Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation Announces COVID19 Crisis Relief Fund

  • Is the relief fund only for certain states? NO. We are not limiting our funding to any states or cities, although we do not have the capacity and legal apparatus to help restaurant workers and businesses outside of the United States.

  • How do I apply? We are in conversations with another nonprofit partner that has existing technical and legal capacity to accept and review applications, and then quickly distribute funds. While that will take some time to work through, anyone can use the email address to express interest. We are collecting that information and will both share it with the funds distribution partner, and loop back with those people to make sure they know how to formally apply.

  • Will there be eligibility criteria? YES. Following the 9/11 tragedy, the IRS clarified in its publication “Disaster Relief: Providing Assistance Through Charitable Organizations” broadened the kinds of needs for which cash assistance may be given, “provided an objective evaluation has been made of the victims ability to meet these needs.” U.S. tax law indicates that our public charity MUST have a legitimate system for verifying the financial “neediness” of applicants and that the funds are spent on immediate needs, which include medical emergencies, assistance with rent, and transportation. “Need can be address with cash assistance, or other need may be met through services such as counseling, training and job placement services, which are charitable without regard to financial need. The type of aid that is appropriate to relief distress in a particular case depends on the nature of the individual’s need and resources.”


Original Press Release:

Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation Announces the Formation of Restaurant Workers COVID19 Crisis Relief Fund

March 16, 2020 (New York, NY): Restaurant Workers Community Foundation was founded in 2018 to advocate for gender equality, racial justice, fair wages, and healthy work environments in the restaurant industry. In the wake of the coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic, RWCF’s full focus is on supporting workers, small business owners, and an industry in crisis. 

Restaurant workers make up 10 percent of America’s workforce, and they are among the country's most vulnerable populations. More than 2.45 million restaurant workers live in poverty, and only 14 percent receive employer-sponsored health benefits. 

As restaurants across the country cut hours, suspend business, and close for good, many restaurant workers will be faced with long-term loss of income. For months to come, they will need help accessing government benefits and mental health services, paying their rent, and feeding their families. 

RWCF has established a Restaurant Workers COVID19 Crisis Relief Fund to: 

  • Immediately direct money to organizations leading on-the-ground efforts in the restaurant community. 

  • To bolster our impact investing budget to provide zero-interest loans to businesses to maintain payroll during closure or re-open once this crisis has passed.

  • To establish a relief fund for individual workers facing economic hardships or health crises as a direct result of COVID-19. 

“Up until now, RWCF has been relatively light on direct pleas for donations, and that was for a reason. We wanted to build a history of successful work before asking people to trust us with their charitable dollars,” said John deBary, RWCF co-founder and board president. “The coronavirus crisis has upended that strategy—we need to start working to help the most vulnerable among us NOW.”

RESOURCES for RESTAURANTS and WORKERS: RWCF is compiling an extensive list of resources and links related to the COVID-19 Crisis on its website, and, soon, we will collect data (qualitative and quantitative) from affected workers and restaurant owners so that we can work with local and national leaders to address the systemic issues the COVID19 pandemic has exposed. 

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