As a brand that’s been on tables for over 150 years, HEINZ recognizes the critical way America’s Black-owned food businesses continuously shape the nation’s culinary culture. HEINZ, The LEE Initiative, and Southern Restaurants for Racial Justice (SRRJ), announce today that they will provide an additional $1 million in Black Kitchen Initiative grants to Black food business entrepreneurs nationwide, bringing the brand’s total contribution to $3 million over the past three years. A continuation of the organizations’ multi-year partnership, the grants seek to preserve and uplift the legacy of Black-owned food businesses by providing much needed financial assistance.
In 2023, Black-owned restaurants, food spaces, and chefs continue to face serious financial hurdles and inequity in access to capital. A recent report revealed that 37 percent of Black small business owners had difficulty accessing new capital and financing – 14 percentage points higher than their non-Black peers.1 With this additional donation of $1 million in grants, the HEINZ Black Kitchen Initiative doubles down on its commitment to help promote long-term business health and success.
“The HEINZ Black Kitchen Initiative aims to celebrate and preserve the legacy of Black food culture by helping to break down barriers that keep Black voices and cooking out of America’s culinary space,” says Megan Lang, Director of Brand Communications, HEINZ. “We’re proud to continue our partnership with The LEE Initiative and SRRJ. We’ve heard from past recipients just how impactful the grants have been in supporting their businesses across the country, and we are thrilled to provide another $1 million in grants in 2023.”
In 2023, HEINZ will distribute up to 60 grants through The LEE Initiative and Southern Restaurants for Racial Justice. Grant recipients will receive support of up to $25,000, depending on need. Through August 11, interested restaurant owners can apply for a Black Kitchen Initiative grant at https://www.leeinitiative.org/southern-restaurants-for-racial-justice. Applications will be reviewed by SRRJ founders and a selection committee and will be evaluated on factors including the restaurant’s community involvement and plans for the grant money.
“Through our partnership with HEINZ and SRRJ, we’re elated to have the chance to uplift so many talented business owners across the country and to empower diverse entrepreneurs in the hospitality space,” says Lindsey Ofcacek, Co-founder and Executive Director of The LEE Initiative. “We’re especially excited to continue doing this work, given the success and growth of past grant recipients. There is undoubtedly more work to be done in making the industry more equitable, but I’m grateful we can play a part in deploying resources to these incredible black entrepreneurs.”
In addition to the grant program, HEINZ created the Black Kitchen Podcast Series, spotlighting Black culinary innovators and the many ways Black individuals are moving the culinary space forward. After the podcast received thousands of downloads and several award wins in its first season, HEINZ recently released a second season focused on chatting with Black innovators across the industry who are changing the face of food. Fans can listen wherever they regularly enjoy podcasts.
The HEINZ Black Kitchen Initiative is one way that parent company Kraft Heinz leverages the power of its iconic brands to give back and live its core value – We demand diversity. At Kraft Heinz, we believe diverse backgrounds and perspectives make us stronger, more thoughtful, and more innovative. We are dedicated to making a lasting impact in the lives of our employees and in our communities around the world. As the largest brand in the Kraft Heinz portfolio, HEINZ has and will continue to play a critical role in in reaching the Company’s diversity and inclusion aspirations over the next several years.
To apply for a grant, visit https://www.leeinitiative.org/southern-restaurants-for-racial-justice.