Who we are
It’s something many of us enjoy but aren’t always able to do: having the time, basic knowledge, or all the “right things” to cook simple, healthful meals and snacks to enjoy with family. As we eat, we are not only nourished by the food itself, but also by the conversation shared over the table with loved ones. Yet for too many families in America, cooking a healthy meal with fresh ingredients seems too expensive, time-consuming, or simply too overwhelming for a variety of reasons. One of our goals is to take away those notions and provide real solutions.
Common Threads takes an innovative approach through both in-person and on-demand virtual cooking and nutrition education classes taught by trained chefs, as well as providing training on our curriculum to caregivers, educators, and healthcare professionals.
Common Threads is a national nonprofit that supports food as medicine. We inspire communities to embrace healthy cooking, healthy eating and the celebration of culture by providing children, families and educators with hands-on cooking and nutrition education classes.
Common Threads aspires to reach every community through the power of cooking and food as medicine
Common Threads is a passionate team of problem solvers and learners driven by the desire to help build healthy, self-sustaining communities. Our approach is earnest, but not always conventional. We are intentional, but also entrepreneurial. Our work is experiential, with a desire for our lessons to complement and enhance learning. We are proud of our work, and humbled to be a part of communities across the country.
We celebrate diversity of culture with a global perspective on food, act with humility, and embrace the strengths, creativity and differences of all individuals.
We invest in research and evaluation to build evidence of our programs’ influence and contributions within the communities we serve.
We are continuously improving our strategies, programs and decision-making based on the data and feedback we receive.
We celebrate our teams who bring a variety of strengths and perspectives, working together to build a culture and relationships that will expand our reach through valued community partnerships.
Meet Our CEO & Co-Founder
Linda Novick O’Keefe
Co-Founder & CEO
Linda Novick O’Keefe is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Common Threads. Under her leadership, Common Threads has grown its in-school, after-school, teacher and provider training, and family programming to more than 750 schools and community partner sites in 10 major U.S. cities, teaching 600,000 children, parents and educators what it means to cook for life.
From Common Threads’ inception, Linda prioritized developing nutrition education programs designed to achieve real behavior change. She is a champion of rigorous evaluation and external collaboration with academic experts. By creating a scaled and sustainable program, Linda has provided a platform for innovation in nutrition education.
Linda has been a Kellogg School of Management Board Governance Fellowship Mentor and served on the Building a Healthier Chicago Task Force. She was the recipient of the Anti-Defamation League’s Rising Star Award, was featured by Today’s Chicago Woman as one of 100 Women Making a Difference, was included as one of Clean Plates Moms on a Mission and was a 2018 SWSX Community Service Award Honoree.
She currently serves on the Smithsonian’s Kitchen Cabinet and as a Babson College Social Innovation Fellow. Linda has her Executive Education Certificate, Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management, from Harvard University; her master’s degree in Public Service Management from DePaul University; and her bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Arizona State University. She resides in Austin with her husband Nick and two children, Zachary and Julia.
“Cooking is a joyful way to improve our relationships with food no matter what age you are. Common Threads has integrated healthy eating into schools and communities taking an innovative approach to culturally responsive cooking and nutrition education. After all, food and family are the common thread that ties us all together.”
– Linda Novick O’Keefe, CEO & Co-Founder of Common Threads