Independent restaurants now have the opportunity to apply for a $5,000 grant through the California Restaurant Foundation’s (CRF) Restaurants Care® Resilience Fund. This year, Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) made a generous donation of $1 million to the Resilience Fund, increasing it to $2.1 million, making it the largest fund to date since its launch in 2021. These grants will be distributed to 182 California restaurants, including 88 within SoCalGas’ service area. The funds are flexible and can be used for technology adoption, equipment upgrades, employee onboarding and retention, or unforeseen hardships.
David Barrett, Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and California Restaurant Foundation board member at SoCalGas, expressed their commitment: “For the third consecutive year, SoCalGas is supporting the California Restaurant Foundation’s Restaurants Care Resilience Fund to provide grants to independent restaurants. These restaurants play a vital role in our local communities, and the foundation’s grants bolster and maintain the livelihoods of local restaurant proprietors, their staff, and their establishments.”
This marks the second round of grants in 2023, made possible by contributions from SoCalGas, the PG&E Corporation Foundation (PG&E Foundation), and San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E). Those restaurants that submitted applications in the spring but were not funded during the first round of 2023 Restaurants Care® Resilience Fund grants need not reapply; they will automatically be considered for this round.
Applications for the Resilience Fund are open from October 25 through November 8, 2023. Eligibility is extended to California restaurants located within the utility companies’ service areas, which must have been open for at least one year, have up to five units, and boast annual revenue of up to $3 million, with special consideration given to those owned by women or people of color. For more information and to submit applications, please visit www.restaurantscare.org/resilience.
Alycia Harshfield, Executive Director of the California Restaurant Foundation, expressed her gratitude for SoCalGas’s continuous support: “SoCalGas has provided invaluable and unwavering support for the Restaurants Care Resilience Fund since its inception in 2021, which has led to hundreds of independent restaurant owners across Southern California fortifying their businesses for the long haul. We are thrilled to open applications for the second time this year and again offer $5,000 grants to owners looking to enhance their restaurants via technology adoption, equipment upgrades, employee onboarding, and retention, or overcoming unforeseen hardships.”
Since its launch, the Resilience Fund has issued over 1,100 grants to independently owned restaurants throughout California, with 68% of recipients being women-owned and 83% owned by people of color.
Stacy Davis from Stacy’s Kitchen in Blythe, California, highlighted the transformative impact of the grant: “With the grant we received this summer from SoCalGas, we were able to purchase a standing fryer, refrigerator, and sandwich bar. We’ve been able to make food more efficiently, keep our ingredients fresher, and have provided our customers with a better dining experience.”
In addition to providing financial support to restaurants through the foundation, SoCalGas offers programs and services designed to help business customers select energy-efficient equipment. Restaurant owners can arrange a ‘Try Before You Buy’ demonstration with natural gas cooking equipment before making a purchase, request a no-cost energy survey conducted by a utility expert, and access information on rebates and incentives for eligible energy-efficient natural gas cooking equipment, water heating, heat recovery products, and energy-efficient upgrade installations.
SoCalGas’s support of the California Restaurant Fund is aligned with the company’s ASPIRE 2045 sustainability goals, which encompass a plan to invest $50 million to drive positive change in diverse and underserved communities over five years.