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University student government operated community development corporation

December 19, 2014

University student government-owned and operated food trucks a community engagement project and AmeriCorps employer/partner

What is the concept?

University of Michigan student government as AmeriCorps Vista employer and small business incubator

  • Food truck entrepreneurship program as a community engagement project.
  • Food Truck is owned by the student government with an eye to future ownership sharing with Hud zone eligible employee owners(ESOP).
  • Profits from the truck grow the business; but also fund student government scholarships.
  • Food truck developer is the manager of the truck and is the AmeriCorps volunteer, as such she is charged with melding student employees with members of the community who need to be Inspired to be future employee owners

Student government-owned food truck as a community economic engine for growth

Student government as grant writer

  • Write grants for truck; promise to use cash flow to grow the business, pay scholarships, pay a living wage to all food truck employees with the free capital of the truck.
  • Student government will hire employees who are veteran,Hud zone, Michigan works,DHS,student need based and disabled.

University provides AmeriCorps cost sharing

  • University provides living stipend in the form of a grant of free student housing to a need based student who is a food truck employee or AmeriCorps volunteer.
  • Student is allowed the difference in cost of attendance as a financial aid refund.
  • University provides parking lots and sidewalk and lawn space to student government-owned and partnered food trucks.

Tax and training incentives

  • The food truck will receive tax payments from the IRS as an incentive for employing the above groups.
  • The food truck will receive Michigan works job training funds.
  • The food truck business shall receive assistance from the Michigan disability commission for employing disabled owners

AmeriCorps contributions

Business plan


  • Community foundations pay the costs of 5 food trucks over ten years based on performance and AmeriCorps and student government and university partners.
  • Student government pledges to use the enhanced cash flow from the free food trucks to (A) expand the business(B) employ needs based students and members of the community identified through community engagement(C) use cash flow for scholarships(D)pay a living wage to all food truck employees(E)Student government pledges to “let go” of ownership to partial and full ownership of food trucks over a period of time to employee owners and to,  use the sale proceeds from sold food trucks to expand this student/community project.




Flint food truck court partners with farmers market




USDA , MRS grant to fund a handicap accessible food truck


This is it alternative to foundation funding ; government SBIR and state disability funding.


›To design a food truck with wheel chair lifts for excess and egress.

›Wheel chair height appropriate  cooking and food preparation surfaces and point of sale/ customer  counter.

hydraulic wheelchair lifts inside  truck bring employee up to working surfaces heights

›We want to maintain intellectual property and manufacturing rights


S corporation partners with the student government and ESOP partner


ESOP as community  social entrepreneurship vehicle


›Food truck ESOP employees can move about between food trucks in the S corporation, as such their ownership equity is portable!

›Minimum wage employees are the most likely to need government and non-profit support, and many will be minimum wage workers for their entire careers.

›A ESOP allows for many decades of cash flow from food sales to become future wealth to other wise poor people.

›Creative motivated ESOP workers can become S Corporation owners or managers, upward mobility!

› student  government, Greeks, other students could go to work at this project full-time after graduation!


Student government-owned business incubator as a model national AmeriCorps Vista  program



  • The Food truck employee ownership“coach”/manager should be repeated for every truck; workforce training funds could be our partner here as well**(subsidy).
  • Food truck coach is our ESOP motivational cheerleader, she encourages the working poor and all others to contribute innovation in service to reduce employee turnover***
  • MRS provides funding for our disabled employees and S corporation partners who are disabled( subsidy).
  • IRS provides a tax credit for handicap and veteran employees (subsidy)
  • If we share these subsidies to the employee as a retention bonus we could achieve to aims,(1) our social entrepreneurship goals and,(2) reducing the high costs of ESOP employee turnover.
  • Most of these subsidies last only a year so we should “bank” them


  • IRS veteran/disabled incentives involve 20 to 40 hours a week and the employee must work most or all of that year,
  • So we must provide a rebate of the incentive to the employee, to provide that incentive to stay, some incentives must be short-term and others long-term.
  • So one incentive would be to pay a living wage or higher, the food trucks bought with grant money could easily do this but what about future ESOP employees? could we translate non-profit cash flows to the benefit of the future low wage ESOP employee?
  • Can we ensure student government honors this pledge? An employee hand book might work here as a start, for the shorter term. After all a percentage of employees will stay beyond the first year thus earning the employer the IRS credit.
  • others will be a subsidized week to week by MRS/VA/work force funds, this funding could provide the living wage incentives, the IRS incentive could be the year-end bonus!



