Malik Kemokai

Executive Director
Malik has a deep-seated passion for, and history of, changing the individual lives of young adults in at-risk situations.

Malik Kemokai emigrated to the United States in 1976 at the age of seven. Years later, after receiving a degree in food and beverage management, he ended up in Evanston and managed several well-known restaurants, including The Stained Glass Bistro, The Cellar, and a few Peet’s Coffee and Tea locations. While working, he returned to school and with the assistance of mentors, pivoted to a career focused on workforce development in the nonprofit sector.

Most recently, Malik served as the Director of Workforce Development Strategies and Operations at the Greater Chicago Food Depository. There, Malik led the Chicago’s Community Kitchens project, a 14-week job training program for unemployed and underemployed adults. During his tenure, Malik transformed the program into a comprehensive workforce development curriculum with wraparound services and Individualized Education Plans to ensure success after leaving the program. Previously, Malik served in both fundraising and program leadership roles at Howard Area Community Center in Chicago, an organization that empowers individuals, enabling their independence and offering enhanced opportunities.

“The mission of Curt’s Café resonates deeply with me because it aligns with the mission and vision I have worked to advance for the last decade.” said Malik. “I have a core personal commitment to developing programs and supports which uplift and release the true potential of youth participants. Curt’s Café has an enviable track record of doing so much, so successfully, for so many in that regard.  I look forward to bringing my experience and holistic approach to help continue that success and lead Curt’s Café into its next phase of growth, ensuring youth and young adults have every possible chance at bright futures.  And, as an added bonus, I know that my young son will be thrilled with my joining Curt’s Café; we have enjoyed many weekend meals at Curt’s and it is one of his favorite places.”

As a Certified Nonprofit Professional, Malik holds a Master of Nonprofit Administration degree from North Park University, as well as separate Masters Certificates in Nonprofit Management, Fundraising Management, and Organizational Development. He is currently also pursuing a Certified Workforce Development Professional credential.

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