The American foodscape has proven to be a fruitful industry full of opportunities for Black and brown entrepreneurs.
To celebrate the country’s forward-thinking food leaders, the James Beard Foundation — a nonprofit that acknowledges, nurtures, and honors chefs and other leaders in American food culture — has launched a new grant initiative to help provide financial resources for Black and indigenous-owned food or beverage businesses impacted by COVID-19.
According to Black Enterprise, the James Beard Foundation Food and Beverage Investment Fund will offer grant funds to several businesses across the country.
In partnership with their Open For Good campaign, which launched back in April, the foundation’s latest initiative is working to “rebuild an independent restaurant industry that is stronger, more equitable, more sustainable, and more resilient post-pandemic,” according to their blog.
“The new Fund is part of the Foundation’s ongoing commitment to continually lift up the Black and Indigenous business owners in its industry, not just in light of the pandemic, but for good,” said James Beard Foundation vice president of community, Colleen Vincent, in a statement.
She added: “Financial resource is that much more impactful when coupled with support from organizations and experts who make themselves available to provide guidance on professional skills like marketing, structuring business plans, and negotiating contracts. The Foundation is creating new partnerships to deliver this value to its grant recipients in an effort to see these businesses thrive for the long term.”
The James Beard Foundation is on a mission to ensure all contributions from Black and Indigenous food entrepreneurs are recognized across every sector in the industry, including food trucks, pop-up supper clubs, fast-casual restaurants, and brewpubs — which belong to a unique part of America’s food culture.
According to their blog, the investment fund plans to disburse $15,000 grants equally across Black and Indigenous populations throughout the U.S.
As part of its process to build criteria, forge partnerships to deliver non-financial resources to awardees, and support the promotion of application cycles, the foundation has formed the JBF Fund Leadership Committee.
The foundation’s fund launches with the support of the Willamette Valley Wineries Association — who contributed $100,000 in proceeds from their annual Pinot Noir Auction — as well as the “HEARD Initiative” bracelet created by chefs Ming Tsai and George Mandakas of Chef Metal Jewelry, the blog reports.
For more information on the foundation’s investment fund, visit their website.