Community Giving

2013 Giving Back

     2013 has been our most successful year yet for TaKorean, and even as we look forward to amazing growth in 2014, we would like to take a moment and give back. Since our founding we’ve made a strong commitment to local charities by giving %1 of sales to local non-profits. This year we are focusing on three local charities that have a lasting impact on the welfare of the community – with a special focus on children, youths, environment, and food awareness.

     Every member of TaKorean’s staff is passionate about food, for many of us that came from a childhood of schooling at the dinner table where we came to expect whole meals. Whole in the sense that the food was prepared from whole, recognizable foods. With packaged meals appearing as the norm for meals in too many areas of DC, we are proud to support Common Good City Farm in LeDroit Park, the only working farm in all of DC. CGCF not only provides fresh produce to DC residents who otherwise would not be able to afford it – but also educates children from the local community on farming and nutrition. With this donation we hope to help families have nutritious, whole meals year round.

     The Washington Youth Garden, located on the grounds of the National Arboretum is home to an educational garden geared towards young children still forming a love of nature and science. As many children are unable to come to the garden on their own, the WYG sends teachers out to many local elementary schools and brings a Garden Science Program to them. Not only do kids watch the growth of an on-campus garden, but also learn the science behind the growth of seeds and anatomy of insects. Their education is tied to their own lives as they learn basic cooking skills, listen to a bee-keeper’s story of why a queen bee is so vital to nature and plant a bean vine of their own. Our donation will be used this coming year to support this educational program throughout DC.

     Wilderness Leadership & Learning, Inc. is a foundation committed to motivating DC youths to set higher goals for themselves. We are proud to support the Challenge and Ropes Course experiential learning and leadership development program where youths learn teamwork and how to push themselves to realize their full abilities. We know that the leadership and communication skills they will learn in a fun and outdoor environment will help them the rest of their lives. The program is FREE for youths in grades 9-12 – the majority of whom are from wards one, seven and eight and a great opportunity to learn more about their own potential.  Outdoor education makes a lasting impact on the character of young people, we are proud to be involved with this program.

     With the opening of our new location in 2014 we look forward to continuing and growing our donations to the Washington DC community. We are very hopeful for what the new year will bring and thankful for the success we’ve had in 2013.

Happy New Year!

TaKorean at Union Market

As we move into 2013 there is much to reflect on and be grateful for.  2012 was a big year for at Takorean.  We expanded to our first fixed-location establishment at the new artisanal Union Market.  With this growth Takorean has been able to hire more employees, and now we have a solid team who I am tremendously grateful for.

With this new expansion we are also able to provide even more to DC nonprofit organizations!  I am proud to announce that more than 1% of Takorean’s 2012 sales were donated to DC Greenworks and DC Central Kitchen (DCCK).

Born and raised, this place has a special place in my heart, which is why I am always thrilled to learn about organizations that concentrate on improving, maintaining, and preserving the local environment.  DC Greenworks is a progressive organization that seeks to empower residents and neighborhood groups to restore and preserve their communities by providing training, tools, and technologies that utilize, advance, and protect the environment.   They reach these goals by focusing on conserving and reusing our rainwater.  DC Greenworks uses living materials to build green roofs, green walls and rain gardens, as well as rain barrels and cisterns for rainwater capture.  Other initiatives of DC Greenworks are partnering with local schools, urban agriculture, design and construction services for Low Impact Development (LID) projects, and green job training.

I continue to be extremely impressed by DDCK the more I learn from my peers and their events.  I believe DCCK is a perfect example of how a non-profit can operate successfully in the commercial arena by providing job training and long lasting opportunities for unemployed men and women.  Each day 5,000 meals are distributed at little or no cost to 100 nearby homeless shelters, transitional homes and nonprofit organizations, saving them money and nourishing their clients.  Support from Takorean enabled DCCK to purchase a load of local Virginia winter crops – 100 bushels of sweet potatoes (4,000 lbs.) and 100 bushels of collard greens (1,800 lbs.) – which made up for 16,580 servings!

I look forward to hearing about the positive work that DC Greenworks and DC Central Kitchen continue to accomplish in 2013!  I also encourage more business to give back to the community as the efforts and energy of the private sector can tremendously improve the livelihoods of those who are less fortunate and deserve an equal chance.

May this New Year bring all peace, happiness and prosperity!

Warm Regards,


Mike Lenard

The Potomac Riverkeeper

DC Street Food, Inc. and TaKorean are proud to sponsor the Potomac Riverkeeper for the month of December.  I’ve had a chance to learn a lot about the Potomac Riverkeeper in my past career in outdoor retail.  We will donate 1% of gross sales for the month of December to Potomac Riverkeeper.

To put it straight: Potomac Riverkeeper stops polluters. What could be more important to the DC community than to protect its waterways?  There are nearly 5 million people living in the Potomac River watershed, and most of them depend on the Potomac River for drinking water. Additionally, the Potomac River provides scenic trails for hikers, bountiful fish for anglers, and exhilarating rapids for paddlers.

Potomac Riverkeeper, Inc. was established in 2000 by principals from other environmental organizations, including: the Potomac Conservancy, Piedmont Environmental Council, Audubon Naturalist Society, and Sierra Club. The goal was to create a strong advocate, the Potomac Riverkeeper, and enforce existing federal and state laws governing the Potomac watershed and protecting it from exploitation.


Mike Lenard

DC Central Kitchen

TaKorean and DC Street Food, Inc. are very proud to support DC Central Kitchen with 1% of total sales for the month of November 2010.

