Save Chocolateville® — Central Falls, Rhode Island

Locally sourced chocolate bars supporting children's causes in Central Falls, Rhode Island.

Save Chocolateville® aims to resurrect the spirit of ingenuity and community of Central Falls by creating locally-produced chocolate and donating proceeds to needy children of Central Falls.

Mike Ritz and team at the Save Chocolateville® launch

Proceeds from Save Chocolateville® benefit the children of Central Falls.

Founded: 2012

Mission: Save Chocolateville aims to revitalize the economy of Central Falls by using profits from the sales of locally-produced chocolate bars to create opportunities for the children of Central Falls.

Description: In the 18th and 19th centuries, Central Falls had been colloquially known as "Chocolateville" for its innovation and entrepreneurial spirit as a chocolate manufacturer. As time wore on, the name Chocolateville dissipated with the decline of the American manufacturing scene. Amidst the most recent financial crisis, in 2011 Central Falls became the only city in RI to enter bankruptcy.

Rhode Island's leaders have asked the question, "how can Central Falls once again become a prosperous city?" They have agreed that the solution lies within a strategic combination of community engagement, social entrepreneurship and a common, powerful desire to invoke positive change. While it is not a cure-all for city, the Save Chocolateville® initiative is certainly one gigantic step in the right direction.

Years of financial and social struggle led to bankruptcy, making Central Falls the epitome of the failing American industrial city. This initiative is a localized call-to-action, a modern day "barn raising," a collaborative, inside-outside effort to resurrect the spirit of ingenuity and community.

Leadership Rhode Island 2012 Theta II class took on the task of creating positive change in the city of Central Falls, Rhode Island. Although the city measures only one square-mile, its issues are no less daunting than any other city. If successful, their efforts could be a model for other cities across the United States.

Of the fruits of LRI's labor, one stood out as particularly delectable (quite literally). Mike Ritz, executive director of LRI, teamed up with Andrew Shotts, the master chocolatier behind Garrison Confections, to create a combination of irresistible chocolate and positive social impact the Save Chocolateville® initiative.

The chocolate itself is sourced from Guittard Chocolate Company, making it Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance Certified and from the oldest family owned chocolate company in the U.S. Everything else about the bar is as local as can be.

Over 2,800 chocolate bars have been enjoyed since the initiative's inception. This translates to over $7,100 raised for the children of Central Falls.

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