The Prospect KC’s Second Annual Gumbo Fest, a Party with a Purpose initiative inspired by “The Gumbo Coalition,” a book by Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League and former mayor of New Orleans, kicks off Sunday at noon in Kansas City’s Historic 18th & Vine Jazz District. Prospect KC Founder/Executive Director Shanita McAfee-Bryant says “Marc’s book sparked an idea with me when I read it. He uses gumbo to sum up a philosophy of adaptation through struggle and applies it to leadership and community development. “We’re applying “The Gumbo Coalition” ideology to our own mission with Gumbo Fest. The event celebrates the revitalization of the financially disinvested Eastside and speaks of the hope for the future.”
The Gumbo Fest supports The Prospect KC’s mission and is an opportunity to enjoy gumbos made by local celebrity chefs and teams in a fun festival atmosphere in the Historic18th & Vine Jazz District.
Shanita McAfee-Bryant, a Kansas City native and a civic-minded chef, founded The Prospect KC in 2019. She fell in love with cooking as a teen and went on to receive her professional culinary training at Johnson County Community College. She created and owned a restaurant and competed on The Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen.” McAfee-Bryant is a board member of Harvesters, Kansas City’s food bank, serving 26 counties and more than 800 agencies, and a board member of the Greater KC Food Policy Coalition, NourishKC and Lazarus Ministries KC.
McAfee-Bryant was selected to attend the James Beard Foundation’s Chef Bootcamp for Policy and Change, a unique opportunity for civically and politically minded chefs to mobilize the support for policy decisions that impact our food system. In October 2022, Chef Shanita attended the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, the first such gathering in more than half a century, at the invitation of U.S. Representative Emanuel Cleaver. Additionally, she was selected for the new Launch KC Social Venture Studio, which offers professional support, grant awards, and network connections designed to strengthen individual business concepts. Chef Shanita has been honored with the Urban Hero Award 2023, a lifetime achievement award is presented annually by the Downtown Council to leaders whose vision, guidance, and commitment have helped set Downtown Kansas City on a path for revitalization.
Chef Shanita is among 18 employment social enterprise leaders from across the country chosen by leading venture philanthropy REDF (the Roberts Enterprise Development Fund) to participate in its second cohort of the 2023 REDF Accelerator.
host/producer/engineer: Donna Morrow Wolfe