DC Central Kitchen turns leftover food into millions of meals for thousands of at-risk individuals while offering nationally recognized culinary job training to once homeless and hungry adults.

Their mission is to use food as a tool to strengthen bodies, empower minds, and build communities. Their programs provide a comprehensive continuum of care to the people we serve.

First, they provide breakfast, outreach, and counseling services to chronically homeless people living on the streets.

Next they recycle 3,000 pounds of food each day, converting it into 4,500 meals they distribute to 100 shelters, transitional homes, and rehabilitation clinics throughout the DC area. These partner agencies then refer clients to their Culinary Job Training program, where they receive the tools to start new careers.

They complete the empowerment process by employing our graduates in their full-service catering company or by placing them in full-time jobs at restaurants and hotels throughout the region. Today, DC Central Kitchen is expanding their operations, partnering with local farmers to procure fresh produce and begin new revenue-generating social enterprises.

DC Central Kitchen is such a big part of getting food to the city and turning peoples lives around.  We are proud to support them for November 2010.


Mike Lenard

DC Youth Power Network

I was thrilled last month when a good friend sent me an email suggesting DC Youth Power Network (YPN) for October’s 1% donation. The organization is based around youth power and targets the at-risk population, which is perfectly in line with what our program is trying to promote. YPN, founded in February 2009, is a citywide, broad-based, nonpartisan youth-led power organization. YPN trains and develops young leaders between the ages of 14-24 in Washington, DC to identify community issues and take bold public action to effectively address them. YPN’s purpose is to train young leaders in the craft of organizing for results-oriented long-term power.

One of the most important things you can teach young people from all walks of life is leadership. YPN along with the Washington Interfaith Network (WIN) are organizations that produce real results. In 2010 WIN and YPN undertook citywide organizing efforts to protect the $1 billion Vote Neighborhoods First investment funding during the FY 2011 DC budget process and challenged DC candidates for Mayor and Council to recommit to the WIN Vote Neighborhoods First Agenda during the 2010 Elections. Specifically, WIN and YPN:

• Organized a 900-person WIN/YPN DC Votes Jobs and Neighborhoods First Elections Accountability Action on July 26th where Mayoral candidates Adrian Fenty and Vincent Gray and DC Council Chair Candidates Kwame Brown and Vincent Orange pledged to implement WIN’s 2010 Elections Agenda.
• Distributed 35,000 WIN/YPN nonpartisan voter education brochures to potential DC voters and talked to them about WIN/YPN’s issues on and prior to Primary Election Day.
• 200 WIN and YPN leaders conducted nonpartisan voter outreach on the streets of all eight Wards during Election Day.
• Conducted early voting actions with 70 Latino residents—led by YPN’s youth leaders at Latin American Youth Center—and 90 Returning Citizens (aka “ex-offenders”) as a demonstration of the rising power of these constituencies.

When the youth are directly involved the politics that effect their future, you create leadership, confidence, and a better community. TaKorean and DC Street Food, Inc. is proud to donate 1% of totals sales from October to YPN.

To learn more about WIN’s work, please visit their website:


Mike Lenard
Owner / Operator

Trips for Kids Metro DC

TaKorean (DC Street Food, Inc.) is excited to start our Community Giving program by donating 1% of our total sales for the month of September to Trips for Kids Metro DC (TFK). When I decided to donate 1% of gross sales to local charities, I specifically wanted to contribute to environmental issues and at-risk youth. TFK combines these philosophies perfectly by introducing inner-city at-risk children to the wonders of the outdoors through mountain biking primarily. This experience gives opportunity to well-needed physical exercise, a better understanding of their surrounding environment, a greater appreciation of the nature parks in their own communities and a chance to push their own barriers and overcome obstacles. At the end of an event, they are tired and stand prouder for their accomplishments.

TFK is an award winning organization that focuses on children’s health, environmental responsibility and confidence building. They provide opportunities for children to get outside, be active and enjoy nature while receiving important education and mentoring. Over the past eight years they have created a holistic approach to encouraging youth to be active outdoors by starting a mountain bike race series, becoming involved with the Safe Routes to Schools (SRTS) program and providing classes, camps, festivals, and leading family-friendly bike rides.

Supporting the children in our communities sets the stage for a great quality of life. Whether they are on the trail to school, dirt trail or trail of life TFK provides the opportunity for our children to be healthier and more confident in their abilities. DC Street Food, Inc. is thrilled to support TFK’s program for the month of September 2010 and I encourage our customers to get involved as well at


Mike Lenard

One for DC

Having worked in outdoor specialty retail for over seven years, I was always inspired by Patagonia’s pledge to donate 1% of all sales to environmental causes around the globe.  Patagonia started giving 1% for the planet in 1985, and since then businesses around the world have become involved.  It was an easy decision for me to incorporate that same philosophy into DC Street Food, Inc. and TaKorean locally.  Washington, DC is where I was born and raised, and along with delivering mouthwatering Korean BBQ tacos throughout the city, I’d like to do my part to better the community that has given so much to me throughout my life.

Each month we will blog about our chosen monthly charity in which we are donating at least 1% of our sales.  Over the course of the year we will be able to give back to several different types of charitable organizations, fulfilling our goal of truly giving back to the local community.  We at TaKorean believe that businesses have a responsibility to give back to the communities that give us the opportunity to serve them, and we are more than happy to do our part.  Delicious food and a positive impact on our neighborhoods, our youth, our forests, our waterways, and our people is responsible business.


Mike Lenard