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Release Date: 09.25.2012 | Location: All Metro Atlanta | Organization: City of Refuge

Blank Foundation Grant Assists City of Refuge 180 Degree Kitchen Culinary Training Program

12-week training program serves students facing barriers to employment

The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation has awarded a three-year grant totaling $120,000 to the 180 Degree Kitchen Culinary Arts Training Program at City of Refuge.

The accredited training program is overseen by former White House Chef Walter Scheib and directed by Chef Robert Owens. The program kicked off its eighth class Monday, September 17.

"It is an honor to be a partner with City of Refuge and the 180 Degree Culinary Arts Training Program. The instruction and experience we provide the students will benefit them greatly as them move into the culinary field,” said Chef Scheib.

The 180 Degree Kitchen program provides accredited training and resources to students facing barriers to employment. The intensive twelve-week program provides an accelerated applied curriculum for 72 students each year. The program operates in a commercial kitchen with state of the art equipment at City of Refuge, Inc. in the inner city of Atlanta, Georgia.

The 180 Degree Kitchen provides more than a culinary arts education. The food prepared during training provides 15,000 meals each month for individuals and families experiencing homelessness. Additionally, through 180 Degree Kitchen Catering students have the opportunity to sign up for evening and weekend catering jobs in the community.

“The program provides high-quality culinary training and other supports that help students become competitive candidates for jobs in the food service industry,” said Penelope McPhee, president of The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. “We see this as part of a broader strategy to invest in career training and employability in a highly stressed and under-employed community.”

“Support from partners like the Blank Family Foundation allows City of Refuge, Inc. to provide the successful training program,” said City of Refuge CEO Bruce Deel. “In fact, 100 percent of the most recent graduating class had employment upon completion of the class.”

Restaurant partners who hire students include Chick-Fil-A, Muss and Turner’s, ONE Midtown Kitchen, Two Urban Licks and Uncle Maddio’s Pizza.

About City of Refuge:
The mission of the City of Refuge is to provide a lifeline, hope and opportunity to the last, lost, and least of Atlanta. Since 1996, City of Refuge offers both life-saving resources and life-building tools to individuals and families living in poverty. The integrated programs span multiple areas of need – ranging from food, clothing, and shelter to job training, placement, housing, healthcare, and education provide targeted services to help individuals and families escape from poverty. Programs include Eden Village, a living center for up to 132 homeless women with children with childcare provided by Feed My Lambs, 180° Kitchen – Culinary Training Program and Dining Hall, and Eden Village II transitional housing for women without children. The CORe Afterschool and summer camp program provides tutoring and recreation to students that live in Eden Village and the surrounding community. Visit for more information or call 404-874-2241.

About The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation:
Formed in 1995, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation promotes innovative solutions to improve the lives of youth and their families, seeking results that move communities beyond what seems possible today. The Foundation invests in early childhood development, education, green space, and the arts and leads giving programs for each of the Blank Family of Businesses, including the Atlanta Falcons. Mr. Blank co-founded The Home Depot, the world’s largest home improvement retailer, in 1978 and retired from the company as co-chairman in 2001. Through the foundation and his family’s personal giving, Mr. Blank has granted more than $250 million to various charitable organizations.  Visit the Foundation web site for more information at

Contact Info

Contact Name: Lorrie Crawford

Company: City of Refuge

Phone: 404-668-3780