Creative Work Systems is pleased to announce that it has received a grant for $3,500 from the Kay E. Dopp Fund and the York County Fund of the Maine Community Foundation. The grant will be used to expand the CWS Culinary Works program, which provides training and employment opportunities to individuals with intellectual disabilities.
“These funds will provide significant opportunities for adults in Maine with disabilities,” says Heidi Howard, the CWS Executive Director. “We sincerely appreciate Maine Community Foundation’s contribution and support for our mission.”
The grant from MCF will be applied toward upgrading and certifying a kitchen in CWS’s Saco facility, which will allow the program to sell prepared foods to local vendors. Program participants will receive training for employment in the restaurant industry while also earning much-needed income through proceeds from food sales.
The Culinary Works program is the latest addition to the CWS family of highly successful social enterprises, which include Maine WoodWorks, YES Art Works and Cultivation Works. These enterprises offer innovative methods for participants to earn training and income in order to overcome poverty and unemployment, which is very high among Maine adults with disabilities.
The bench-crafted, Maine cottage-style furniture produced by the integrated work force at Maine WoodWorks consistently generates more than $1 million annually in sales and was praised in Furniture Today for its “quality, construction and durability.” YES Art Works generated approximately $11,000 in sales in 2014, had one artist featured in MaineToday, and produced two artists whose work was purchased by an international art collector. Cultivation Works, the CWS agricultural program, was singled out in the book Unique Maine Farms and has received commitments from numerous local restaurants and markets to begin selling its Teenie Greenies microgreens. CWS anticipates similar success with the foods produced by its Culinary Works enterprise.
With offices in Ellsworth and Portland, the Maine Community Foundation works with donors and other partners to improve the quality of life for all Maine people. To learn more, visit www.mainecf.org.