The Doe Fund: NYC Food Based Community Organization Spotlight

by Alexina Cather, MPH

What they do: The Doe Fund seeks to break the cycles of homelessness, criminal activity, and addiction through programs catered to the individual’s needs. By providing education and job training, affordable housing, and counseling, The Doe Fund transforms former struggling members of society into productive and successful citizens.

How they do it: The award-winning Ready, Willing, and Able program transitions men to the mainstream by offering a unique combination of paid work, transitional housing, professional career training, comprehensive social services and case management.

Mission: “To develop and implement cost-effective, holistic programs that meet the needs of a diverse population working to break the cycles of homelessness, addiction, and criminal recidivism. All of The Doe Fund’s programs and innovative business ventures ultimately strive to help homeless and formerly incarcerated individuals achieve permanent self-sufficiency.”

Latest project/campaign: The Ready, Willing & Able program is our signature, ongoing project.

Major funding: 1) government grants 2) private donations 3) earned revenue from contracts, housing program rent, and social enterprises.

Profit/nonprofit: Nonprofit.

Annual budget: $50 million.

Interesting fact about how they are working to improve the food system: Integrated into its professionally-certified occupational training in the culinary arts, The Doe Fund’s residential food service operation produces over half a million nutritious meals a year for the men participating in its Ready, Willing & Able program. Building upon this established foundation, The Doe Fund has expanded its food programming in recent years to include a dedicated line cook training program creating pathways to employment in the restaurant industry, a social enterprise that includes both catering services and a farmer’s market-based bakery, and an urban agriculture program that features two gardens and a rooftop apiary.


Location: New York City

Core Programs: – Ready, Willing, & Able

  • Target Services
  • Social Enterprises

Number of staff: 400 employees (70 percent are graduates from the Ready, Willing & Able program).

Number of volunteers: Hundreds of corporate and individual volunteers.

Areas served: New York City

Date started: 1985

Directors: George McDonald and Harriet Karr-McDonald

Contact information:,, (212) 628-5207

Related Articles

Leave a Comment

Subscribe To Weekly NYC Food Policy Watch Newsletter
Subscribe to our weekly email newsletter today to receive updates on the latest news, reports and event information
No Thanks
Thanks for signing up. You must confirm your email address before we can send you. Please check your email and follow the instructions.
We respect your privacy. Your information is safe and will never be shared.
Don't miss out. Subscribe today.