GIFT nonprofit takes action to save Ruby Jean’s Juicery

Three months after founding, G.I.F.T. hits the ground running with its debut $10,000 donation to Ruby Jean’s Juicery
Ruby Jean's Kansas City / Photo Travis Young

Ruby Jean’s Kitchen and Juicery located on 3000 Troost Ave, Kansas City, MO. // Photo by Travis Young.

What started as a Facebook post may have saved one area juicery from closing its doors forever.

Generating Income for Tomorrow, an organization founded after a Facebook post in May, announced its first $10,000 donation to Ruby Jean’s Juicery on August 11. 

Founded back in May, G.I.F.T. has been reaching out to area businesses to see what problems need addressing. Their mission is to invest in Black-owned businesses located in low-income areas of Kansas City. 

Enter Ruby Jean’s Juicery. Faced with reduced revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the establishment was at risk of losing all three of its storefront locations. The $10,000 donation will help the establishment keep its doors open and staff working, G.I.F.T. Executive Director Brandon Calloway said.

“They had to close down two of their three locations and drastically reduce staff at their main Troost location,” Calloway said. “The revenue was much, much, much lower, and [owner Chris Goode] was in trouble of having to close one of his locations, and potentially all, because of falling behind on their rents.”

Though their downtown location has closed, the grant has allowed Ruby Jean’s doors to stay open at its central 30th and Troost location and Whole Foods kiosk. The juicery has remained operational for five years, the make or break point for some businesses.

“To be faced with a global pandemic at the 5-year mark, with this really real possibility of losing everything, they were very grateful and it felt very timely for us to be there with them and helping them figure this out,” Calloway said.

G.I.F.T.’s work isn’t ending there. Their initial success with Ruby Jean’s has inspired local and national enterprises and residents to donate to the grassroots effort to keep KC’s Black-owned businesses going, Calloway said.

“People are excited, and not necessarily at the idea or fact that we gave it to Ruby Jean’s,” Calloway said. “They’re excited for the fact that we started three months ago, and we’re able to do what we said we were going to do. We’re not continuing to just talk, and talk, and talk. We’re actually able to take action and people are very happy and very supportive of that.”

The nonprofit plans to continue distributing one grant a month, hoping to raise the amount to up to $50,000 by April 2021. As support grows, their ability to have a larger impact grows as well. 

You know what they said, if you want something done right, do it yourself. G.I.F.T. is doing just that.

Categories: Food & Drink, News