"Convening those on the frontlines of economic, social and political liberation"
Born in West Kingston, Jamaica, Tomme was inspired as a child to pursue a calling that values community, interdependence, and holistic mutual support. Early in his career, he served as a corporate executive responsible for Cargill’s global community involvement programs and leading volunteer programs across 350 communities on 6 continents. A recipient of the President’s Volunteer Service Award from President Bill Clinton, Tomme also lived in Washington, DC, where he managed the same award for President George W. Bush, and held posts at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
In 2012, Tomme returned to his roots by launching Pimento Jamaican Kitchen on the streets of the Twin Cities with a $99 pop-up tent and a backyard grill. Espousing values like product purity, seasonality, and mindful preparation, Pimento is a center for authentic Jamaican street food using family recipes and fresh ingredients. Over nine years, it has opened in three locations across the community and has been featured on the Travel Channel and the Food Network.
When George Floyd’s murder sparked a season of reckoning in the summer of 2020, Tomme partnered with community volunteers to launch Pimento Relief Services to help the Black communities in our area that were hurting the most. He observed that no one goes hungry in Kingston because Jamaicans make sure that their neighbors are fed. While the resources exist to feed everyone in Minneapolis, many still do not eat enough. It is impossible to push forward in the fight for justice when people are hungry. How, asked Tomme, can there be two degrees of separation from everyone in our community, and yet there is still so much desperation
Tomme and his team fought to answer this question. Pimento was among the few restaurants on Eat Street that remained open last summer, and it became a center for generosity and collective wellness. They held multiple summits and virtual town halls that fostered dialogue about community restoration. Tomme, Pimento Relief Services, and the newly-formed Pimento Foundation have supported leaders on the frontlines of economic liberation, social liberation and political liberation. In 2020 and 2021, the team helped to administer 2,000 COVID-19 vaccines and feed 1,000 volunteers and activists. Though the world was burning, Tomme and Pimento Relief Services made sure that as a community, the Twin Cities were still feeding one another.
Since its origin last year, Pimento Relief Services has rallied 2,274 individual private donors to provide over $1.5 million in food and home essential donations. These dollars were raised through mutual aid efforts and specifically directed at people living in Twin Cities food deserts with limited access to food. Tomme aims to keep neighbors connected in this movement through conversation, justice, and support of Black liberation. He believes that by pooling resources and grounding their action in community-centered justice, Black philanthropic leaders in the Twin Cities have the power to effect transformative change through the many ways that they can give.
Tomme holds Political Science and Economics undergraduate degrees from the University of South Florida, and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Minnesota. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife, Bush Fellow, Dara, Founder and Chief Strategic Officer of Wise Ink Creative Publishing, and their daughter, Genesis and newborn son, Derek IV.
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