President and Founder of LA Kitchen
Robert pioneered the model for Kitchens for Good during his 24 year tenure as the President of the DC Central Kitchen, the country’s first “community kitchen”, where food donated by hospitality businesses and farms is used to fuel a nationally recognized culinary arts job training program. Since opening in 1989, DC Central Kitchen (which is a $11 million a year, self-sustaining, social enterprise) has produced over 26 million meals and helped 1,000 men and women gain full time employment. The Kitchen operates its own revenue generating business, Fresh Start Catering. In 2013 he launched a west coast venture, LA Kitchen, which will build on this excellent model of job training, financial sustainability, and diverting food waste.
In addition, Robert is the Founder and President of CForward, an advocacy organization that rallies nonprofit employees to educate candidates about the economic role that nonprofits play in every community. Robert has received numerous awards for his leadership in the nonprofit sector, and his book, Begging for Change: The Dollars and Sense of Making Nonprofits Responsive, Efficient and Rewarding For All, received the 2005 McAdam Book Award for “Best Nonprofit Management Book” by the Alliance for Nonprofit Management.
Robert was included in the NonProfit Times list of the “50 Most Powerful and Influential” nonprofit leaders from 2006-2009. He was the recipient of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington’s 2007 “Lifetime Achievement” award and the 2004 James Beard Foundation “Humanitarian of the Year” award. He has been named an Oprah Angel, a Washingtonian of the Year, a Point of Light, a Food Hero by Food Tank, a REAL Food Innovator by the US Healthful Food Council, and one of the Ten Most Caring People in America by the Caring Institute.