CT Restaurant Relief Fund Updates

Update 2/26/21: We are currently reviewing the applications to identify the recipients of the $5,000 grants. With this many applications, we want to be sure that we are selecting restaurants in need that represent the hospitality industry from across the state. We are making great progress and hope to have selections finalized by the end of next week. Please continue to check back for updates about award announcements.

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed an incredible burden on the Connecticut restaurant industry. Connecticut was home to 8,000+ restaurants and employed over 160,000 people before the mandated closure on March 16, 2020. This resulted in thousands of layoffs, and ultimately over 600 restaurants closing their doors in Connecticut. We continue to see closures every week.

CT restaurant owners and operators need immediate financial relief in order to stay in business, aid their employees, and survive the impact of this crisis. The mission of the CT Restaurant Relief Fund is to provide immediate financial relief to Connecticut’s restaurant industry with funds designed to save these businesses and protect its workforce.

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed an incredible burden on the Connecticut restaurant industry. Connecticut was home to 8,000+ restaurants and employed over 160,000 people before the mandated closure on March 16, 2020. This resulted in thousands of layoffs, and ultimately over 600 restaurants closing their doors in Connecticut. We continue to see closures every week.

FOUNDATION & FUND

The Connecticut Hospitality Educational Foundation (CHEF) – the 501(c)3 nonprofit entity of the Connecticut Restaurant Association (CRA) – through its expanded mission to be the workforce development arm of the Association, established the CT Hospitality Employee Relief Fund (CHERF) initiative on April 1, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. Through this effort, CHERF has raised over $165,000 and awarded individual grants to over 350 hospitality employees. CHERF continues to raise funds to help offer direct awards to individuals in need due to unemployment.

CHEF and the CRA recognizes an additional need to help support Connecticut’s restaurant industry and have developed a new fund, the Connecticut Restaurant Relief Fund on January 1, 2021.

The objective of the fund initiative is to raise funds to support immediate financial relief for as many of Connecticut restaurant and food service businesses as possible.

FUNDRAISING

Fundraising for the CT Restaurant Relief Fund initiative combines grass-roots individual donations with grants and other large gifts from companies and foundations whose philanthropic goals align with the mission of the Fund. Click here to learn more about donating to the CT Restaurant Relief Fund.

GRANT SIZE & SCOPE

The CT Restaurant Relief Fund initiative strives to provide Connecticut’s restaurants with immediate financial support in the form of grants valued at $5,000 per location. In this unprecedented time, the luxury of establishing an endowment before engaging the community to identify grant recipients does not exist. The CHEF will distribute funds as they become available. Membership in the Connecticut Restaurant Association has no bearing on selection. Grants awarded to restaurants still in operation are to be used to keep their doors open and workers employed.

OVERALL INITIATIVE

The CT Restaurant Relief Fund is an emergency relief initiative of the Connecticut Hospitality Educational Foundation (CHEF), a 501(c)3 nonprofit focused on workforce development and education of restaurant employees and those aspiring to enter the industry. The simple yet urgent mission of the CT Restaurant Relief Fund amid the COVID-19 crisis is to provide immediate financial relief to Connecticut’s restaurateurs with funds designed to save employee jobs.

The Connecticut Restaurant Association and Connecticut Hospitality Educational Foundation have reallocated staff whose primary responsibilities are related to projects on hold during this crisis to support the establishment, deployment, fundraising, and administration of the CT Restaurant Relief Fund, ensuring that its goals and objectives are met.

GOALS

There are three primary goals of the CT Restaurant Relief Fund:

• To provide restaurants with critically needed financial support immediately.

• To financially support restaurateurs, keeping restaurants open and workers employed.

• To provide those seeking a reputable source through which to financially support the Connecticut restaurant industry and its employees affected by COVID-19.

OBJECTIVES

Never before have we faced such a challenge to the stability and prosperity of Connecticut’s diverse and renowned restaurant scene. Over the last 10 months, restaurants throughout Connecticut have been put in a position to fight for their survival.

The economic impact from this loss continues to grow at an alarming rate, reinforcing the objectives of how the CT Restaurant Relief Fund initiative will measure success:

· Distribution of $5,000 grants to as many eligible businesses currently open and in immediate need.

· Build and grow the overall brand to increase funding from multiple partners and other organizations.

· Minimize how many restaurants in Connecticut will permanently close due to COVID-19.

· Support the displaced workers of Connecticut’s restaurant industry by making it easier for restaurateurs to keep them employed, or ensure there is a restaurant open for them to return to after being furloughed.

· Bring awareness of the challenges faced by restaurants during COVID-19 to potential grant-giving organizations and corporate foundations to attain their support.

· Demonstrate the grassroots effort to support restaurants; the core of our communities.

DISTRIBUTION OF GRANTS

Staff from the Connecticut Restaurant Association and Connecticut Hospitality Educational Foundation will oversee the distribution of grants.

Qualifications

1. Restaurant is located in Connecticut;

2. At least 25% sales loss in 2020 compared to 2019 OR business opened after October 1, 2019;

3. The restaurant remains open providing modified service (takeout / delivery);

Additional Criteria to be Considered:

1. Priority for sole proprietors, women owned and minority owned businesses;

2. Overall Sales % decrease comparing 2020 to 2019;

3. Additional grants received;

4. Members of the Connecticut Restaurant Association Board of Directors and the Connecticut Hospitality Educational Foundation Board of Directors ARE NOT eligible for these grants.

Grant Distribution Guidelines:

1. CHEF launches Grant Application at 12 pm on January 25, 2021.

2. Applications accepted through 5 pm February 5, 2021.

3. All applications will be reviewed and scored based on the qualifications and criteria above.

4. CHEF Staff will review all applications using a rubric method and then provide award recommendations to the CT Hospitality Educational Foundation Board of Directors.

5. Grant award notifications will begin on February 24, 2021 and will continue based on additional funds received.

6. Only one grant will be issued for restaurant groups. If you own more than one restaurant, consider applying for the business in most need.

**dates subject to change. Please check website for updates.

Questions? Contact apply@ctrestaurantrelief.org.

Applications open January 25 at 12 pm.

All applications will be reviewed. Application deadline is February 5 at 5 pm. Reminder: Only one application will be considered from each restaurant group. If you own more than one restaurant, consider applying for the business in most need.

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