New Greenhouse Bolsters Meals for Shelter and Housing

By Giving List Staff   |   October 13, 2023

Shelter and supportive housing programs at Homeward Bound of Marin will serve more just-picked vegetables in the coming months, thanks to a new greenhouse donated by Bank of America employees.

The surprise gift got its first seeds this week. Bank employees donated the greenhouse after a recent day of volunteering in the nonprofit’s 26-row garden, where they learned the existing greenhouse had outlived its life span.

More than 1,500 seeds can be incubated at a time in the new greenhouse. Produce from the garden saves an estimated $300 per week on food costs for Homeward Bound of Marin, the county’s chief provider of shelter and support services for homeless families and adults.

“The unveiling of Homeward Bound of Marin’s greenhouse shows the power of community connections and volunteerism,” said Jason Foster, president, Bank of America North Bay. “Not only will Homeward Bound soon be able to produce more fruits and vegetables for Marin County residents who utilize their services, they’ll save money doing it– this is a win-win for everyone.”

“The connection with our Bank of America volunteers has been really strong. They picked up on the need for a greenhouse and responded with a totally amazing donation that promises many harvests to come,” said Mary Kay Sweeney, co-Chief Executive Officer for Homeward Bound of Marin. “We are so grateful for this support and their concern for our community.”

The garden was founded in 2000, when Homeward Bound of Marin opened an adjacent 80-bed shelter at the former Hamilton Army Airfield in Novato. A full-time garden supervisor works with volunteers to maintain the garden year-round.

Donations of seeds and young plants sustain the garden, but using seeds became difficult as the existing greenhouse fell into disrepair after more than a decade of use. 

The produce goes into meals made onsite by staff and graduates of Homeward Bound’s Fresh Starts Culinary Academy, which are delivered to shelter and housing programs around the county. Vegetables from the garden include kale, cabbage, onions, tomatoes, green beans, peppers and herbs.

Trainees in the 10-week culinary program also use the vegetables in their lessons and some goes into dishes made for The Key Room, an onsite event venue that operates as a social enterprise.

With a gift of $1,800, you can cover the cost for a full week of nutritious meals, accommodation and compassionate support services for someone making a new start with Homeward Bound of Marin. Please contact Development Director Corry Kanzenberg at or (415) 382-3363 ext. 216 with questions about other ways to support our programs.


Homeward Bound of Marin

Donate now!
(415) 382-3363 x216
Development Director: Corry Kanzenberg


Our mission of “opening doors to safety, dignity, hope and independence” is coupled with a vision that “everyone deserves a place to call home.” Founded with a single family shelter in 1974, Homeward Bound has evolved to become a leading force in ending homelessness in Marin County. Services include counseling, job training, and workshops on parenting, credit repair, money management and other life skills. Fresh Starts Culinary Academy forms the heart of our training program and ties closely to our social enterprise ventures.

Begin to Build a Relationship

We know you care about where your money goes and how it is used. Connect with this organization’s leadership in order to begin to build this important relationship. Your email will be sent directly to this organization’s Director of Development and/or Executive Director.

My mom worked three jobs and we often counted on food banks. I always worked in restaurants since I was a teenager. Even when my husband and I had our own business, it helped stretch the budget with our kids. When the wildfires happened, everything shut down – my job disappeared. It was my chance to go to Fresh Starts Culinary Academy at Homeward Bound, which I knew about but I never had the time. Even though I had a lot of experience, there was so much that I gained. It was life-changing for me.
Janin Harmon
Executive Chef at Mary Isaak Center
and 2018 graduate of Fresh Starts Culinary Academy

Help Open Homes for Heroes

Building new apartments for 24 unhoused veterans in Novato is the latest campaign by Homeward Bound of Marin in its quest to end homelessness in Marin County.

That goal has never been more urgent, with the National Library of Medicine noting the average lifespan of an unhoused person is 17.5 years shorter than that of the general population. 

“It just got to be real hard,” says Andrew, a veteran who received help from the organization. “If Homeward Bound wasn’t there, I probably wouldn’t be here anymore.” 

With a gift of $1,860, you can provide a month of accommodation and support for a veteran, senior, or other individual facing the crisis of homelessness. 

Your gift of $25,000 helps complete the new housing for veterans, with naming rights for one of 24 apartments scheduled to open in 2024. 

Your gift of $1,000,000 includes the exclusive opportunity to name the veterans building.

Key Supporters

BioMarin Pharmaceutical
Built for Zero
Catalyst Kitchens
Chef John Ash
Chef Heidi Krahling
Chef Joanne Weir
County of Marin
Disabled American Veterans
Charitable Service Trust
Dominican Sisters of San Rafael
Sammy Hagar
Harbor Point Charitable Foundation
The Hellman Foundation
The Jacques Pépin Foundation
Marin Charitable
Marin Community Foundation
Peter E. Haas Jr. Family Fund
Tamalpais Pacific
Valley Oak Wealth Management