission to the third cohort of the Incubator Program. In addition to maintaining and growing these programs, we are working to develop an Alchemist Kitchen brand identity that can help open opportunities for our program participants and pursuing development of a property as an Incubator Hub and shared-use commercial kitchen.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently, The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time


Alchemist CDC
Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 1.99 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 4 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 25% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Alchemist CDC

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Alchemist CDC

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Alchemist CDC

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of Alchemist CDC’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

Created in partnership with

Business model indicators

Profitability info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation $25,377 $34,457 -$6,299 $229,727 $702,245
As % of expenses 8.0% 8.7% -1.4% 36.0% 86.5%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation $25,064 $34,144 -$6,953 $228,434 $697,687
As % of expenses 7.9% 8.6% -1.6% 35.7% 85.5%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $344,135 $430,179 $430,576 $828,485 $1,032,560
Total revenue, % change over prior year 35.3% 25.0% 0.1% 92.4% 24.6%
Program services revenue 6.4% 7.2% 11.2% 11.2% 27.4%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Government grants 12.1% 65.1% 29.4% 74.7% 32.4%
All other grants and contributions 81.5% 27.7% 59.3% 14.1% 40.2%
Other revenue 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $315,803 $395,834 $436,834 $637,829 $811,683
Total expenses, % change over prior year 18.9% 25.3% 10.4% 46.0% 27.3%
Personnel 84.1% 72.1% 71.5% 61.6% 62.3%
Professional fees 1.1% 4.0% 7.4% 7.7% 4.1%
Occupancy 2.4% 1.8% 1.6% 10.5% 8.8%
Interest 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pass-through 0.0% 8.0% 2.6% 6.3% 4.0%
All other expenses 12.4% 14.1% 16.9% 13.9% 20.7%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Total expenses (after depreciation) $316,116 $396,147 $437,488 $639,122 $816,241
One month of savings $26,317 $32,986 $36,403 $53,152 $67,640
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Fixed asset additions $47,000 $1,080 $5,003 $6,669 $492,464
Total full costs (estimated) $389,433 $430,213 $478,894 $698,943 $1,376,345

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Months of cash 9.5 4.7 7.3 6.7 5.8
Months of cash and investments 9.5 4.7 7.3 6.7 5.8
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 1.0 1.8 1.3 5.1 13.8
Balance sheet composition info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Cash $248,785 $155,459 $265,464 $355,971 $391,276
Investments $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Receivables $16,795 $53,408 $105,724 $259,167 $617,359
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $48,629 $49,709 $54,712 $61,381 $553,845
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 3.0% 3.6% 4.5% 6.1% 1.5%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 76.3% 58.3% 76.2% 54.1% 38.7%
Unrestricted net assets $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Temporarily restricted net assets $0 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $0 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total net assets $74,173 $108,317 $101,364 $329,798 $1,027,485

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Material data errors No No No No No


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

Executive Director

Sam Greenlee

Sam joined the Alchemist team after six years in the professional food safety industry and several years in community organizing as a co-founder of the Oak Park Fix-it Cafe. Sam is passionate about building strong equitable communities where the most vulnerable neighbors can flourish. He is a resident of the Oak Park neighborhood and can be found spending his free time gardening, taking evening walks with his spouse, and enjoying time with his children.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

Alchemist CDC

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

There are no highest paid employees recorded for this organization.

Alchemist CDC

Board of directors
as of 07/07/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Ms. Sarah Dillon

Capitol Impact

Term: 2023 - 2023

Matthew Joy

Tri Counties Bank

Matt Read

California Strategic Growth Council

Shawn Mainville

CA Dept. of Social Services

Mary Martin-Mabry

California Volunteers, Office of the Governor

Sarah Dillon

Capitol Impact

Ravenn Moon

CA Department of Developmental Services

Jeff Jelsma

City of Sacramento

Anna Tolle

City of Lafayette

Roxana Garcia-Ochoa

Health Education Council

Aliyah Moreno


Sneha Chand

Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 7/7/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation


Equity strategies

Last updated: 07/07/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.