An Exciting Time for ReThreaded

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 It’s been an exciting few years for Rethreaded and its indefatigable leader, Kristin Keen.

Rethreaded offers survivors of human trafficking a safe, supportive work environment where they can earn money while learning a skill and experiencing continued healing through community.

In 2021, Rethreaded burst forth from its modest roots off Beaver Street and moved into the Delores Barr Weaver Campus of Hope, opening a world of possibilities for the survivors and the treasured community business.

The Community Foundation has supported Rethreaded since its early days, when Keen was helped by TCF’s Kathleen Shaw, Senior Vice President, Program and Initiatives.

“I had never written a grant proposal before, and Kathleen came to my rescue,” Keen remembers. “Thanks to Kathleen’s help, Delores Barr Weaver took a chance on us when we were only a year and a half in, and it was her endorsement that allowed us to begin fundraising more steadily. We began to grow.”

Mrs. Weaver’s first gift funded a position at Rethreaded for three years. That hire, Jason Jones, stayed at Rethreaded and today is the President and Chief Operating Officer.

A marquee investment for sure, but Keen also remembers another early gift from Mrs. Weaver’s fund that was very important.

“Air conditioning!,” she laughed. “It changed how our employees felt about coming to work. We were no longer battling the high heat and humidity, and it allowed us to stay open year-round.”

Rethreaded had sorely outgrown its first home, and needed a larger, more productive space to realize its mission.

Keen had a vision of such a facility, but had never launched a building campaign, so once again she turned to Kathleen Shaw for guidance.

“Kathleen is so calm, so steady and so wise,” she noted. “She walks me through things. She has just been steady, steady, steady for me. She’s as much a part of Rethreaded as anyone else.”

The building campaign took off when the Delores Barr Weaver Legacy Fund offered a $600,000 challenge grant toward the purchase of a property in the Talleyrand area; Rethreaded was required to raise an additional $900,000 to unlock the matching funds. Keen and her team were able to fulfill the challenge, and the Delores Barr Weaver Campus of Hope was opened in 2021. The new building, with its endless possibilities, was theirs.

Another early champion for Rethreaded was the Women’s Giving Alliance, a TCF initiative. WGA’s mission is to improve the lives of women and girls, and Rethreaded benefitted from WGA’s focus. They made a large investment in Rethreaded in 2015.

“Suddenly we had 350 women on our side,” Keen said. “I remember thinking, ‘these women are going to change the game’ and they did. WGA has helped us grow, and they have grown along with us. They are some of my favorite people to work with on grants because they trust us.”

WGA made another large investment in Rethreaded in 2020, and chose Rethreaded’s new Delores Barr Weaver Campus of Hope to celebrate the collective giving group’s 20th anniversary in 2021.

There’s more in store for Rethreaded, which recently bought Amelia Toffee and hopes to move the confection’s manufacturing on-site with the addition of an industrial kitchen. Rethreaded is also working on local housing initiatives alongside James Coggin, TCF’s Senior Director, Grantmaking and Impact Investing.

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