Changing Lives Through Culinary Education

Little Rock, AR   |

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GuideStar Charity Check


EIN: 83-2719140


Our mission is to change lives through culinary education, empowering those who have experienced adversity (homelessness, incarceration, poverty, abuse, etc.) with the tactical and soft skills of an in-demand workforce.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Christie Ison

Main address

14901 Cantrell Rd.

Little Rock, AR 72223 USA

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Subject area info

Job training

Dining services

Population served info

Economically disadvantaged people

Incarcerated people

NTEE code info

Employment Training (J22)

Congregate Meals (K34)

IRS subsection

501(c)(3) Private Nonoperating Foundation

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990-PF.

Tax forms


Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Our mission is to help those with barriers to employment (incarceration, poverty, etc.) through culinary workforce training and case management support.

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?

Student Support

As of 2024, the Food Jobs Work Foundation exists to support the activities of Food Jobs Work, Inc. and its culinary workforce program. This includes student support that falls outside the purview of the training program, such as financial assistance with housing and other needs.

The main program of Food Jobs Work is a 10-week program consists of equal parts kitchen and classroom. In the kitchen, students learn knife skills, sanitation, workspace management, task and time management, and other skills critical to working in a professional kitchen. Students prepare items such as gumbo, macaroni and cheese, roasted chicken, steaks, cookies, biscuits, and much more. In the classroom, students review in detail the soft skills and ethics needed to be successful in work and in life, including responsibility, leadership, conflict resolution and communication skills.

Population(s) Served
Incarcerated people
Economically disadvantaged people
Substance abusers
At-risk youth
Unemployed people

Where we work

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 goals are:
- To lead our students to gainful, long-term employment
- To empower our students with life-long soft skills that will help them in every area of life
- To feed community individuals in need through our social enterprise kitchens

- Partnership with other organizations such as Our House shelter, Little Rock Workforce Development Board, and Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism to help provide services and training to students
- Partnership with Pulaski Technical College to continue culinary education for those who wish to do so
- Implementation of a 10-week culinary training program (6 weeks in classroom/kitchen, 4 weeks in social enterprises)
- Social enterprise businesses to give students in all stages of program an opportunity to contribute to feeding the community through USDA feeding programs and contract feeding programs
- Partnership with employers who will continue student education with an internship/apprenticeship after the 10-week program, with intent to continue employment afterward with successful students
- Surrounding case management and follow up with students, both from partner organizations and our own

What we have accomplished:

We have graduated over 100 students from the core training program, with several working for us in our social enterprise program and others successfully working in the community.

Our social enterprises started in earnest at the beginning of 2022 with our first USDA CACFP feeding program at Easterseals Arkansas, as well as our first feeding program contract with the Arkansas Department of the Military. Since then, our enterprises have grown to nearly $1m in volume.

What's next:

We have plans to redevelop our curriculum to better fit the needs of our social enterprises (making products to use there rather than at the former location at the shelter, etc.). We are also working toward having our own case managers (eventually a LSW) rather than rely on partners, who can work with students on a daily basis, teach our life skills classes, and continue follow-up after graduation.

While we currently lease kitchen and office space from Easterseals Arkansas, we have plans to also expand elsewhere with our own building. The future building will be a teaching kitchen and office space with a small retail operation in the front.

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 strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

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

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, 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


Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data


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


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

Executive Director

Christie Ison

Ison's varied background in public relations, marketing, writing, and the culinary arts makes her uniquely fit as Executive Director of Food Jobs Work, a nonprofit that came about from a passion project of hers to help the hospitality community and help the disadvantaged find work at the same time. Ison has won awards including PRISM (Public Relations Society of America) Awards (also Accredited in Public Relations/APR), winner of the 2014 LaunchPad startup pitch competition with Stanley Burrell (MC Hammer), and the 2018 Salut au Restaurateur Award from the Arkansas Hospitality Association.


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.


Board of directors
as of 01/03/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Glenda Caton

Caton Consulting

Term: 2021 - 2024

Michael Shellabarger

Sanci Richardson

Heather Sanders

Patrick Herron

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 ? No
  • 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 2/2/2023

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
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data


Equity strategies

Last updated: 02/02/2023

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 employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • 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.