Applications Now Open for James Beard Foundation Food and Beverage Investment Fund for Black and Indigenous Americans 

Applications for the James Beard Foundation Food and Beverage Investment Fund for Black and Indigenous Americans are now open. The Foundation’s new investment fund will provide $15,000 grants to food and beverage businesses that are majority-owned by Black or Indigenous individuals across six regions nationally. These grants are part of the foundation’s Open for Good campaign, launched in April 2020, which works to rebuild an independent restaurant industry that is stronger, more equitable, more sustainable, and more resilient.

The application for the first round of grants will open January 11 at 3 p.m. ET and close on January 22 at 3 p.m. ET. In total, the Foundation will offer 18 grants in the first round – one for each of three business types in all six regions. These 18 grants will be given on a first-come, first-served basis, however, a new application period will be announced as funds become available. Visit the James Beard Foundation’s website for additional information, including the criteria and frequently-asked questions

Furthermore, the James Beard Foundation is actively seeking new funding to provide as much support to the community as possible. Black and Indigenous contributions are integral to America’s food culture and need our support now more than ever. Donations can be made by visiting jbffund.org.  

In September of 2020, the James Beard Foundation announced the James Beard Foundation Food and Beverage Investment Fund for Black and Indigenous Americans, a new grant initiative to provide financial resources for food or beverage businesses that are majority-owned by Black or Indigenous individuals. The initiative is a component of the organization’s Open For Good campaign launched in April to rebuild an independent restaurant industry that is stronger, more equitable, more sustainable, and more resilient post-pandemic. 

“The new Fund is part of the Foundation’s ongoing commitment to continually lift up the Black and Indigenous business owners in its industry, not just in light of the pandemic, but for good,” said James Beard Foundation vice president of community Colleen Vincent. “Financial resource is that much more impactful when coupled with support from organizations and experts who make themselves available to provide guidance on professional skills like marketing, structuring business plans, and negotiating contracts. The Foundation is creating new partnerships to deliver this value to its grant recipients in an effort to see these businesses thrive for the long term.” 

To help guide the development of criteria, craft partnerships to deliver non-financial resources to grantees, and to support the promotion of application cycles, the Foundation created the JBF Fund Leadership Committee. Founding committee members include: 

  • Bleu Adams, IndigeHub, and JBF Women’s Entrepreneurship Leadership Program Fellow
  • Cheryl Day, Baker and Author, Back in the Day Bakery, JBF Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund Grantee
  • Carla Hall, Celebrity Chef and Cookbook Author
  • Jesalyn Keziah, Community Engagement Program Officer, UNC-Chapel Hill American Indian Center
  • Raymond P. Lewis, President, RPL Consulting, LLC (Events Marketing, Public, Community Relations Firm)
  • Zella Palmer, Chair, Dillard University Ray Charles Program in African-American Material Culture
  • Michael E. Roberts, President and CEO, First Nations Development Institute
  • Sean Sherman, Chef, Author, and Activist, The Sioux Chef, and JBF Leadership Award Honoree
  • Dana Thompson, Co-Owner and Activist, The Sioux Chef, Executive Director, North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems
  • Heather Dawn Thompson, Principal, Native American Capital