Open for Good

Community-focused and independent restaurants are at the heart of every city, town, and village across America and the world. The James Beard Foundation celebrates restaurants that showcase culinary leadership and provides training and resources for chefs and restaurateurs to use their voices for positive food system change.

Open for Good is the James Beard Foundation’s campaign to help independent restaurants survive the COVID-19 crisis, rebuild better, and thrive for the long term.

Open for Good programs provide critical resources to help independent restaurants build the capacity to come back stronger, more equitable, more sustainable, and more resilient.




Critical support and resources to guide reopening and building back better.

The first Open for Good playbook, Safety First, produced in partnership with the Aspen Institute, World Central Kitchen, and Off Their Plate, is available for free here.

The James Beard Foundation is hosting webinars to help provide resources for the hospitality industry and to better stay connected throughout difficult times. Our Industry support webinars help the industry navigate the challenges of COVID-19. Watch our Open for Good: Compensation, Benefits, and Growth webinar here.

The James Beard Foundation Legacy Network launched in Spring 2021 to train emerging leaders across the culinary industry and connect them with future generations of excellence. By developing and cultivating the capabilities among these influential professionals, the Legacy Network advances the equitable, culturally relevant leadership required to strengthen the industry. For additional information on the program, timeline, and application assets, please visit here

Oyster Sunday Benefits Program provides direct access to preventative care for underinsured or uninsured members of your team—plus discounted access to a well-rounded package of lifestyle benefits designed to fit the specific needs of food and hospitality teams. The JBF community receives a 10% discount, learn more here.




Mobilizing the community toward systemic policy change that supports a thriving and sustainable food and beverage industry.

Through Open for Good, we educate, train, and mobilize the chef community to use their voice in support of public policies from combatting hunger in America to supporting farmers and protecting American fisheries to promoting fair wage models. 

Since 2012, the James Beard Foundation has been training and empowering chefs to advocate for meaningful food system change through the Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change.

The James Beard Foundation is a founding member and seed funder of the Independent Restaurant Coalition (IRC), which was formed to create a united voice for independent restaurants to affect legislative change in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Together these chef-advocates meet regularly with mayors, state legislators, governors and members of Congress and their staffs to create policies focused on a more diverse, equitable, and sustainable food system.



Financial Support 

Grants to help independent restaurants survive, reopen, and rebuild.

The restaurant community is always among the first to donate their time and resources to charities, and in a time of crisis are among the first responders that keep communities nourished. They are also among those in need. The Foundation has created unique grant programs to directly support small, independent restaurants.

Food and Beverage Investment Fund for Black and Indigenous Americans (September 2020-Present)

As part of the Foundation’s commitment to building a more equitable industry, and in acknowledgment of the immeasurable contribution that these two communities have made to the modern American foodscape, the Foundation launched The James Beard Foundation Food and Beverage Investment Fund for Black and Indigenous Americans to provide financial resources for food or beverage businesses that are majority-owned by Black or Indigenous individuals. 

For information about the fund and how to make a contribution, click here

Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund (March-April 2020) 
Created to provide immediate financial assistance to small, independent restaurants forced to close during the COVID-19 pandemic. JBF disbursed over $4.7 million to recipients around the country. Read more.



Consumer PSA Campaign

Engaging food lovers in support of a sustainable independent restaurant industry.

Restaurants and bars offer more than just food. They offer places to share a delicious meal, the opportunity to gather with loved ones, to celebrate achievements. They are the centerpiece of our local main streets and our communities. Restaurants need customers, just as much as diners need a place to go.

Open for Good also offers diners a way to help support the independent restaurant community by engaging in:

  • Social media campaigns on Instagram and TikTok to promote independent restaurants
  • Informative and entertaining virtual experiences that provide food system education
  • Public service announcements about staying safe and keeping restaurant employees safe when returning to restaurants
  • An Instagram campaign to support Chinese restaurants across the country with James Beard Award winner Grace Young
  • Consumer-facing events promoting local restaurants


Please consider supporting Open for Good initiatives.

For general donation inquiries, please contact Aaron Hock, development coordinator, at or 212-675-4984 x221.