Funding Supports Mission to Inspire, Mentor, and Enable Youth to Reach Full Potential
NEW ORLEANS – The Emeril Lagasse Foundation has announced the distribution of $1 Million to nonprofit organizations as part of its annual spring grant allocation. Through the Foundation’s Grants program, twelve beneficiaries received funding to support programs that align with its mission. Funding comes from donations and the Emeril Lagasse Foundation spring fundraising events, Line, Vine & Dine and the Chi Chi Miguel Weekend.
Six organizations were awarded community grants based on the shared mission to support youth through culinary, nutrition, and arts education, focusing on life skills development. Those organizations include Café Hope, Girls Leadership Academy of Wilmington, The Ingram Lee Foundation, Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation, New Orleans Culinary Hospitality Institute, and Second Harvest Food Bank.
The foundation also awarded grants following its two spring fundraising events. The annual Line Vine & Dine Charity Fishing Tournament in Fort Lauderdale supported local organizations Arc Broward and Dan Marino Foundation providing culinary and hospitality training to young people with developmental disabilities. Both organizations have been beneficiaries of the event since 2017. The Chi Chi Miguel Throwdown in Santa Rosa Beach supported various youth programs at Alaqua Animal Refuge, Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center, Food for Thought, and Sinfonia Gulf Coast.
“We have been very blessed this year with so much generosity from our donors,” said Chef Emeril Lagasse. “I’m humbled to announce these grants and contributions to organizations that align with our mission. Each one is doing good things for our young people and will leave a legacy for the future.”
The organizations receiving community grants during the Emeril Lagasse Foundation spring cycle:
Café Hope is a 501(c)3 organization that seeks to change the lives of opportunity youth through a 16-week program designed to meet their holistic needs rather than attempting to rehabilitate youth in the juvenile justice system through incarceration or probation. Located on the West Bank of Jefferson Parish, Café Hope has served over 600 participants since inception. Hurricane Ida caused substantial damage, forcing Café Hope to close its doors and move its programming to a temporary location. Upgraded renovations will allow for expansion of their training curriculum and include a teaching kitchen with more functional space where students can have a better hands-on learning experience. Also included in the remodel is a dedicated area to practice their kitchen skills and more opportunities to be involved in daily lunch service and catering events. A dedicated classroom space gives students and program staff an area for life skills classes, tutoring, counseling, socializing, and multipurpose meeting room spaces allow for private rentals and programmatic overflow. The Emeril Lagasse Foundation grant supports the building renovations of its teaching kitchen.
Girls Leadership Academy of Wilmington (GLOW) is an all-girls public charter school in Wilmington, NC that educates young women from diverse backgrounds through middle and high school. With a focus on closing the achievement and opportunity gaps among low-income families, GLOW Academy curriculum is centered on STEAM education (science, technology, engineering, arts and math). The core instructional approach is inquiry-based learning, which complements the college preparatory culture and develops students’ ability to think independently, analyze and problem solve. GLOW began teaching Exploratory Cooking in 2016 through one class period a day and has since transitioned the program to courses ranging from Exploratory Cooking I and II in middle school to Culinary Arts I, II, III, and IV in high school with six separate courses taught daily on campus. This development has shed light on the necessity of two spaces to support its Culinary Arts program with fidelity. The Emeril Lagasse Foundation grant supports an “upfit” of its second culinary space at GLOW Academy to support Exploratory Cooking in its middle school.
The Ingram Lee Foundation (ILF) was established to aid and improve the lives of motivated, economically disadvantaged individuals by providing assistance to facilitate their progress to higher education for the purpose of developing life skills. To date, ILF has funded scholarships and annuities at six different universities and high schools, including New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA). The Emeril Lagasse Foundation grant supports an endowment for its scholarship program.
Louisiana Restaurant Association was established in 1946 to promote, protect, and serve the interests of the state’s restaurant industry, Louisiana’s largest employer. The LRA has members from all segments of the foodservice and hospitality industries, creating a strong group that represents all aspects of Louisiana’s largest employment sector. The Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation (LRAEF) was established in 1995 by the Louisiana Restaurant Association as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization to enhance the industry’s service to the public through education, workforce development, and promotion of career opportunities. ProStart is a culinary program for high school students that develops the best and brightest talent into tomorrow’s industry leaders. Today, Louisiana ProStart® includes more than 1700 students at 51 schools throughout the state. The Emeril Lagasse Foundation grant supports LRAEF Pro-Start programming.
New Orleans Culinary Hospitality Institute (NOCHI), established in 2013, is a nonprofit organization that educates a diverse community of learners to sustain New Orleans’ ever-evolving hospitality industry. NOCHI offers a platform for professional and personal growth– including accelerated vocational-style programs, continuing education classes, and courses for culinary enthusiasts – increasing access and minimizing barriers to career pathways while supporting the promotion and economic development of the culinary arts and hospitality industry. Through its workforce development initiatives, including its signature 100-day Certificate program, NOCHI aims to generate opportunities for everyone to play a part in the success of New Orleans’ hospitality sector. The Emeril Lagasse Foundation grant supports a pilot program aimed at building a student recruitment pipeline specifically for opportunity youth seeking careers in the culinary and hospitality industry into NOCHI’s Certificate programs.
Second Harvest Food Bank leads the fight against hunger and builds food security in South Louisiana by providing food access, advocacy, education, and disaster response. Through its life-changing, life-saving programs and partner network of 700 agencies, Second Harvest is meeting the direct needs of the individuals, children, and seniors it serves across 23 parishes. This year, its Summer Feeding and Kids Cafe Programs will reach 2,300 children experiencing food insecurity. The Emeril Lagasse Foundation grant supports Second Harvest’s Summer Feeding & Kids Café Program.
In addition to these grants, the Emeril Lagasse Foundation supports its mission through its signature program, Emeril’s Culinary Garden & Teaching Kitchen. This national education program integrates culinary gardens and teaching kitchens to create interactive learning environments centered on food. It paves the way for children from all walks of life to be healthier, appreciate food and its role in culture, and serve as role models for healthy eating within their families and communities.