Allison Caffrey

June 10, 2022 — Root, a Salem-based nonprofit that helps young adults create a pathway to independence through foodservice training and employment, announced that Allison Caffrey has been named its new executive director. Caffrey is replacing M. Scott Knox who announced in February that he would resign June 3 after four years leading the organization.

"We are thrilled to have Allison take the helm,” said Jennifer Eddy, Root Founder and Board Chair. “She brings with her vast experience leading youth-focused nonprofits, strengths in education, development, and communications. We are confident that under her leadership, Root will continue its upward trajectory, helping to feed opportunity and community and changing young people’s lives.”

Prior to joining the Root team, Caffrey worked at Let's Get Ready, a national college access and success organization where she started as the executive director for the New England region and then served as national director of development. Caffrey started her career as a founding faculty member at Esperanza Academy in Lawrence, where she taught, coached, and mentored girls in grades 5 through 8. She later served as a trustee at the school, as well as the director of development. Caffrey has significant experience in working with nonprofits and foundations on education and youth development, including serving as a philanthropic advisor at the Boston Foundation and running the national grant-making program for the US Soccer Foundation. Allison earned her BA from Dartmouth College and her MEd from Harvard University.

“I am looking forward to building on the incredible achievements of the Root team and working directly with young people to impact their lives and address ongoing food insecurity issues in our community,” said Allison Caffrey.

Caffrey grew up in Essex County and recently moved back after spending several years in Boston and Washington, DC. She loves cooking, skiing and hiking. As the new Executive Director, she joined the Root team on Wednesday evening to serve dinners at this month’s Salem Meet & Eat, which is a free, monthly dinner open to all residents of Salem. Root partners with the City of Salem and with support from local businesses and organizations to provide these meals year-round to the community at the Saltonstall School during the school year and now at the Maritime Park in the summer months. For more information on the Salem Meet and Eat, visit

Root's mission is to help young adults create a pathway to independence through food service training and employment. By developing essential life and work readiness skills, youth leave Root prepared for success in the workplace. Since launching, Root has graduated 16 classes of young adults facing barriers to employment, each young person receiving over 220 hours of culinary and workforce readiness training and one year of follow-up support services.