Hartford's struggling Frog Hollow community

When the Melville Charitable Trust first invested in the Firebox Restaurant in Hartford’s Frog Hollow neighborhood, its goal was to provide one more source of employment, income, stability, and pride to the struggling community.  Working with Billings Forge Community Works (BFCW), a nonprofit responsible for the development and management of the Trust’s projects and programs in Frog Hollow, it achieved its goal and more. The Trust’s investment of $1 million - through a combination of loans (Program Related Investments) and grants - has enabled Firebox and the related farm-to-table programs at BFCW to create over 40 positions, 18 of which are full- time. These jobs include executive chef, station chef, sous chef, waiters, hosts, bartenders and dishwashers.  In total, Firebox has employed nearly 50 Frog Hollow residents, many of whom have gone on to other jobs and training in the culinary field. It has served over 35,000 lunches and 85,000 dinners and hosted numerous local special events and fundraisers for local businesses and groups.  No wonder.  Firebox has had rave reviews, two of them from Gourmet Magazine and The New York Times.

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