For the EVOLution of Business

Building Inclusive Prosperity One Neighborhood At A Time with Calvin Eaton of 540WMain

Episode Summary

"To build wealth in a community, especially one predominated by people of color...money is not the only thing we need from each other. We need effort, we need equity, we need energy." In 2016, Calvin Eaton founded the grassroots non-profit “Communiversity” 540WMain Community Learning Academy (www.540westmain.org) with a commitment to enrich the Susan B. Anthony Preservation district as well as connect greater Rochester to the neighborhood through art & wellness courses, programs, and events. Tune in to this episode to learn about how Calvin is working to revitalize communities one neighborhood at a time both through classes that enhance wellness and by inviting growth through challenging conversations.

Episode Notes

Calvin Eaton aka "The Gluten-Free Chef" is a freelance educator, digital content creator, and social entrepreneur with over six years of experience as a professional freelancer, whole foods chef, food blogger, K-12 and adult educator and published author. He launched (www.theglutenfreechefblog.com) in 2012; which has since grown into a holistic health and wellness community with international readership and a large social media platform.

In 2016 Eaton founded the grassroots non-profit “Communiversity” 540WMain Community Learning Academy (www.540westmain.org) with a commitment to enrich the Susan B. Anthony Preservation district as well as connect greater Rochester to the neighborhood through art & wellness courses, programs, and events. As a professional Mr. Eaton’s areas of expertise include social media and digital content creation, food blogging and recipe development, antiracism, diversity, inclusion, K-12 curriculum writing and teaching, and higher education.

[1:30] Starting the Gluten-Free Chef Blog based on personal health challenges

[4:00] Moving back to Rochester and shifting his perception of the city

[6:00] Starting 540WMain to "Be The Change"

[13:00] The EVOLution from a cooperative after-school model to "Communiversity"
"To build wealth in a community, especially one predominated by people of color...money is not the only thing we need from each other, we need effort, we need equity, we need energy."

[17:30] Getting a kickstart from a KIVA Rochester interest-free loan
Learn more at www.cityofrochester.gov/Kiva/

[22:00] Classes at 540 W Main: Arts, Gardening, Historic Preservation, Diversity/Inclusion, Sustainability

[24:30] New partnership with "540 At the Yards" in the Public Market District

[26:25] Growing the mission with a "communiversity template" to serve underserved communities

[27:45] Wellness is multifaceted - Recognizing the need to have classes on difficult conversations around diversity and inclusion

[32:00] How to broaden the audience to invite them in to difficult conversations
"We're not trying to belittle anyone, we're trying to uplift everyone."

[36:00] Encouraging Rochester businesses to participate in positive change by taking on interns

[36:50] Consulting for schools and organizations trying to become more inclusive

[40:00] Calvin's personal journey as a person, a teacher and a social entrepreneur:
The Empowerment Coach: www.jahmadkelly.ontrapages.com/booking
Leadership Rochester: www.leadershiprochester.org/
Byron Fellowship: www.byronfellowship.org/

[43:30] The future of 540WMain