More than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, the restaurant industry is still struggling. And while restaurant guidelines begin to relax in many counties across California, restaurants owned by minorities are finding it harder to bounce back from the economic hardships caused by the pandemic. That’s why, SoCalGas partnered with the California Restaurant Foundation (CRF) and other utilities across the state to launch the Restaurants Care Resilience Fund.
The fund will provide grants of up to $3,500 to single-unit restaurants, with priority given to woman- and person of color-owned restaurants. To qualify, the restaurant must be currently open, have a staff of 50 or less, experienced a revenue loss of at least 20 percent from 2019-2020, and be based in the one of the following counties: Alameda, Fresno, Kern, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, or San Joaquin.
CRF is hosting two, 20-minute Zoom information sessions for restaurant owners interested in applying for the Resilience Fund. The first session, conducted in English, will be on April 7 at 10:00a.m. A second session, conducted in Spanish, will take place on April 8 at 10:00a.m. The application period opens on April 11 and runs through April 18. For more information, or to apply to the Resilience Fund, please visit restaurantscare.org/resilience.
“The Resilience Fund will provide critical financial support to our hardest hit small businesses, many of which are owned and operated by women and people of color,” shared Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda L. Solis, Supervisor to the First District. “Throughout the pandemic, we have seen the economic impact across the County, leading to greater job loss and reduced hours resulting in less pay for workers. The Resilience Fund will help our small businesses retain their workers and help ease the economic burden of the pandemic as we rebuild for a better tomorrow.”
“What’s really unique about our Resilience Fund is that it supports the business as well as individual restaurant workers,” said Alycia Harshfield, Executive Director of the California Restaurant Foundation. “a portion of the funds raised will provide grants for cooks, servers, dishwashers and more who face unforeseen hardship and have nowhere else to turn and the rest will go to the restaurant. So yes, we’re helping restaurants keep their crew on payroll, while also offering a safety net for when things get tough.”
Restaurant owners who receive a Restaurants Care Resilience Fund grant may use it to cover payroll and other related expenses so that they can free up funds for rent, technology upgrades, and outdoor dining retrofitting. Restaurants will also receive support services and resources to improve their business for the long-term.
“There’s a long road to recovery for small businesses, especially restaurants,” said Maryam Brown, SoCalGas president. “With these grants, our goal is to help independent restaurant owners who have been hit hardest by the pandemic and support local restaurant workers.”
The Restaurants Care Resilience Fund is currently accepting additional support from corporations, foundations, and individuals who want to aid in the restaurant recovery. Donations of all sizes are accepted and celebrated at restaurantscare.org/resilience.