Brian: I came into play in the early 2000s. Lee and I were Farber fellows through REDF. At the time, we were helping Juma develop a social enterprise incubator. They were looking to expand by helping other entrepreneurs kick off social enterprises with youth employment. Our company, Evergreen Lodge, was the first business in the incubator. We realized that lodging was our way to go. We wanted to help teens by giving them a job in Yosemite, away from the things that were holding them back here in the city. Juma became the model that guided us the whole way as we developed our program.
Lee: My first interaction with Juma happened in 1994, when they were running a couple of ice cream shops. Back then, they were trying to rethink a better business model to work with young people. The idea of having baseball stadiums’ concessions aroused, and I was brought in to create the business plan for that, negotiate the contract with The Giants and run the ballpark operation during the first season. It was a fully hands-on experience.