Founder, President & CEO
Recipe for Success Foundation
Motto: “Forward until apprehended,” Oft used phrase: “I have an idea.”
Gracie Cavnar believes that you can do anything you put your mind to, and she’s spent a lifetime proving it. Once she makes up her mind, it’s a done deal. The San Antonio native put herself through school parading down the catwalk and vamping for fashion photographers. Perhaps her ease under the scrutiny of cameras from such an early age is what set the stage for a fearless existence. Forever curious, afflicted with the perfectionist gene, and easily bored, her professional life wandered oe the runway and across a broad landscape of creativity—architect, hospitality executive and consultant, caterer, event planner, public relations wiz, marketing rainmaker, and widely read feature writer—one career leading seamlessly to another over thirty years. Along the way, she raised children, learned French, painted, gardened, traveled, entertained on micro and macro scale around the world, shot photos, dabbled in graphics, designed the occasional ensemble and raised millions of dollars for charities and progressive politicians across Texas.
In 1998 a news item about vending machines in elementary schools caught her eye. Incensed at the volume of marketing dollars assaulting unsuspecting children, she focused on removing junk vending from schools in Texas—an initiative that was successful. During that process, Gracie learned about the widespread epidemic of childhood obesity and the astounding eeect it was having on American lives and wallets, and adjusted her energies to obesity prevention through nutrition education. She spent years researching best practices around the world before launching Recipe for Success Foundation (RFS) in 2005 to change the way children understand, appreciate and eat their food.
After nearly ten years on the ground and 30,000+ children taught, Recipe for Success Foundation is the largest initiative of its kind in the country and has attracted attention from many activists, the White House and national press. Its signature Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ program, now available through a network of Affiliate Partner schools, is in demand from coast to coast. Her annual public service campaigns: the VegOut! Challenge and farmers marKIDS days designed to raise awareness, normalize the concept of healthy eating and drive behavioral change in every age group are catching fire throughout the country. In the meantime, the RFS programs in Houston are spilling out to elementary schools all over town and her vision for Hope Farms™, an ambitious urban agricultural project and the Rolling Green Market that provides aeordable produce in food deserts and trains a new generation of farmers, is taking root in the neartown neighborhood of Sunnyside. Gracie donates her time as CEO and manages every aspect of the organization.
And that’s just one part of her vision for Recipe for Success Foundation. She is penning a sequel to her first award winning book, “Eat It! Food Adventures with Marco Polo” – a combination adventure story and cookbook for kids, and is in pre-production with PBS on a television series of the same name.
As former Houston Mayor Bill White says, “Gracie Cavnar can get things done.”