By: Ben Haynes, Daymaker Giving


“Food education should be a cornerstone of every child’s education.”
– Erin Croom, founder of Small Bites Adventure Club in Atlanta, Georgia

Daymaker believes that everyone should have access to healthy, wholesome meals, and that humans are happier when they have a connection to their food and its source. It’s also important to acknowledge that there are systems in place that prevent marginalized communities from having access and developing connections to nutritious food.

The Daymaker model is centered around the Receiver’s Journey; a three-year commitment they’ve made to serve their nonprofit partners and the kids in their programming. During the outset of the pandemic, Daymaker asked nonprofits how they could be most helpful, and co-created the ‘Daymaker Discovery Bundle’ – a monthly curiosity box with a theme, physical items like puzzles or board games associated with that theme, and a celebration of diverse heroes in a related field.

Supporting kids monthly in-between back-to-school and Holiday giving campaigns has become a staple of how they hope to serve. As a natural next step in this process (pun intended!), Daymaker is partnering with Small Bites Adventure Club to offer Farm-to-Home Explorer Kits!


Farm-to-Home overview

Small Bites Adventure Club’s Story

Small Bites was founded in 2018 by a group of women seeking to bring more fruits & vegetables to kids. During the early days, founder Erin Croom was packing “Taste Test Boxes” on her dining room table to create a prototype. The first boxes contained ingredients, a recipe, and a paired activity. Erin remembers being uncertain and having questions: ‘Would teachers find it intuitive to teach the lesson? Would kids be able to make this recipe? Are kids even going to eat the recipe?’

She brought the boxes to a local preschool in Atlanta, and after that day she knew that Small Bites was onto something. The teachers were able to lead the lesson with very little instruction from her, the four-year-olds were able to make kale pesto, and the kids ate it and loved it! That night, the preschool teacher received emails and calls from parents saying “What’s this about my kid eating Kale?! How did you get them to do that?!”


The Real Farm to home Kits!

About the Daymaker Farm-to-Home Explorer Kits

Small Bites’ new Farm-to-Home kits will “help kids follow this magical journey from seed to plate,” Erin said. For the first six months of 2021, the kids will receive a monthly kit with a theme that contains: a recipe, an activity booklet, a ‘Meet the Farmer and Veggie/Fruit Card,’ and extras like family conversation cards, a snack bar, stickers, magnets, and videos. The activities within these kits focus on issues at the root of food: community, diversity, health & nature.

Shake It Up Screenshot

One component of these kits is a Meet The Farmer card (see below). This card tells the story of a farmer, where they are and what their life is like. “Most kids we talk to think food comes from the grocery store or Mom’s car,” said Erin. “We feel that it’s a very important part of a child’s education that food comes from farmers, and farms and the soil.”

Importantly, Small Bites recognizes the structural problems of a lack of representation in the farming community and in agricultural careers: they feature farmers of color on many of the Meet Your Farmer cards, and they purchase over 50% of the food in the kits from farmers of color. “I love the way that Small Bites elevates the voices of brown farmers, black farmers and women farmers,” said Wande Okunoren-Meadows from The Hand, Heart & Soul Project, a Daymaker nonprofit that also works with Small Bites in Atlanta.


Meet the Farmer

Small Bites has been sending kids from The Hand, Heart & Soul Project their Taste Test Boxes for classrooms during the pandemic. “Small Bites helps kids appreciate where their food comes from. So often kids grow up to only have appreciation for their Nike shoes, but these kits help kids have appreciation for the soil and where their food comes from. It really engages families and kids on a different level.”

The US food system marginalizes and negatively impacts those growing up in poverty. “People eat what they have access to” as Laura Phillips, from I Grow Chicago, a Daymaker nonprofit partner said. More than 23.5 million Americans, including 6.5 million children live in low-income urban and rural neighborhoods that are more than one mile from a supermarket with fresh produce. And the pandemic has shown the ways higher rates of infection from COVID-19 within black and brown communities in the United States stems from structural inequality within our neighborhoods and our food system.

Laura believes that these Farm-to-Home kits will be powerful for the kids that she works with everyday: “Kids want to play a part in the creation process. Having these kits will give kids agency in the creation process of the food that they are making. That will change a lot.”

