New Region-Wide Homeless Employment and Jobs Training Initiative


Lucky Duck Foundation Announces $1 Million Region-Wide Homeless Employment and Jobs Training Initiative 

Program aims to hire and train the homeless and enable them to secure long-term employment

SAN DIEGO, CA – February 20, 2020: The Lucky Duck Foundation today announced a new, region-wide employment and jobs training initiative to hire and provide job training for the homeless. The program is made possible by an anonymous $1 million gift arranged by Una Davis to enable participants to become job-ready and provide them with necessary training to secure long-term employment.  Grants were made by the Lucky Duck Foundation to both expand existing programs and launch new programs across several verticals, including food rescue, culinary skills, homeless outreach, community beautification work, Transition Age Youth (TAY) support services, and intensive job training. Prior homeless employment programs funded by the Lucky Duck Foundation include Alpha Project’s “Wheels for Change.”

By funding the initiative, the donor and Lucky Duck Foundation reinforce their commitment to providing leadership and resources in support of high-impact programs that help those in need and alleviate the suffering of homelessness throughout San Diego. “The Lucky Duck Foundation is honored to work with our generous donor to establish a results-oriented, best-in-class strategy for reducing homelessness,” said Stephanie Kilkenny, Lucky Duck Foundation co-founder and President. “The $1 million gift allows us to deploy much-needed funding into the region to enable individuals to receive on-the-job training and long-term employment with the ultimate goal of securing housing to break the cycle of homelessness. Job and training programs will specifically create opportunities for individuals who are motivated to break the cycle of homelessness and transition back into society by expanding their skills and working hard to take advantage of these unique opportunities.” 

More than 500 participants are expected to benefit from numerous employment and job training programs. Ten organizations were selected from a pool of 22 applicants. Highlights of some participating organizations and programs include:

  • Salvation Army will add a Feeding San Diego Starbucks food rescue route to rescue food from 25+ stores every night. During the day, they will rescue additional food from retail locations. In total, they anticipate rescuing more than 275,000 pounds of food while employing the homeless to do so.
  • Catholic Charities will hire female clients to participate in street clean up and outreach in collaboration with the Salvation Army. Participants will also be eligible to join the food rescue routes.
  • Dreams for Change will more than double “Dreams Cuisine,” a food truck culinary employment and on-the-job training program.
  • Interfaith Community Services will provide employment, job training, and assistance to secure long-term employment.
  • Kitchens for Good will provide on-the-job culinary and workforce training.
  • McAlister Institute will reinstate and expand “Work for Hope,” which provides on-the-job training and completes needed community projects in partnership with Chula Vista Police Department and Public Works.
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) will expand its culinary and community ambassador program.
  • San Diego Community College District’s Continuing Education program will give students intensive and specialized services to place them in jobs. Some participants may also become eligible for free community college through the “Promise Program.”
  • Second Chance will hire, house, and train homeless individuals, some of whom were formerly incarcerated, and connect them to long-term employment.
  • YMCA will assist runaway, homeless, or at-risk of homelessness TAY in becoming self-sufficient by providing intensive case management, supportive services, and subsidized internships.

“The Salvation Army is excited to collaborate with the Lucky Duck Foundation, Feeding San Diego and Starbucks to provide job training and employment opportunities to people experiencing homelessness while rescuing food and reducing waste. We anticipate that most of the homeless individuals who participate will be well positioned to find employment and transition into permanent housing over time,” said Megan Dowell, Salvation Army’s Homeless Services Director.

“This partnership allows us to make a long-term impact on the lives of youth experiencing homelessness,” Nick DeVico, program director for YMCA Connections 2020. “By offering a livable wage and helping youth increase the relationships, concrete skills, and emotional well-being necessary to build a career, we are making sure they are set up for employment success long after our program ends.”

“The Lucky Duck Foundation is providing a hand-up for our North County neighbors struggling with homelessness. Their grant to Interfaith Community Services funds job-training, interview attire, employment equipment, and transportation from shelters to jobsites.  Their support allows us to ‘help people help themselves,’” said Greg Anglea, CEO for Interfaith Community Services.


The Lucky Duck Foundation (LDF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that has actively contributed to the betterment of San Diego County by donating more than $10 million locally since 2005. Founded by Pat & Stephanie Kilkenny, the LDF raises money to fund high-impact programs that alleviate the suffering of homelessness throughout San Diego County.

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For media inquiries, contact Drew Moser: / (619) 417-1149.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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