A fund created for independent restaurant employees who have been affected by COVID-19. Apply for a grant to receive support or make a donation to lift up your community.
In the face of this global pandemic, the Missouri Restaurant Association Education Foundation believes that our mission – to support and educate our industry’s workforce – is more critical than ever.
There are more than 230,000 restaurant workers in Missouri, and the foodservice industry is estimated to be the largest sector impacted by the spread of COVID-19. Independent restaurants are suffering disproportionately in the COVID-19 crisis, and their employees are more likely to need gap funding. To address this need, the MRAEF founded a restricted fund to assist the employees of locally owned and operated restaurants.
The Independent Restaurant Workers Relief Fund will provide financial relief to employees of independent restaurants based in Missouri, plus the Kansas counties of Johnson, Wyandotte, and Leavenworth. These $500 grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to those who meet the criteria and complete the online application.
We are delighted to announce that our current funding level is $1 million, made possible through the generosity of the Kemper family foundations. We continue to look for additional donations and will increase the fund and disbursements as additional money becomes available.
FUND UPDATE: As you can imagine, the Independent Restaurant Workers Relief Fund has been inundated with application submissions. We have successfully approved support grants for thousands of independent restaurant workers across the state, and although we would like to continue distributing grants, our funds have been exhausted. We are no longer accepting applications.
Grants are being distributed through paper checks. Checks will be sent to the mailing address provided on your application.
Due to high traffic volume, the website may load slowly for some individuals. However, as applications can only be submitted online, we encourage you to continue to revisit the site. The application page will be live until all funds are depleted.
We will approve applications and disburse grant money as soon as possible. If you are approved, you will receive an email confirming the approval.
Independently owned restaurants are businesses that are not part of a national chain or franchise. Small restaurant groups are considered independently owned restaurants if all locations are in Missouri or the Kansas counties of Johnson, Wyandotte, and Leavenworth.
Independent restaurants are disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. They do not have a corporation or governing body to assist them through this difficult time. For these reasons, we are limiting grant recipients to those who work for independent restaurants. We understand that all restaurants are hurting right now, and we are working to increase funding to widen our reach in the future.
We understand your frustration. The fund was even more in demand than we had anticipated, and we are working to increase funding and relaunch the fund soon. If there’s anything we can do to help in the meantime, don’t hesitate to reach out through our Contact Us page.
Yes, you are eligible to apply.