Shop the Catalyst Gift Guide for great gifts with big impact. Learn more

Press Release


Cafe_Momentum_Nashville_082521-288 - website
Credit: Jason Mallory


Youth of Davidson County Juvenile Center Cooked and Served Five-Course Meal to Community Leaders

NASHVILLE – On Wednesday, August 25, Café Momentum, a Dallas-based nonprofit restaurant that provides 12-month paid internships to young people exiting the juvenile justice system, hosted an invite-only pop-up dinner at Saint Stephen restaurant that brought community leaders together to engage in much-needed conversations about juvenile justice.

The event, led by parent company Momentum Advisory Collective (M.A.C.), with support from Stand Together Foundation, celebrated Café Momentum’s expansion to Nashville ahead of its new location opening in Music City early next year.

“We’re committed to supporting and providing opportunities to justice-involved youth in Nashville,” said Chad Houser, CEO and founder of Café Momentum and M.A.C. “We’re excited to not only bring our program and restaurant to Music City, but also to inspire important conversations and systemic change. This pop-up dinner is a meaningful step toward transforming the way the community approaches juvenile justice. These young men and women matter and will rise to any challenge you put in front of them.”

Partnering with the best of the best in the culinary world, Café Momentum pop-up dinners train justice-involved youth to cook and cater an event designed to change hearts and minds while starting important community conversations about juvenile justice in this country. Café Momentum’s mission is to partner with community leaders in Nashville and beyond to scale a new model for juvenile justice based off their success in Dallas.

Renowned Nashville-based chef, RJ Cooper, welcomed Café Momentum to Nashville by donating all the food and beverage for the dinner.

The night began with opening remarks from Judge Sheila Calloway and Abigale Jasinsky, Deputy Director of Policy for Governor Bill Lee. They shared more about Café Momentum’s mission and innovative restaurant model and explained that juvenile justice reform is an issue that both parties must support.

“Youth incarceration in this country is a pandemic,” said Rokeisha Bryant, Nashville Executive Director of Café Momentum. “In Davidson County, too many young people are placed into the gripping cycle of incarceration on an annual basis. We look forward to providing confidence and motivation to Nashville’s most marginalized youth, giving them the chance to become successful citizens.”

Stand Together Foundation partners with the most effective nonprofit organizations across the country to create strong and safe communities where everyone can realize their full potential. In 2020, Stand Together Foundation invested $1.9 million to support M.A.C.’s efforts to scale their successful juvenile justice model across the country.

“Stand Together Foundation is proud to team up with Café Momentum and M.A.C. to empower young men and women to improve their lives and contribute to the lives of others,” said Evan Feinberg, executive director of Stand Together Foundation. “We believe in these young people and their limitless potential. Their success underlines the need for every community to reimagine the justice system in a way that provides second chances and opportunity.”


  • A group of 10 young men and women from EPIC GirlYAP (Youth Advocacy Program)YOI (Youth Opportunity Investment) and Davidson County Juvenile Center cooked and served a five-course meal. A few menu highlights included: geoduck clam fritter canapes, a main course of guinea fowl, and silver queen corn panna cotta for dessert.
  • Influential business, nonprofit, and government leaders attended the dinner to take part in much-needed conversation about juvenile justice. Notable guests included:
    • Brandon Taylor, Nashville Metro Council Member 
    • Cheryl Mayes, Director of Operations and Finance for Office of Rep. Jim Cooper 
    • Darren Goods, Deputy Commissioner of Juvenile Justice at the Department of Children’s Services
    • David Imhof, Inspector at the Metro Nashville Police Department’s Office of Alternative Policing Strategies 
    • Jennifer Nichols, Commissioner of the Department of Children’s Services
    • Jerri Manning, former Deputy Public Defender
    • Jim Cooper, U.S. House of Representatives 
    • John Buntin, Director of Policy, Office of Mayor John Cooper
    • Joshua Kraft, President of Kraft Family Philanthropies 
    • Lonnell Matthews, Juvenile Court Clerk
    • Marshall Goldberg, Executive Producer of “Justice, USA”
    • Martesha Johnson, Nashville Metropolitan Chief Public Defender
    • Megan Barry, former Mayor of Nashville
    • Ron Johnson, Nashville Community Safety Coordinator
    • Ronnie Steine, former Vice Mayor of Nashville
  • Guests enjoyed special musical performances from Nashville-based singer-songwriters Tim Foust and Emerson Hart, lead singer of Tonic.
  • Chef Cooper gifted each intern with $100 gift cards to dine at Saint Stephen.


About Café Momentum
Café Momentum is a Dallas-based restaurant and culinary training facility that transforms young lives by equipping our community’s most at-risk youth with life skills, education, and employment opportunities to help them achieve their full potential. To learn more, visit

About the Momentum Advisory Collective
The Momentum Advisory Collective (M.A.C.), parent of company of Café Momentum, builds programs that expand opportunity and enable system-involved youth to reach their full potential with the holistic support of their community. To learn more, visit

About Stand Together Foundation
Stand Together Foundation partners with hundreds of nonprofit organizations across the country to fuel their innovation, expand their reach, and amplify their impact to ultimately help more people through bottom-up human empowerment. Stand Together Foundation is dedicated to solving our country’s biggest problems by fundamentally changing the way we address them. To learn more, visit

Share this content

Join our community of changemakers.