In 2008, Marc Vetri and business partner Jeff Benjamin created Vetri Community Partnership (VCP).
Vetri Community Partnership began as an effort to support Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), which raises funds and awareness for pediatric cancer causes, cures and research. Vetri and Benjamin held the first Great Chefs Event in 2006 with 8 local chefs and 100 guests. They raised $50,000 for ALSF. 12 years later, the annual event continues to raise proceeds that are now split between ALSF and VCP. Their vision has inspired chefs around the country, with culinary fundraisers for ALSF now active in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City.
Motivated by these results, Vetri and Benjamin decided to leverage their own expertise on food and nutrition for the benefit of children. They tackled the pressing issue of childhood obesity and poor nutrition through “Eatiquette,” the Vetri Method for school lunch. Eatiquette transforms cafeteria lunch into a family-style learning experience that encourages healthy eating habits and fosters an appreciation for fresh, nutritious meals.
In the summer of 2010, ESF Dream Camp, a five-week day camp for at-risk children in Philadelphia adopted the Vetri Method under the direct guidance of Marc Vetri and Chef Jeff Michaud. While remaining within the federal guidelines for government-subsidized school meals, Vetri and Michaud designed menus and prepared locally grown and freshly made lunches daily for more than 300 campers.
Vetri Community Partnership remains committed to the belief that children who have healthy bodies and healthy minds have the opportunity to create healthy lives for themselves.
In 2012, VCP partnered with The Philadelphia Inquirer’s former food editor Maureen Fitzgerald on a program called My Daughter’s Kitchen. Fitzgerald features the program in an 8-week series of articles each Spring and Fall and shares recipes, students’ reactions and lessons learned with the Inquirer’s 300,000 subscribers and millions of online readers at Philly.com.
The name Vetri Community Partnership was adopted in November 2015. At the same time, VCP hired Marlene L. Olshan as Chief Executive Officer. Olshan served formerly as CEO of Big Brothers, Big Sisters Southeastern Pennsylvania, as COO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and as a Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Human Services for the City of Philadelphia. Kelly Herrenkohl, who had served as Executive Director since 2012 assumed the role of Chief Operating Officer.
In Fall 2016, VCP also launched two new innovative programs — Vetri Cooking Lab and Mobile Teaching Kitchen. Vetri Cooking Lab is an after-school program cooking program that combines cooking, nutrition education and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) core concepts. The Mobile Teaching Kitchen is a modified food truck that brings hands-on cooking demonstrations to schools, farmers markets and community events.
Today, VCP programs are active in more than 75 Philadelphia area schools and organizations, serving more than 7,000 students.