Transferring subsidies to the future ESOP working poor; the mechanisms

›Subsidy’s to the business equal to equity to the student government/non-profit/Greek/student organization. Some  of this could be transfer to the employee quarterly  in the first year but the non-profit could when selling the food truck to the S corporation/ESOP  reimburse that loyal low wage employee who has stayed the course.another important reason to keep an employee onboard is to satisfy ESOP obligation to roll over benefits to employees who leave

›The NCEO once did a study on methods on providing employee equity to the non-profit employee, how do you do this?

›The Unitarian church came up with a method to reimburses ministers who had excess to a church provided home but would not have home equity built up over decades after retirement, the church put funds into a fund that over decades would equal to the retirement fund.

›I suggest that a non-profit food truck employee who stays the course

  • IRS veteran incentive; $10,000 if works 40 hours over one year. half for 20 hours a week
  • IRS disabled; ?
  • MRS; ?
  • Work force training funds; ?
  • Pay living wage with MRS/ work force; weekly/quarterly bonus for staying at 40 hours
  • Pay quarterly into a home ownership fund in partnership with local partners
  • Pay a quarterly/yearly wage retention bonus
  • When Student government sells the food truck this loyal employee receives a “equity” compensation (How?)I would argue for a ESOP share but I am not sure of the IRS rule making here, do we need a IRS rule making letter? We may have to simply pay the non-profit employee a cash bonus when the business sells based on service and longevity


AmeriCorps volunteer hired by winning a televised contest or we try out hands on screenwriting  :):):)!

  • This is a screen writing proposal to PBS travel channel and food channel.
  • Competitors are perhaps culinary school graduates or others who owe student loans
  • Experience and/or classes in business are important
  • Experience or education in employee equity and community development
    • The Prize or prizes could be a down payment on a food truck after 1 year service as a food truck coach.
    • The TV show would match the AmeriCorps student loan forgiveness program.
    • The community development corporation would pre approve a ESOP SBA loan
    • Contestant must demonstrate for over a week a food truck concept and menu.
    • Contestant must demonstrate execution of concepts and menu.
    • Contestant’s employees will be community members who might be students and the disadvantaged.
    • Contestant must attempt to build a team and to attempt to solicited employee participation and innovation in the food truck business
    • This televised contest can not be done in one 1 hour show.
    • This must be a 1 season show, think of “this old house” which is done over many shows.
    • The production leases 5 food trucks.
    • The production hires a diverse crew of employees for the 5 food trucks, we challenge the contestant with the chronically unemployed, homeless, student employees.
  •                                                                      Show chronology
  • First week; a 1 hour show introducing the shows concept.
  • second week;
  • Third week; food truck concept and menus
  • Fourth week; contestant must team build employees and potential employee ownership culture
  • Fifth week; contestant must be solicited innovation from potential employee owners


Food Truck business incubator show; season two

  • Employee owners become contestants!
  • This allows the working poor to become S Corporation partners
  • This means we have promoted an innovative employee owner into their own food truck!
  • Outside contestants allowed to0.
  • Former AmeriCorps job coach who are now S corporation partners are our panel of judges for season two.
  • Contestants must demonstrate employee owner team building and respect
  • Contestant must demonstrate menu/concept innovation


Hypothesis;10 food trucks with employee owners might bring a cluster of innovation


  • 5 employees per shifts’ two shifts= 10 employees.
  • 10 trucks results in 100 employees.
  • 100 employees entitled to a free meal per shift, however we should issue our own ESOP currency say $1 per hour for use in the ESOP food truck park to buy meals
  • 100 employees X 8 hours per shift = $800 per day
  • This is a form of local complementary currency


seeking Mentor Protege

Veteran small business set aside

Steven Torry Rappolee
Terrestrial & Cislunar Exploration technologies
A Post 9/11 Veteran owned concern
810 334 4374
Fax 810 449 5484
UM Flint Student Business Incubator, #207
423 North Saginaw Street,Flint, Michigan, 48502


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