Capping a decade of success employing people with criminal backgrounds and upending expectations in the bread category, Dave’s Killer Bread (DKB) this week launched the newly formed Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation. Powering what it calls “Second Chance Employment,” the Foundation will work to expand employment opportunities for people with criminal backgrounds, which make up 1 in 3 of Dave’s Killer Bread’s more than 300 employee partners. To thank fans who have taken the company from the Portland Farmers Market to national distribution in 10 years, Dave’s Killer Bread is giving away a truck load of bread and offering a free deluxe PB&J bar at the market on Aug. 8.
A nonprofit 501(c)(3), the Foundation was seeded with undisclosed gifts from the bakery’s founding family, led by Glenn Dahl, and CEO John Tucker. It will build on the legacy of second chances that began when co-founder Dave Dahl was welcomed back to the family bakery after 15 years in prison.
“What started with Dave has evolved into a deep commitment that I’m proud to be part of,” Glenn Dahl said. “The Foundation will be in a powerful position to expand on what we’ve learned and help others follow suit. Ultimately, we’re working to change the way business looks at people with backgrounds and open more doors to opportunity.”
The Foundation offers a series of programs for organizations interested in employing people with criminal backgrounds. Designed with input from re-entry, criminal justice, business and human resource experts, the Foundation produces a Second Chance Playbook & Workshop, organizes the Second Chance Employer Network and hosts an annual Second Chance Summit.
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Dave’s Killer Bread produces 17 varieties of whole grain organic bakery products and widespread distribution across the U.S. and Canada. One of the cleanest bread labels on bread shelves, all of DKB’s products are Certified USDA organic and Non-GMO Project Verified. With a goal of gathering 10,000 signatures, DKB is asking its hundreds of thousands of fans and the public who believe in the power of second chances to sign an online pledge supporting companies employing people with criminal backgrounds. It also updated the Dave’s Killer Bread packaging to reflect this commitment and inspire a consumer-driven movement creating meaningful, lasting change.
“Our incredible fans have seen us grow from a renegade bread at the Portland Farmers’ Market to the No. 1-selling organic bread in the nation*. Fewer get to see the success stories inside Dave’s Killer Bread,” Tucker said. “Year after year, our partners follow in our co-founder’s footsteps – taking the second chance they’ve been given to build something great. As we kick off our next decade, we’ll continue to advocate for business leadership.”
On October 16 in Portland, Ore., DKB will sponsor the second annual Second Chance Summit, an education and outreach event for employers expected to attract more than 100 attendees to learn from compelling speakers and gain insight and resources from networking opportunities.
“Business has a powerful role to play in rebuilding lives and communities,” said Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation Executive Director Genevieve Martin. “The programs we’ve created have the potential to make a meaningful difference for businesses, which in turn have the potential to change the lives of hardworking individuals who deserve a second chance.”
The company has captured just some of its inspirational stories, including that of Ronnie Elrod, who seven years ago got a second chance at Dave’s Killer Bread after serving 15 years in prison. Today he is Plant Manager at the Milwaukie, Ore., bakery, overseeing nearly 200 employees and critical operations. With the stability, opportunity and respect he’s gained at Dave’s Killer Bread, he’s now mentoring others putting their lives back together after prison.
DKB is one of a growing number of social enterprises helping the formerly incarcerated regain their footing on the outside: Non-profits such as L.A. Kitchen and D.C. Central Kitchen have culinary job training programs for ex-offenders; and LA-based startup Isidore Electronics Recycling has three distinct missions: Create long-term environmentally conscious jobs in Los Angeles; divert electronic waste (e-waste) from Los Angeles landfills; and reduce the recidivism rate in LA by hiring, and providing on-the-job training for, formerly incarcerated Angelenos. In 2014, founder Kabira Stokes told Sustainable Brands that Isidore has had zero employee recidivism.
*Source: IRI, ending 6-14-15