The Lee Initiative Hands Out Grants to Help Restaurant Relief Programs

Due to overwhelming community support, an anonymous private donor, and the continued generosity of Maker’s Mark, Chef Edward Lee’s The LEE Initiative has been able to expand the Restaurant Workers Relief Program to 15 locations nationwide and now will be giving $10,000 grants to four like-minded organizations around the country. The organizations receiving these grants were selected based on the positive work they’re doing to support the restaurant industry during the COVID-19 crisis.

“We are so humbled and honored by the support we’ve received at The LEE Initiative and we want to be able to help other chefs and restaurant owners around the country who are making positive impacts in their communities,” says Chef Edward Lee.

The additional grants provided will enable four more chefs to use their facilities to help the workers and communities closest to them. The LEE Initiative began serving restaurant workers who were negatively affected by the COVID-19 crisis and hospitality industry shutdown, on March 17. Since then, and with the initial and ongoing support of Makers’ Mark and other donors, the program has expanded to 15 locations helping thousands get food, supplies and hope during this difficult time.

The four organizations receiving the grants are:

Chef Erik-Bruner Yang - Power of 10 Initiative in Washington, DC

The Power of 10 initiative operates on simple math.  Donations start at $10 and go up in multiples of 10.  Every $10,000 in donations collected will fund a restaurant to hire 10 chefs for a week and buy ingredients to make 1,000 meals for a partnered non-profit or community.

Chef Kelly English of Restaurant Iris in Memphis, TN

Through his Fino’s Italian Deli, Chef Kelly English is working with local individuals and businesses to feed the front line first responders and medical workers in Memphis.  He is feeding anywhere from 100-300 people a day.

Chef JJ Johnson of Field Trip in Harlem, NYC

Through his Harlem restaurant Field Trip, JJ Johnson is feeding those in need including first responders and medical staff at hospitals like Harlem Hospital and Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx.  He has also teamed up with Harlem Grown to help provide meals to Harlem’s youth who have been affected by the closure of public schools.

Chef Joe Phillips of Pints & Union in New Albany, Indiana

This Southern Indiana restaurant is offering take and bake family meals; free donated groceries to service industry, single parents, local non-profits including Rauch Inc., which provides services to people with disabilities.  They are providing groceries and warm meal service seven days a week, including and not limited to: frozen soup, pickled vegetables and basic necessities for everyday living.

For more information on the relief efforts, please follow The LEE Initiative on social media To make a donation, please visit and select which program you’d like to support.

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News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by WTWH Media LLC.