Due to an overwhelming response within hours of opening, the Foundation has suspended the application for the JBF Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund at this time. We recognize the tremendous need from independent restaurants across the country and will continue to work to support you however best we can. We will notify our audiences if the application is going to reopen.

The James Beard Foundation’s mission is to celebrate, nurture, and honor chefs and other leaders making America's food culture more delicious, diverse, and sustainable for everyone. For more than 30 years, our 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization has highlighted the centrality of restaurant and food culture in our daily lives.

The James Beard Foundation recognizes the dire situation the food and beverage community is facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The majority of the businesses in the culinary community we work with and support each year are small or medium-sized, and all of them play an essential role in the communities they serve. To help bring swift economic relief to these essential businesses, the Foundation launched a fund that will be gathering support from corporate, foundation, and individual donors to provide micro-grants to independent food and beverage businesses in need.  

The Fund Purpose and Criteria for Eligibility 

The purpose of the James Beard Foundation Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund (the “Fund”) is to provide critical financial assistance to small, independent restaurants that, due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) national disaster, have an immediate need for funds to pay set operating expenses and keep from going out of business. Our goal is to do our part along with federal, state, and local governments to provide for workers, sustain local business, reduce the financial impact on communities, and otherwise mitigate the severe economic consequences of this global pandemic.

To qualify for funding, a restaurant must be (i) independently owned with 100 or less full- or part-time employees as of February 15, 2020, or (ii) a restaurant group in which each member restaurant has 100 or less full- or part-time employees on that date. Brick-and-mortar businesses with a restaurant license and whose primary business is food service have been prioritized in each region.

In this first round of funding, the Fund will accept applications through April 3, 2020 at 3:00 P.M. ET. All donations are received by the Fund and cannot be earmarked for specific regions of the country, states, or cities. All donations will be divided evenly across the 12 regions defined for the James Beard Awards. Completed applications in each region will be reviewed on a first-come, first-serve basis.  Each applicant (whether an independent restaurant or restaurant group) approved by the Fund shall receive a one-time payment of $15,000. We expect to begin distributing funds by April 1, 2020. We will continue to process applications received in a region until we run out of funds in that region. If additional funds are raised, we will allocate them across the 12 regions and will process previously received but unfunded applications first and then reopen the process for new applications.  

The Fund retains the right to make final funding decisions, in its sole discretion, consistent with the applicable criteria, which the Fund may amend as needed to ensure smooth operations. In addition, the Fund, in making these charitable grants, wants to promote a safe, fair, and respectful workplace. Any restaurant that does not provide a workplace consistent with these values will be disqualified from receiving a distribution from the Fund. Any funds that have been allocated to a region but have not been granted as of April 15 will be reallocated in the Fund’s sole discretion to another region where the request for support has not been met.

Regions are defined as:

1. New York State 
2. Northeast (CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT) 
3. Mid-Atlantic (DC, DE, MD, NJ, PA, VA) 
4. Southeast (GA, KY, NC, SC, TN, WV) 
5. South (AL, AR, FL, LA, MS, PR)
6. Great Lakes (IL, IN, MI, OH) 
7. Midwest (IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD, WI) 
8. Mountain (CO, ID, MT, UT, WY)
9. Southwest (AZ, NM, NV, OK) 
10. Northwest & Pacific (AK, HI, OR, WA) 
11. California 
12. Texas

The James Beard Foundation Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund is administered by NVF with technical assistance from the James Beard Foundation.

Application Process

The application process consists of a short form that will gather necessary information for determining an applicant’s eligibility. Applicants should be prepared to provide all of the following: 

  • Corporate/Individual Name of Owner and Address 
  • Owner’s Tax Identification Number 
  • Tradename of Restaurant or Restaurant Group and location(s) 
  • Contact Name and Information (mailing address, email, telephone) 
  • Electronic Funds Transfer (ACH) banking information 
  • Upload at least one Proof of Ownership:  
    • Business license, health certificate, liquor license, or other official government document showing the name of the qualified restaurant and the name of the restaurant owner. (Note: the name of the bank account holder to which funds are transferred must match either the restaurant’s or owner’s name shown on the proof provided.) 
  • Website and social media information for the restaurant(s) 
  • Number of full- or part-time employees at your restaurant as of February 15, 2020 

For more information and how to donate to the relief fund click here