Looking ahead

Just as Small Bites is fostering deeper relationships between kids, seeds, farmers and the earth, Daymaker hopes to foster connections between those giving and those receiving. If you donate a Farm-to-Home kit to a special kid on Daymaker this holiday season, you’ll get an update on how the Spring is going for that child during 2021, and you’ll have an opportunity to help the same child again during their back-to-school campaign. Daymaker is so excited to launch these kits as a way to help generate compassionate connections — connections between you, the children you’re supporting, and the seeds of life that can help lead to a healthy and flourishing future.

“You can’t educate to the head unless the body, the soul & the stomach are also taken care of”
Wande Okunoren-Meadows, Hand, Heart and Soul Project

By: Thelma Johnson, CEO of Albany Community Together! (ACT) & Christine Reeves Strigaro, Executive Director of The Sapelo Foundation 


Albany Community Together! (ACT!) is a Community Financial Development Institution (CDFI) that is based in Albany, Georgia. It provides capital, coaching, and connections to support small businesses in southwest Georgia. Its combination of loans and vital technical assistance help those small businesses survive and thrive, especially when earlier in 2020 Albany, Georgia had the fourth highest rate of COVID-19 cases globally. 

The Sapelo Foundation is a private, family foundation that is based in Savannah, Georgia and works statewide. It utilizes 100% of its capital – including grants, mission investments, convening space, thought leadership, and advocacy – to advance its mission: “We strive for a just Georgia, through partnerships and solutions that increase environmental protection, social prosperity, and civic power.” In 2020, The Sapelo Foundation recently launched its new strategic plan, new grantmaking process, new website, and new mission investing journey.


When you’re a hammer, you think everything is a nail. So, when a foundation identifies itself as only a grantmaking partner, it may try to solve problems and catalyze opportunities with only grants – an important, but single tool that has limitations. For instance, quantitatively, grants only comprise about 5% of all of a private foundation’s financial capital. So, when a foundation also identifies as a mission investing partner, suddenly it has many more tools available (such as PRIs), and it can unlock and leverage the remaining 95% of its assets to align with its mission. When 19 times more financial capital is available, more good work happens. Just as The Sapelo Foundation would not want a grantee partner to only use 5% of its capital towards its mission, The Sapelo Foundation does not want to only use 5% of its financial capital. 

Partnership History: In May 2018, The Sapelo Foundation awarded a collaborative grant to both ACT! and its sister CDFI, Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE). Then, in October 2019, staff and trustees visited ACT! in Albany for an illuminating site visit. In September 2020, The Sapelo Foundation awarded ACT! with its first Program Related Investment (PRI), in the form of a loan for $100,000, at 0% interest, for a duration of three years. A PRI can sometimes be thought of as a recyclable grant, but it can come from the 95% (endowment), not only the 5% (grants). One goal of this first-ever PRI for The Sapelo Foundation was to support ACT! and its extraordinary work, vision, leadership, expertise, and partnership with entrepreneurs in greater Albany. Another goal was to complement its grantmaking work in Albany with a PRI. To learn more, please read this press release.


Q&A: The following is a Q&A with The Sapelo Foundation’s Executive Director, Christine Reeves Strigaro (a mission investing partner) and ACT!’s CEO, Thelma Johnson (a mission investee partner).


Christine (The Sapelo Foundation): In less than three months, how did ACT! leverage the first $1 million from the PRI that you received in September 2020?

Thelma (ACT!): The PRI was the beginning of a very successful 2020 fund development plan. As we applied for grants, we had to identify existing foundation relationships and any pending applications. We found that one of the most attractive elements of our proposal, was our diverse funding. We had relationships with foundations, specifically The Sapelo Foundation’s PRI. The confidence that The Sapelo Foundation had in us directly attracted other funders to learn more about and invest in our work. With the success of the PRI, we no longer dreaded the other funders’ worksheets that were required with almost every proposal. Full speed ahead, we applied for the Wells Fargo Open for Business Fund. We were able to leverage our PRI to attract additional funding in the amount of $1 million to assist 30 businesses with immediate recovery and provide credit enhancements to move towards recovery and relaunch.  


Christine (The Sapelo Foundation): You have talked with The Sapelo Foundation about a “domino effect.” What do you mean by that? 

Thelma (ACT!): Since the Sapelo PRI, we have had the domino effect of attracting investments. We believe that the PRI showed a diverse balance sheet that has allowed us to leverage our existing relationships to grow our capital for loans and capacity support. We are very grateful and thankful for the risk Sapelo took to show that ACT! has a sound balance sheet that warrants supporting our mission.  

