RSF Social Finance Makes a Loan to Ceres Community Project

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RSF Social Finance Makes a Loan to Ceres Community Project

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Ceres Community Project receives loan from @RSFSocFinance a non-profit delivering healthy, #organic meals in CA
Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - 11:05pm

CONTENT: Press Release

(3BL Media) San Francisco, CA - July 10, 2012 - RSF Social Finance is pleased to announce a new loan to Ceres Community Project, a non-profit which prepares and delivers free healthy, organic meals to Sonoma and Marin County residents dealing with the stress and challenges of a serious illness.

Ceres will use the funds to purchase its newly renovated headquarters and commercial kitchen facility in downtown Sebastopol.

Ceres Community Project began in March, 2007 with the simple idea of bringing teens into the kitchen to teach them about cooking and eating healthy food. The teens would learn by volunteering to prepare meals for local residents facing illness. Since that time, more than 600 teens have prepared 120,000 free nourishing meals for hundreds of families. Depending on the illness and treatment plan, Ceres provides two to six months of meals for clients and the clients’ families, along with nutrition information and the caring support of the community.  “The diagnosis of a serious illness such as cancer pulls the rug out from under people,” says founder and executive director Cathryn Couch. “At a time when people most need to eat well it is often the first thing that goes out the window. Yet research shows that staying well-nourished increases the effectiveness of treatment, reduces side effects and speeds recovery after treatment is over.”

The organization benefits from in-kind food donations from a wide variety of local retailers, farmers and food producers. As a result, average out-of pocket cost for each meal is under $1.50.  Currently more than 150 teen volunteers (ages 13-19) are involved in the Ceres Community Garden and the kitchen. The teens learn about growing, preparing and eating fresh, whole and organic food and about the benefits of healthy eating, all while receiving team and leadership training. Teen volunteers have come from 35 different middle and high schools in the area. Several past volunteers have gone on to culinary school or jobs in the food industry.

Educating teens, clients and the larger community about the vital role of a healthy diet is central to Ceres’ operations. The group’s mission is to build healthy communities by restoring fresh, whole and organic food to its place as the foundation of health, and by connecting people in heart-centered ways to themselves, others and the earth. “Ceres recognizes the valuable link between nutritious food and caring human interaction in helping people recover from serious illness,” says Ted Levinson, Director of RSF’s Social Enterprise Lending Program. “We are excited to help Ceres grow and replicate their model in other communities.”

”We are thrilled to be able to work with RSF Social Finance as we move into the next phase of our work. Having a lender who shares our values and vision for the world is very exciting”, says Couch. “In the past two years, Ceres has helped four communities replicate our model. At least three more are scheduled to get up and running over the next six months. As we expand our work nationally, we know that RSF will be right there with us as we work to build healthy people and healthy communities.”


About RSF Social Finance
Located in San Francisco, CA, RSF Social Finance (RSF) is a financial services organization dedicated to transforming the way the world works with money. Since 1984, the organization has made over $30 million in loans and $100 million in grants to non-profit and for-profit social enterprises working in the areas of Food & Agriculture, Education & the Arts, and Ecological Stewardship.

RSF's lending capital comes primarily from 1,200 individuals who have invested $1,000 or more in the organization's Social Investment Fund. Investors earn a competitive return on their money comparable to a certificate of deposit while their funds are deployed to leading social enterprises. To learn more, visit

About Ceres Community Project
Based in Sonoma County, California, Ceres Community Project is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to creating healthy people, healthy communities and a healthy planet. Our work focuses on providing the knowledge, skills and inspiration to make healthy eating a way of life, and on creating heart-centered ways for people to connect with others.  Key facets of our approach include:

  • Supporting individuals dealing with serious illness with free, delivered and nutrient-rich prepared meals, nutrition education, and a community of caring.
  • Involving young people as volunteer gardeners and chefs, giving them direct, hands-on experience of the difference that fresh, healthy foods and community make, and of their own capacity to contribute.
  • Educating the broader community, including health professionals, about the connection between fresh, healthy food, strong social networks, healing and wellness.
  • Connecting people of all ages and from all walks of life to one another, and to their value as an integral part of the community.

We operate in Sonoma and Marin County, California, and are currently supporting the replication of our model in more than half a dozen communities including Summit, New Jersey; Bay Village, Ohio; Nashville, Tennessee; Geneva, Illinois; and  Santa Cruz, California. To learn more, visit


Ted Levinson, Lending Director

Jillian McCoy, Senior Associate, Communications

Keywords: Health | RSF Social Finance | Social Finance | ceres community project | organic | social investing

CONTENT: Press Release