In partnership with The LEE Initiative and Southern Restaurants for Racial Justice, HEINZ® Black Kitchen Initiative grants help foster long-term business success
As a brand that’s been on tables for over 150 years, HEINZ® recognizes the critical way America’s Black-owned food businesses continuously shape the nation’s culinary culture. HEINZ, The LEE Initiative, and Southern Restaurants for Racial Justice (SRRJ), announce today that they will provide an additional $1 million in Black Kitchen Initiative grants to Black food business entrepreneurs nationwide, bringing the brand’s total contribution to $3 million over the past three years. A continuation of the organizations’ multi-year partnership, the grants seek to preserve and uplift the legacy of Black-owned food businesses by providing much needed financial assistance.
This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20230717784819/en/
For the third year, HEINZ® commits $1 million in grants through the Black Kitchen Initiative (Graphic: Business Wire)
In 2023, Black-owned restaurants, food spaces, and chefs continue to face serious financial hurdles and inequity in access to capital. A recent report revealed that 37 percent of Black small business owners had difficulty accessing new capital and financing – 14 percentage points higher than their non-Black peers.1 With this additional donation of $1 million in grants, the HEINZ Black Kitchen Initiative doubles down on its commitment to help promote long-term business health and success.
“The HEINZ Black Kitchen Initiative aims to celebrate and preserve the legacy of Black food culture by helping to break down barriers that keep Black voices and cooking out of America’s culinary space,” says Megan Lang, Director of Brand Communications, HEINZ. “We’re proud to continue our partnership with The LEE Initiative and SRRJ. We’ve heard from past recipients just how impactful the grants have been in supporting their businesses across the country, and we are thrilled to provide another $1 million in grants in 2023.”
In 2023, HEINZ will distribute up to 60 grants through The LEE Initiative and Southern Restaurants for Racial Justice. Grant recipients will receive support of up to $25,000, depending on need. Through July 31, interested restaurant owners can apply for a Black Kitchen Initiative grant at https://www.leeinitiative.org/southern-restaurants-for-racial-justice. Applications will be reviewed by SRRJ founders and a selection committee and will be evaluated on factors including the restaurant’s community involvement and plans for the grant money.
"Through our partnership with HEINZ and SRRJ, we’re elated to have the chance to uplift so many talented business owners across the country and to empower diverse entrepreneurs in the hospitality space,” says Lindsey Ofcacek, Co-founder and Executive Director of The LEE Initiative. “We’re especially excited to continue doing this work, given the success and growth of past grant recipients. There is undoubtedly more work to be done in making the industry more equitable, but I'm grateful we can play a part in deploying resources to these incredible black entrepreneurs.”
In addition to the grant program, HEINZ created the Black Kitchen Podcast Series, spotlighting Black culinary innovators and the many ways Black individuals are moving the culinary space forward. After the podcast received thousands of downloads and several award wins in its first season, HEINZ recently released a second season focused on chatting with Black innovators across the industry who are changing the face of food. Fans can listen wherever they regularly enjoy podcasts.
The HEINZ Black Kitchen Initiative is one way that parent company Kraft Heinz leverages the power of its iconic brands to give back and live its core value – We demand diversity. At Kraft Heinz, we believe diverse backgrounds and perspectives make us stronger, more thoughtful, and more innovative. We are dedicated to making a lasting impact in the lives of our employees and in our communities around the world. As the largest brand in the Kraft Heinz portfolio, HEINZ has and will continue to play a critical role in reaching the Company’s diversity and inclusion aspirations over the next several years.
To apply for a grant, visit https://www.leeinitiative.org/southern-restaurants-for-racial-justice. For more information on the HEINZ Black Kitchen Initiative, visit https://www.heinz.com/blackkitchen/ or @heinzbki, @leeinitiative and @srrj_coalition on Instagram.
About The Kraft HEINZ Company
We are driving transformation at The Kraft Heinz Company (Nasdaq: KHC), inspired by our Purpose, Let's Make Life Delicious. Consumers are at the center of everything we do. With 2022 net sales of approximately $26 billion, we are committed to growing our iconic and emerging food and beverage brands on a global scale. We leverage our scale and agility to unleash the full power of Kraft Heinz across a portfolio of six consumer-driven product platforms. As global citizens, we're dedicated to making a sustainable, ethical impact while helping feed the world in healthy, responsible ways. Learn more about our journey by visiting www.kraftheinzcompany.com or following us on LinkedIn and Twitter.
About The LEE Initiative
Lindsey Ofcacek and Edward Lee founded The LEE Initiative in 2017 in response to the #MeToo movement. The LEE Initiative creates and implements programs to address issues of diversity and equality in the restaurant industry, always with a focus on increasing opportunities for employment and helping to make the restaurant industry more sustainable. During the COVID-19 outbreak, The LEE Initiative launched The Restaurant Workers Relief Program. This program started in March 2020 out of the catering kitchen of Edward Lee’s restaurant, 610 Magnolia, and expanded to include services offered out of 19 kitchens nationwide. In total, The LEE Initiative has distributed over 2.5 million meals throughout the pandemic. For more information visit www.leeinitiative.org.
About Southern Restaurants for Racial Justice
Southern Restaurants for Racial Justice began in 2020 as a coalition of bakers, chefs, makers and restaurant owners with a shared goal of raising funds for Black communities in the South--specifically Black-owned restaurants--during Covid-19. In 2021, the founders began a successful collaboration with The LEE Initiative to reimagine their fundraising strategy and goals for the future of the organization. Under The LEE Initiative umbrella, SRRJ has raised over $3 million through corporate partnership funding support and created an annual grant for Black-owned restaurants and food businesses that includes start-up costs, improvement and sustainability funding, and grants specifically built to protect legacy restaurants across the United States. SRRJ now also maintains an emergency relief fund to quickly support Black-owned restaurants during unforeseeable disasters. While they have expanded beyond the South and small locally-driven bake sales, their mission has remained and strengthened: to raise and provide financial resources to protect Black businesses in our industry while also amplifying Black leadership, messaging, and progress.
The Kraft Heinz Company