Louisville, Ky. April 14, 2020 – In partnership with Ashbourne Farms and through the generous support of Austin & Janie Musselman, Fund for the Arts Culinary & Cultural Arts Initiative is launching a Culinary Arts Strategic Relief Fund in response to the economic fallout from COVID-19.

“Like many within our community whose livelihoods rely on people coming together, our culinary community has been hit hard during this unprecedented pandemic. The Culinary Arts Strategic Relief Fund provides timely support to this talented group of culinary artists, who not only enrich our lives and community daily with their craft, but also employ performing and visual artists within the broader Fund for the Arts family.” says Christen Boone, President/CEO of the Fund for the Arts.  Ashbourne Farms’ Rodney Wedge, continued with “the businesses in our industry help to define the culture in Kentucky, and our friends and colleagues are being dramatically impacted by this crisis. We feel a responsibility to do anything we can to support them and to protect the culinary landscape we have all worked hard to build so that we can continue to share Kentucky hospitality with others.”

The Culinary Arts Strategic Relief Fund will focus support on two objectives: 1.) supporting the basic needs of local culinary artists community, and 2.) providing relief funds to local culinary institutions that have been pillars to our community.

Basic Need Grants
– A $20,000 grant will be sent immediately to The LEE Initiative to support its efforts. The LEE Initiative is offering help for those in need of food and supplies. It has turned restaurants in Louisville & Lexington into relief centers allowing local chefs or any restaurant worker who has been laid off or has had a significant reduction in hours and or pay. The LEE Initiative is offering help for those in need of food and supplies. Each night, they distribute hundreds of to-go meals and basic necessities.

– A $10,000 grant will be sent immediately to Apron to support its efforts. Apron provides temporary, limited financial relief to professional food and beverage industry workers in the Louisville, KY Metro area who work at locally owned establishments and who are experiencing financial distress.

Restaurant Relief Grants
– A $15,000 grant will be sent immediately to the James Beard Foundation Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund to support its efforts in the Southeast Region, including Kentucky. The James Beard Foundation Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund is providing 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.

– $15,000 grants to support strategic culinary institutions that have been pillars to the local Louisville and Kentucky communities. Two grants will be immediately funded. Grantees will be chosen by Fund for the Arts from the remaining unfunded local applicants of the James Beard Foundation’s relief efforts and or strategic culinary institutions within the community with the greatest need who submit a grant application with Fund for the Arts. Each grant will be $15,000, unless donor- advised/restricted to amounts/institutions.

Ashbourne Farms, as well as Austin & Janie Musselman, have stepped forward, making dollars available immediately. The Fund for the Arts Culinary & Cultural Arts Initiative is matching $25k in funding and launching a fundraising campaign to raise additional funds to match the initial investment in the Culinary Arts Strategic Relief Fund.

“At Ashbourne Farms we are committed to supporting our fellow hospitality workers and employers in helping them deal with the Covid-19 crisis we are facing. This is why we have decided to make grants to nonprofits like the Louisville Fund for the Arts Culinary & Cultural Arts Initiative and the James Beard Foundation whom we believe are directly helping on the front lines for people in our industry affected by this virus. We are all in it together and it is in our best interest to fight for our vibrant food and farming scene in the Commonwealth. Therefore, we are not only donating our money but our time and talents to people and places that are currently in need,” said Austin Musselman.

The Culinary Arts Strategic Relief Fund’s two larger initial grantees, The James Beard Foundation and The LEE Initiative had the following to say: “We are grateful to have support from Fund for the Arts for our national relief efforts and applaud the Fund for taking action to help so many vital community organizations and businesses during this pandemic.” said Kris Moon, Chief Operating Officer of the James Beard Foundation. “Independent restaurants are critical contributors to their communities, employing nearly 16% of the American workforce and contributing as much as 60% of their money back into their local business communities. Together, we are committed to ensuring there is a vibrant culinary community on the other side of this crisis.”

Lindsey Ofcacek of the Lee Initiative, “The LEE Initiative has always been to come up with fast and forward-thinking solutions to address problems in our industry. Three weeks ago, that was helping to get more women into leadership roles. Today, it’s Restaurant Workers Relief Centers, thanks to the generous support from the community and partners like Fund for the Arts, James Beard Foundation, Ashbourne Farms & Austin & Janie Musselman. By the end of the week there will be 19 Centers.”

To make a gift to the Culinary Arts Strategic Relief Fund and/or learn more about the Fund for the Arts Culinary & Cultural Arts Initiative, click here.

About Fund for the Arts
Fund for the Arts is a regional nonprofit with the mission to maximize the impact of the arts on economic development, education, and quality of life in our community. The Fund is a convener, promoter, leader, and driver of Imagine Greater Louisville 2020, the region’s arts & cultural plan. It facilitates the largest arts grant program in Kentucky as well as conducts one of the oldest united arts campaigns in the country.

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