Last week, Black Restaurant Week — the annual nationwide culinary movement that celebrates African, African-American and Caribbean cuisine — proudly announced the launch of the Feed The Soul Foundation, a new non-profit designed to help support marginalized entrepreneurs in the culinary industry.

According to a press release, the organization will assist culinary entrepreneurs with their business development plans by offering resources and mentorship support to foster sustainable business growth.

Additionally, the Feed The Soul Foundation will create a Restaurant Business Development Fund, designed to boost marginalized businesses by providing workforce training, business development training and consultation services, and increased access to programming, funding, and technology.

With help from Maker’s Mark® and other community partners across the country, the goal for the Feed the Soul Foundation is to provide more opportunities for Black chefs and food workers as well as further Black Restaurant Week’s mission to honor Black cuisine nationwide as a key factor in American culture.

“Creating opportunities for marginalized entrepreneurs in the culinary industry is critically important to empowering communities so often overlooked or undervalued,” said Falayn Ferrell, co-founder of Black Restaurant Week, in a statement. “We are incredibly excited to work with Maker’s Mark to support economic growth and empower those who are as passionate about this industry as we are.”

As a long-standing partner of Black Restaurant Week, Maker’s Mark will donate funds toward the organization’s efforts to expand the reach of its initial grant program.

The Kentucky-based bourbon brand has supported Black Restaurant Week in the past through its recent Power of the Palate national cocktail competition, as part of the brand’s commitment to create more equitable and inclusive opportunities in the food and beverage industry.

“We’re honored to be able to work with our friends and partners at Black Restaurant Week on this incredibly important mission they’re putting into action,” said Rob Samuels — 8th Generation Whisky Producer and General Manager of Maker’s Mark — in a statement. “When my grandparents sought to create Maker’s Mark, they were able to do so with help from others in the bourbon-making community near our historic Loretto, KY distillery. That sense of community and supporting those around you is a part of our DNA, and we’re proud to continue that tradition with our partners who are helping to shape the next generation of culinary industry stars.”

The Feed The Soul Foundation is accepting applications from culinary entrepreneurs and business owners now until Jan. 5, 2021 for the Restaurant Business Development grant program.

For more information on the Feed The Soul Foundation, visit its website.