Making the world a better place through delicious events

This week we had the opportunity to sit down with Erin Jackson, founder of Friendly Feast, a nonprofit organization that produces fun food and drink events to benefit the local community. Head to the Friendly Feast website for information on upcoming events!

Erin Jackson

Where do you call home?
A cozy condo downtown that I share with my husband and cat.

What was the first job you felt excited about?
I've been working since age 12, but most jobs were strictly a means to an end. After graduating university, I worked at a broadcast industry nonprofit writing business reports. I loved the independence the work offered and the opportunity to be part of a small, dedicated team. I learned the importance of a work-life balance and that a company's culture is set by those at the top. In many ways, it was the best job I've ever had (until now).

Why and how did Friendly Feast get started?
I decided to take the plunge and launch a fundraising nonprofit after organizing a few successful charity bake sales with professional pastry chefs. My main reason was the events were too much fun not to! My goal is to produce engaging experiences that bring people together to make the world a better place while enjoying delicious food. So far, it's working! Our next one is actually this Sunday. It's our Pop-Up Doughnut Shop: Brunch Edition at Tower 23 Hotel. You can find the details here

We’re always told how great it is to pursue your passion, but we all know it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
No, but that's part of the fun. Nothing worth doing is easy, and mistakes, setbacks, and frustrations are all great learning opportunities. It's a matter of perspective. Failure is a feature of pursuing your passion, not a bug.

What advice would you give someone that wants to pursue a side project?
Research is step one. Step two is more research. Before you quit your job or invest any money, figure out what it will take to make things happen, including boring stuff like paperwork, filing fees, licenses, start-up costs, and sorting out any legal issues. It will be overwhelming and empowering at the same time. In the end, if you realize a particular goal is ultimately out of reach, don't give up on the dream entirely. Instead, look for another angle for how you can put your skills and interests into action.

What would you like to see yourself doing in 5 years?
I'd love to secure a corporate sponsor that would provide funding for me to launch some of the events I've created, like the Chef-Driven Bake Sale, Pop-Up Doughnut Shop, or 10 Perfect Bites, to other cities in California (especially San Francisco!).

Chrissy Gray