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How Charities Should Work – YGAP and Feast of Merit

Posted by: Patrick Catanzariti on December 4, 2015


What if I told you that there is a restaurant that exists in the heart of Melbourne’s trendy Richmond food district that donates 100% of their profits to young entrepreneurs around Australia and overseas? Would you believe me?

Feast of Merit is a social enterprise, acting as a sustainable form of revenue for YGAP (Y Generation Against Poverty), a charity that sends proceeds to up and coming entrepreneurs in Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ghana, Malawai and Rwanda.

“YGAP is a not for profit organisation that enables and supports young entrepreneurs who have a vision to change their local communities,” Ravi Presser, the Head Chef of Feast of Merit tells me.

“We are strong believers that local people have local solutions to their own local problems, and so YGAP is not inclined to go in there and tell them how to run or better their own communities. We are telling them ‘Oh great what a good idea, let’s go in there and grow it,’ but rather we offer means to help and support with the process.”

Profits from Feast of Merit are sent to impoverished local and overseas communities. The staff are paid, the bills are attended to, and everything is budgeted for, but as Ravi tells me, “at the end of the day someone makes sure that anything left is over is given to those who really need it.”

It’s a unique and innovative way of keeping people engaged and raising social awareness, rather than more traditional ways of collecting donations.

“We all like to drink good coffee and we all like to eat good food, so why don’t we just turn that whole business on its head and put all the profits from this business to the charity,” Ravi explains.

Important to YGAP is keeping administration costs low. “Over 80% of all money raised will actually go to the field, which is really important.”

More recently, YGAP has been focusing on helping Australians through their “Accelerator Course.”

YGAP has about five Australian businesses on board, helping out impoverished and disadvantaged communities in their own localities.

“It is all about the cycle,” Ravi tells me.

“It’s a really engaging and inspiring model to work with, and for me as a chef I can do what I do, I am a chef, I cook, I produce food, but at the same time I am giving back to my community, making my job so much more meaningful rather than making some person richer.”

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