We Prepare People for Work & Life

Our Vision

The Bread Project’s vision is to lead work-readiness, employment support, and professional development programs for reentry, justice involved individuals as well as immigrants and refugees in the San Francisco Bay Area, and to be a model for this work nationwide.

When adults have a second chance and are able to make a successful transition to employment and have ongoing access to further education to increase their economic opportunities, they improve not only their own lives but those of their families and communities, for generations to come.

Our History

The Bread Project was founded as a California nonprofit 501(c)(3) public benefit corporation in December 2000. Lucie Buchbinder and Susan Phillips, specialists in subsidized housing, created the organization to help low-income housing tenants obtain job skills training and become self-sufficient. After a successful beginning at the San Francisco Baking Institute in South San Francisco, The Bread Project transferred to the East Bay and partnered with Berkeley Adult School and Oakland Unified School District Adult and Career Education.

With growth came the opportunity for The Bread Project to operate its own training facility and wholesale bakery. In 2010, we moved to Emeryville. In 2015, we moved again to our current facility – zoned for both retail and wholesale operations –in Berkeley, California. During our 20-year history, we have served over 2,000 low-income individuals. Today 80-85% of graduates find jobs, and average time to employment is 30-60 days.

Our Goals

We are proud of our accomplishments to date, but more work needs to be done. With the recidivism rate at 46% for formerly incarcerated Californians, we intend to grow our programs and services to reduce that rate for our justice involved graduates. In addition, we strive to help the significant number of immigrants and refugees navigate a new culture and job market. Other long-term impacts we strive to achieve with those we serve are increased economic opportunity, wage progression, enhanced quality of life, and access to a supportive community.

Our Staff

Usha Gongal

Executive Director

Usha is a Bakery Bootcamp graduate who came to The Bread Project as a student in 2013, became a part time employee following graduation, and joined the team full time two years ago as Instructor, Production Manager, and more recently as Operations Manager. A native of Nepal, she is an internationally acclaimed entrepreneur, ‘green’ manufacturer, and
scholar dedicated to improving the lives of women through meaningful self-sufficient work. She is Founder and Proprietor of Young WoW Craft in Nepal, an organization that employs 35 women and produces, markets, and distributes natural, fiber-based cloth and clothes from Lokta Paper globally. Usha speaks six languages and has a wonderful combination of spirit, passion, and direct experience for helping the unemployed acquire new skills and jobs.

Celeste Cooper

Chef Instructor

Celeste began cooking and baking at an early age with her grandmothers and started working in restaurants at age 15. She has experience in many professional kitchens and loves the excitement and creativity that goes into making food and feeding others. She attended the California Culinary Academy for Baking and Pastry Arts in 2004 to round out her cooking talents and has owned a few food businesses in the SF Bay Area. Engaging with the community around how food plays a vital part in community health is a passion she has fostered for the past 15 years. Since 2014, in addition to working in the restaurant industry, she has devoted considerable time to SF Bay Area youth in the summers as a chef educator with Cook! Programs, teaching them how to be leaders in their communities through culinary arts. She is excited to be a part of The Bread Project team and the communities we serve!

Lynn Luckow

Chief Development
& Strategy Officer

Lynn Luckow is a senior advisor, consultant, coach, and four-time CEO. He served as President & CEO of Craigslist Foundation, Northern California Grantmakers, and Jossey-Bass Publishers, and more recently LikeMinded, Inc. Over the past four decades he has acquired expertise in and practiced organization leadership, strategy, change, nonprofit governance, philanthropy, education, and youth and adult development. Lynn has served on or consulted to over 50 nonprofit boards, including chairing the national boards of Chanticleer, the Kinsey Institute, Project Open Hand, and National 4-H Council. Currently he serves on the board of Delta Upsilon International Fraternity and on the advisory boards of Project Open Hand, QuarterZero, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards Camp, Smuin Contemporary Ballet, and World Arts West. He has also served in Interim Executive Director roles for Chanticleer, Sunflower Wellness, and The Bread Project in the Bay Area.

Maggie Fry

Employment and Graduate Services Manager

Maggie joined The Bread Project team in 2021. They bring extensive experience in nonprofit program development with a focus in programs supporting whole person well-being. Maggie is a passionate advocate for approaching complex social issues through community-based education and supports. Before the nonprofit world, Maggie worked in academia, developing curriculum and teaching adults across five disciplines. Maggie also loves food(!) and is driven to support and celebrate The Bread Project participants’ discerning careers in the many, exquisite East Bay food communities.

Ivey Williams

Program Services Manager

Ivey Williams is a long-time community activist born and raised in East Oakland California. With nearly 20 years of community activism and small business development practice, he has built strong relationships within economically and socially disadvantaged communities. Ivey’s experience ranges from providing case management service to justice-involved transitional-aged youth to managing employment services for formerly incarcerated adults and unsheltered seniors around the East Bay. As the Program Services Manager, Ivey is committed to delivering socially competent, data-driven services to ensure quality training and job retention for TBP graduates.

The Board of Directors

Scott E. Miller

Board President

Principal, Scott Miller Executive Search

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Richard Golfin III

Board Vice President

Chief Compliance & Privacy Officer
Alameda Alliance for Health

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Jane Micallef

Board Treasurer

Professional & Leadership Development Coach

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Lisa Caronna

Board Secretary

Community Volunteer

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Amy Kirkpatrick

Food Entrepreneur & Co-founder
Too Haute Cowgirls

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Jane Kaplan

Attorney at Law

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Elizabeth Khachigian

Partner, Banking and Finance, Sanchez & Amador LLP

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Michael Rose

Co-Owner, Semifreddi’s Bakery

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Adam Valainis

Managing Partner
Hayden Creek Capital

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The Advisory Council

Clayton Chan

COO, SF Soup Company

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Tom Frainier

CEO & Owner of Semifreddi’s Bakery

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Jill Portman

Food Entrepreneur & Founder of Shake it Up Brands

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