Celebrating second chances at EDWINS

Brandon Chrostowski and EDWINS staff

You may be familiar with the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards – the ceremony honoring this year’s winning authors will take place later this week – but the book prize isn’t the only award with the Anisfield-Wolf legacy. Visionary Cleveland philanthropist Edith Anisfield Wolf also established the Anisfield-Wolf Memorial Award when she entrusted her funds to the Cleveland Foundation. Each year, the Anisfield-Wolf Memorial Award, administered by the Center for Community Solutions, recognizes a Greater Cleveland nonprofit organization for outstanding service to the community. This year, the $25,000 prize goes to EDWINS Leadership and Restaurant Institute.

At first glance, EDWINS could be mistaken as for-profit, fine dining restaurant – but a closer look reveals a deeper mission. EDWINS Leadership and Restaurant Institute offers fine French cuisine to patrons of its white tablecloth restaurant on Shaker Square. For currently and formerly incarcerated individuals, EDWINS offers a second chance in life.

EDWINS founder Brandon Chrostowski, named a CNN Hero in 2016, learned the value of a second chance as a teenager when he was given one year of probation for charges that could have landed him in prison for ten years. Now, he strives to give others an opportunity for redemption through the culinary arts and hospitality industry. The institute provides culinary, hospitality and managerial training through a six-month program at its restaurant and a nine-month program inside Grafton Correctional Institution. In addition to training, EDWINS supports students and their families by providing basic health care, legal aid, literacy programs, transportation and employment. The wraparound services provided by the institute have helped more than 127 individuals successfully re-enter society following incarceration. Since the institute launched in 2013, its graduates have achieved a 0% recidivism rate and 97% have found a job within 30 days of completing the program.

EDWINS Leadership and Restaurant Institute’s commitment to serving the most vulnerable members of our community mirrors the ethos of Edith Anisfield Wolf, and we are thrilled to see its work honored with the Anisfield-Wolf Memorial Award this year. EDWINS will be recognized at the Center for Community Solutions’ Celebration of Human Services event on October 21. More information and registration is available here.