MISSOULA – The Rapier Family Foundation has pledged $200,000 toward Missoula College’s Culinary Arts Program.
The gift will equip the program’s production kitchen, where students learn food processing and manufacturing with the latest restaurant-grade equipment and tools. The production kitchen is part of the new Missoula College facility nearing completion on East Broadway.
“The Rapier Family Foundation’s gift will help our award-winning program grow even stronger, allowing our students to learn the full range of culinary arts skills to prepare them for jobs in the industry,” said Shannon O’Brien, dean of Missoula College.
Since its inception in 1967, Missoula College has trained the region’s workforce and helped students take an important step toward a lifetime career. In the past three years, 95 to 100 percent of food service management graduates found jobs upon completing the program.
The family foundation’s gift will have a double impact: in a unique partnership, a portion of the food canned, dried and frozen in the production kitchen will stock the shelves at Missoula Food Bank.
“The partnership with the Culinary Arts Program holds a great deal of promise for our food bank,” said Aaron Brock, executive director of Missoula Food Bank. “More high-quality, nutritious food to stock our shelves will help us meet the growing need for food assistance in our neighborhoods and create a stronger relationship between our food bank – which serves one in six people in Missoula County – and Missoula College, a dynamic educational institution.”
Founded by George Rapier III and his wife, Kym, the Rapier Family Foundation supports child welfare, human services, environmental and education organizations in several locations nationwide, including Montana. This is their first donation to Missoula College.
“When a current culinary arts student who is passionate about cooking and helping others asked my husband, George, and me to donate to the training kitchen, we were excited,” Kym Rapier said. “We are pleased that our contribution will expand the culinary facility and make curricular connections to Missoula Food Bank, promoting a mission to help the food insecure.”
The new Missoula College building will open fall 2017.