Local restaurants are encouraged to apply for grants through a fund sponsored by SoCalGas

Photo courtesy of the Restaurants Care Resilience Fund website

LOS ANGELES, CA – SoCalGas recently announced a second donation of $525,000 to the California Restaurant Foundation (CRF) Restaurant Resilience Fund. Last year, SoCalGas co-founded the Fund to help small businesses recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and was also a top donor, committing $525,000 in 2021. Eligible restaurants across the zone SoCalGas service providers are encouraged to apply for a $3,000 grant beginning April 15. . These grants are intended to support equipment upgrades, employee retention and deferred maintenance, allowing small restaurants to recover after nearly two years of debt, losses and rising costs. .

The application period ends on April 30.

“The restaurants and the families and employees who run them have shown incredible resilience and strength as they adapt their businesses to serve us all during the pandemic,” said David Barrett, vice president and general counsel for SoCalGas and a member of the California Restaurant Foundation Board of Directors. “Last year’s grants provided critical support to local restaurants as they struggled to keep their doors open. This year, grant funds will provide support to kitchens or teams, while supporting restaurant resilience overall.

“We are honored to have SoCalGas return as a partner in this year’s Resilience Fund, and extremely grateful that they have identified the program as worthy of one of their largest planned charitable donations for this year,” said Alycia Harshfield, executive director of the California Restaurant Foundation. . “SoCalGas’ generous contribution will help independent restaurateurs in Central and Southern California invest in their people, equipment, and ultimately, in the long-term health and success of their businesses.”

This year, the Restaurants Care Resilience Fund will award nearly $1.5 million in grants to small businesses in 2022. Last year, 318 restaurants across the state received grants, including Rajas con Crema in the city of Maywood, run by wife-husband team Alicia and Javier Solorzano, who opened his dream Mexican restaurant after more than 16 years in the restaurant business. Dishes are inspired by Alicia’s travels, recipes from friends and family while adding her own twist.

“We are extremely grateful to the California Restaurant Fund and SoCalGas for the grant and for creating this fund to help local restaurants,” said Javier Solorzano, owner of Rajas con Crema. “Our concern was to survive, and the grant helped us give back to our community in times of need. We were able to provide hot meals to local families while compensating our employees’ time. I strongly encourage other restaurants to apply for this grant, it can make all the difference.

“We are grateful to SoCalGas for their continued commitment to the community and small businesses through this grant opportunity and many other efforts, including their food distributions in the city of Maywood and Southeast Los Angeles during the pandemic,” Maywood Mayor Heber Marquez said.

Another 2021 grant recipient, Natalia Pereira of Woodspoon, a Brazilian restaurant in downtown Los Angeles, said, “The Resilience Fund is such a special program on so many levels – the people and the program are wonderful, and this initiative is having such an incredible impact. on the restaurant community throughout the region! Woodspoon was recently awarded the MICHELIN Bib Gourmand award which recognizes restaurants with “value for money”.

Zagat-rated Shiro restaurant in South Pasadena has been serving French cuisine for more than 34 years and was awarded a grant last year. According to Shiro’s owner, Irene Yokoi, “There are no words to express our gratitude for receiving your funds during our turmoil to deal with the Covid-19 closures. This helped us a lot, especially to cover the cost of payroll.

In addition to providing financial support to restaurants, SoCalGas offers energy efficient equipment selection programs and services for any commercial customer. Restaurant owners can schedule a “try before you buy” equipment demonstration to test out gas cooking equipment before making a purchase, sign up for an energy survey by a utility expert, and receive information on rebates and incentives on qualifying gas cooking equipment, water heating, heat recovery products and installation of qualifying energy retrofits.

Applications for the Care Restaurants Resilience Fund will be open April 15-30, 2022 and can be viewed at www.restaurantscare.org/resilience. The grants will be available to all California-based restaurant owners with fewer than three units and less than $3 million in revenue. Priority will be given to restaurants owned by women and people of color. Last year, the Resilience Fund awarded 318 grants to independent restaurateurs, 65% of which were owned by women and 83% by people of color.

SoCalGas’ partnership with the California Restaurant Fund is part of the company’s ASPIRE 2045 sustainability goals, which includes a commitment to invest $50 million to bring about positive change in diverse and underserved communities over the next five years. . In addition to supporting the Restaurant Care Resilience Fund, in 2021 SoCalGas contributed $9.6 million in total community investment, $4.8 million to support health and social services, and $2.3 million for educational reasons. In 2021, SoCalGas’ Fueling Our Communities program provided over 9,800 free meals, over 2,600 bags of groceries, and 2,520 restaurant gift cards totaling $60,400 to support 25 local restaurants.

Gladys T. Hensley