Food from the 'Hood

Babson Professor Natalie Taylor, Case Director

Dan D'Heilly and Melinda McMullen, Case Writers

Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship

© Babson College, 1995. All Rights Reserved.


This case deals with the creation of a food cooperative, Food From the 'Hood, by two social entrepreneurs and a group of inner-city high school students in Los Angeles shortly after the "LA Riots" in 1992. The riots occurred when white police officers were acquitted of beating black motorist Rodney King, in spite of a video tape recording of the beating.

This case follows the group as they attempt to launch a non-profit organization at Crenshaw High School. One of the social entrepreneurs is a Crenshaw High School science teacher, the other is a very successful PR executive, Melinda McMullen. The case highlights the dilemmas faced by Melinda, which culminate when her boss says that she must leave her job, or stop her work with Food From the 'Hood.

This case deals with opportunity recognition, career-building, and the place of non-profit activities in a successful career, cause-related marketing, and how public relations can build something against long odds. In addition it deals with differences between non-profit and for-profit perspectives, issues surrounding the decision to become an entrepreneur, and gender and race issues. It is best used in courses that focus on non-profits and social entrepreurship.

Location of the company: Los Angeles, California

Year(s) spanned by the case: 1992 through 1993

Industry segment(s): Non-profit and retail food

Stage of the company: Start-up

Age of the entrepreneur(s): 30s


A 45-minute DVD is available for this case. It is a presentation to Babson MBA students by the case principal, Melinda McMullen. Please place video orders through the Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship.

Teaching Notes

A six page case teaching package, written by Ken Parker and Dan D'Heilly, is available for this case. The teaching package includes strategies for case presentation, key concepts, solutions to the assignment questions in the case, and suggestions for the most effective ways to work