Southern California Gas Co. has announced that grant applications for the California Restaurant Foundation’s Restaurants Care Resilience Fund will be open from Saturday until May 7, making $5,000 grants available to 177 restaurants in SoCalGas’ service area, with a total of 360 grants available statewide for qualifying independent restaurants.
The grants will go toward technology adoption, equipment upgrades, employee onboarding and retention, or unforeseen hardships.
This latest round of grants follows SoCalGas’ $1 million donation earlier this year to the foundation’s Restaurants Care Resilience Fund to support independently owned restaurants. Together, this brings this year’s fund total to $2.1 million, making it the largest Restaurants Care Resilience Fund since the program started in 2021.
“SoCalGas is partnering with the California Restaurant Foundation’s Restaurant Resilience Fund for the third consecutive year with grants for independent restaurants. Restaurants are the fabric and flavor of our local communities, and the work of the foundation helps support and sustain local restaurant owners, their employees and their businesses,” David Barrett, SoCalGas senior vice president, general counsel, and California Restaurant Foundation board member, said in a prepared statement.
Since its inception, the Resilience Fund has awarded 788 grants to independent restaurants across California. Among them, 68.5% were women-owned and 83% were owned by people of color.
“We are so grateful for SoCalGas’ continued support of our Restaurants Care Resilience Fund, as it allows us to help independent restaurant owners in central and southern California to build resilience and strengthen their business for the long term,” Alycia Harshfield, executive director of the California Restaurant Foundation, said in the SoCalGas release. “The Resilience Fund grants directly benefit the local community by providing restaurant owners with financial assistance to adopt new technologies, upgrade equipment, promote employee training and retention, and weather unforeseen hardships. Thanks to SoCalGas’ generosity, this will be our biggest and most impactful Resilience Fund yet.”
“California’s restaurants have faced unprecedented challenges throughout the pandemic, and this grant from the California Restaurant Foundation and SoCalGas will provide funds to help small businesses continue to be a part of our communities,” Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, D-Los Angeles, said in the SoCalGas release.
“We are so thankful to SoCalGas for last year’s grant. We were able to purchase a new refrigerator for our kitchen, and with the funding, upgraded it to a more energy-efficient model that better serves my customers and the planet,” 2022 grant recipient Claire Risoli, owner of Pocha LA in Highland Park, said in the statement. “I was also able to award my steadfast employees with a bonus on their paycheck for their loyalty and service, despite the hardships we experienced the past few years. Our team is the heart of Pocha and I know my food is not my greatest asset – my people are.”
In addition to providing financial support to restaurants, SoCalGas offers programs and services to help business customers select energy-efficient equipment. Restaurant owners can schedule a “Try Before You Buy” demo with gas cooking equipment before purchasing, request a no-cost energy survey to be conducted by a utility expert, and obtain information on rebates and incentives for eligible gas cooking equipment, water heating, heat recovery products, and energy-efficient upgrades installation.
Commercial customers are invited to attend the SoCalGas No-Cost Foodservice Equipment Expo, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 25-26 at the SoCalGas Energy Resource Center, 9240 Firestone Blvd., Downey. There, commercial customers can reconnect and rebuild, discover new operational savings and performance tools, and learn about new products and technologies for success.
Resilience Fund applications will be open until May 7 and can be found at www.restaurantscare.org/resilience. Grants will be available to all California-based restaurant owners in the SoCalGas service areas that have less than five units and less than $3 million in revenue. Priority will be given to restaurants that have yet to receive a grant; however, previous recipients are encouraged to re-apply.
The Resilience Fund is accepting additional support from corporations, foundations and individuals who want to invest in California’s restaurant community. Donations of all sizes are accepted and celebrated at www.restaurantscare.org/resilience.
SoCalGas’ partnership with the California Restaurant Fund is part of the company’s ASPIRE 2045 sustainability goals, which include a commitment to invest $50 million to drive positive change in diverse and underserved communities across five years.