Alumni in Action
“I can't even quantify the amount of value the fellowship gave me.”
Kristin Richmond - 2005 Bay Area
Spotlight on Kristin Richmond
I was working in finance as an investment banker at Citigroup. After four years I changed course completely and went to Nairobi to co-found a school for special needs with a group of educators. I realized there the huge role that nutrition plays in kids' performance in school. It was so clear when they hadn't had breakfast or a proper lunch. It filtered through their whole day. When I got back to the States, I worked for RISE to help schools that serve low incomes students implement strategies to attract teachers. The food in these schools was horrific! The principals would say, "We teach them how to treat their bodies in class but what we serve in the lunchroom is totally misaligned." The teachers said they felt like hypocrites; they were really powerless.
I went from a place where the kids didn't have enough food to a place where they were eating this junk. I said to myself, someone has to do this better. This is a huge opportunity to make a difference.
I went to graduate school with the intention of launching a company to improve health in schools by providing healthy, fresh meals and nutrition education to low-income students and families. During my fellowship, I worked at Leadership Public Schools and helped launch two new schools. I had to set them up on a meal plan. I researched the field to find out if there were healthy options available, and there weren't. It was an awesome opportunity to find out operationally what these schools needed to implement this idea. During one workshop on entrepreneurship, I spent the session running my idea by the cohort. They were excited and definitely very supportive.
One of the absolute strongest parts of the fellowship was the exposure to leaders with varying approaches across the entire landscape of education. It was so easy to see how you could have a phenomenal career in education reform in any number of ways: working for a district, a charter school, a policy organization or a company that served the entire education community.
Don Shalvey of Aspire Schools spoke in our first workshop and became hugely instrumental in launching my company. He became our first customer and founding partner and has been a wonderful mentor and amazingly inspiring guy. My business partner, Kirsten Tobey, and I also received funding from NewSchools Venture Fund because of people I met through the fellowship. Joanne Weiss, the managing partner, is now on my board of directors.
I can't even quantify the amount of value the fellowship gave me. Four phenomenal Fellows have helped us build this company through the fellowship program and then went on to careers in education, taking the Revolution Foods story with them.
To date, Revolution Foods has served over 2.5 million meals to schools in California. The organization now works with over 100 education programs in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles Metropolitan Area, and San Diego, serving close to 25,000 students. Learn more about Kristin and Revolution Foods in a recent Forbes article!