Specifically, since receiving the PRI from Sapelo and the Wells Fargo Open for Business Fund, we have been approved by Opportunity Finance Network through its Grow with Google Initiative for a 10-year, $1 million loan and a $150,000 grant to support operations. ACT! has been able to attract over $2.1 million dollars this year and since June 2020. We were also invited to apply for another PRI from The Nathan Cummings Foundation for $250k; however, the board decided to hold off after the Wells Fargo announcement.  


Christine (The Sapelo Foundation): Can you share more context about what happened before the PRI, and how you are thinking about 2020 and 2021?

Thelma (ACT!): As we look back over 2020, we are forever reminded of the tremendous losses. Despite the pain and agony 2020 has brought, ACT! is positioned to make meaningful impact in our market. As for 2021, we plan to implement our strategic plan goals of increasing our staff capacity and scaling our loan portfolio.  


Christine (The Sapelo Foundation): Are there any closing thoughts that you would like to share?

Thelma (ACT!): Without strong and successful fund development, fundraising, and grant writing strategies, nonprofits face the difficult task of attracting investments to achieve true mission-driven work. We, in the nonprofit world, understand that there are no programs without people. If we are not able to cover operating expenses from program income, we must subsidize it with our fund development strategies. ACT! has been in that pivotal point of operating soundly, but never being successful in attracting significant investment to move the organization forward. ACT! has been successful in receiving government grants, and in developing partnerships with local governments, but the ever-elusive private foundations were not knocking at our door. 

The PRI from Sapelo has helped change that conversation.

Entrepreneur Name: Reginald Maisonneuve

Venture Name: Aegis LLC

Impact Focus Area(s): Financial & Economic Transformation for the consumer, enterprise & government.

Core areas include:

  • Financial Health
  • Affordable Housing
  • Access to Capital: Consumer & micro & SMB
  • Under/Un-banked
  • Employee Financial Wellness

Business Stage: Startup

Year Venture Established: 2018

Business Type: LLC, a GA Corp., Haitian-American & US Veteran-owned.

The Issue

Social entrepreneurship is about solving problems. Tell us about the challenge you are focused on addressing and why it is critical that we make progress.

Increasing economic inequality and distress make clear that people across the globe lack the basic means to understand and navigate effectively through their economic landscapes. Enterprise and government are challenged by a lack of robust, high quality data and tools to drive deeper insights, stronger outcomes and higher performance. 

Our platform, Stance, was conceived and designed from inception to address this problem through innovation in visualization, economic modeling, and technology to serve people across the socio-economic, educational & cultural spectrum and enable responsible enterprise and government to serve them better and strengthen their own organizations through new service and business intelligence capabilities. Civil & democratic societies depend on addressing this problem to thrive.  That has never been clearer.



Your Journey

Entrepreneurship is a journey that requires connections and support from a wide array of stakeholders across the ecosystem to help successfully identify, start, and grow a social enterprise.

As a businessperson and entrepreneur, I remain an engineer at heart. I like solving complex problems, bringing structure to chaos, and working with diverse individuals and organizations to make a meaningful and lasting impact. It’s been a theme in my career to be brought in to solve complex problems – sometime in extreme situations (like a coup d’état).  I’ve shown success in doing so.

I believe that if you’re creative, pragmatic and engaging enough, complex problems and challenges can be overcome. Being from Haiti, living and working in developed and developing countries, I want to demonstrate that businesses that help individuals and communities thrive, can also thrive. Achieving this would be deeply rewarding. It is core to Aegis’ genesis.



Why Georgia’s Social Impact Ecosystem Matters

Being an entrepreneur is hard and it’s even more challenging when you are a social entrepreneur as your business model and / or structure doesn’t follow the same path as traditional start-ups.

The challenge we have is in creating a new product category. Most products attack a symptom or one area impacting financial health, often times at the expense of another. We avoid this problem by clearly defining and quantifying the principal objective: advancing the financial health (i.e., the economic viability & strength of a consumer, household or community) and giving people and serving organizations the means to put it effectively to use. This approach allows us to tackle problems of increasing urgency in our society and of strategic importance to enterprise and government … using the same platform.

We have found that much of the ecosystem is focused on one element of the puzzle. Our platform, Stance, serves as an integrating fabric. Stance, coupled to our expertise in enterprise transformation, enables innovation in services, new levels of service and operating performance, while giving consumers new means to get and stay ahead. We are seeking and need partners and investors to fulfill our mission.


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