Introducing Impact Giving Partner, Caterina Richards! From leading one of Impact Giving’s Grant Recipients, Bracken’s Kitchen, to participating in her church’s worship team, Caterina has made a huge impact on her local community.
Let’s start at the beginning. Caterina was born and raised in the beautiful city of Hong Kong. As a young teenager, she moved to San Francisco with her family to be with her grandfather after she spent 6 years in a convent prior as a young girl. Caterina then moved to Los Angeles to pursue a degree in Industrial Design at Cal State Long Beach, followed by her advanced education in Marketing and Brand Management from Cal Poly.
After graduating, Caterina owned a tech business that focused on LED lighting technology development for 20 years. She appreciated that light goes everywhere and lives by a personal mantra of “Let there be light.” Along the way, Caterina met her husband, Doug Richards during a hike at ‘The Bridge to Nowhere’ in the Los Angeles area and brought 3 cats into their family.
A few years ago, Caterina met Bill Bracken of local Orange County nonprofit and past Impact Giving grant recipient, Bracken’s Kitchen. After hearing the story of Bracken’s Kitchen, Caterina had a moment of reflection and realized it was the perfect time for a change in her life. She had heard of the organization before and decided to begin volunteering a few times a week.
Caterina loves to cook and so that is where she started with Bracken’s Kitchen. Helping prep gourmet food deliveries to the community in need in their shared kitchen for a couple of years led to Caterina being offered a full time position with their team as Director of Operations. Caterina immediately said ‘yes’ because she was looking to do something more meaningful in her life and Bracken’s Kitchen felt right. Bill Bracken and Caterina aspire to replicate the model they have built here and replicate it around the world in order to help people globally.
One of her favorite parts about the nonprofit is their ability to save the planet from food waste by reallocating the resources into meals for those in need. In Caterina’s words, “it is a beautiful marriage of work” and “breaking bread with people helps you communicate.”
Caterina enjoys being able to dedicate all of her skill sets towards running a nonprofit business. It takes trial and tribulations, but as a minority, woman business owner for the past 20 years had given her the opportunity to learn and help run the growing nonprofit. All of her past training and success has allowed her to be where she is here and now. She says that working with people in a more social setting makes life so much more colorful. “Air and food are the two basic human needs. Air is free, food is not. Lifting up someone’s life and bridge gaps between people with food is the most rewarding,” says Caterina.
In addition to Bracken’s Kitchen, Caterina takes part in her church’s worship team and is actively serves as a leader at the church. She is a classically trained singer and has recently formed a jazz band with her friends. Caterina volunteers at pet stores, enjoys sailing, loves to paint watercolor and acrylic, and goes hiking in her spare time.
After meeting many Impact Giving Partners over the past few years, Caterina decided to join Impact Giving recently due to their dedication to help nonprofits like Bracken’s Kitchen throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. She likes that all the Partners are like minded, generous, and open to share experiences during the process. Caterina looks to join a grant committee this grant season and sponsor organizations in the future.
Caterina looks to continue her current mission within the nonprofit sector, become a mentor to others, and provide more service to the community. We are so excited to have her as part of our team!