News Detail

Jun 25





NEW ORLEANS – Executive Director Kristin Shannon from New Orleans-based Emeril Lagasse Foundation took the stage at the Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) meeting in Chicago on Friday to present their “Commitment to Action”: Engaging and Mentoring Youth Through Culinary Arts.  Among the thousand business leaders, government officials, and civic trailblazers present to accept the organization’s commitment were Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) founder former President Bill Clinton, former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, and their daughter Chelsea Clinton.  The mission of CGI is to turn ideas into action and convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI America focuses on developing domestic solutions that increase employment, advance access to education and skills development, strengthen energy security, and promote an environment for business growth and innovation.The Emeril Lagasse Foundation (ELF) and partner in commitment, Liberty’s Kitchen, were commitment makers within the “Reconnecting Youth” working group, one of among twelve areas of focus at the CGI America conference on June 14th.

“It was such a thrill to represent the Emeril Lagasse Foundation and present our idea to a room full of inspirational leaders from around the world,” says ELF Executive Director Kristin Shannon. “Mentoring youth through culinary arts is a passion of Emeril and his wife Alden, who together founded the Foundation in 2002.  This recognition was quite an honor for all of us involved.  We’re grateful to have the support of The Clinton Foundation and the team at CGI to help make a difference in the New Orleans community.”

Since 2010, ELF has supported Liberty’s Kitchen, which provides hospitality training to at-risk youth, who in turn provide thousands of healthy meals to schoolchildren and learn to operate a café.  ELF just announced a gift of $200,000 to fund the non-profit’s expansion into the ReFresh Project, which will significantly increase the size of Liberty’s Kitchen’s facilities for programming and business operations.

The new space will allow Liberty’s Kitchen to increase the number of youth hospitality trainees served from 100 to 200 annually by 2015.  Liberty’s Kitchen honored Chef Emeril and the Emeril Lagasse Foundation for their outstanding commitment to youth in New Orleans at their annual “Come Grow with Us” benefit on June 21st.

“Liberty’s Kitchen is so fortunate to have the Emeril Lagasse Foundation as one of our most significant supporters.   From the opening of our doors just four years ago and the subsequent launch of our Healthy School Lunch Program, they have been a consistent ally,” says Executive Director of Liberty’s Kitchen, Janet Davas. “The CGI commitment made by the Emeril Lagasse Foundation in support of our expansion and move to the ReFresh Project will allow Liberty’s Kitchen to significantly increase the number of youth we can serve in our Youth Development Program, as well as the number of nutritious meals served through our Healthy School Lunch Program.  We cannot overstate how grateful we are to the Emeril Lagasse Foundation – never losing sight that that real champions are the children and young people who benefit from their generosity and support.”

Bill Clinton established CGI in 2005, and to date, members have made more than 2,300 “Commitments to Action,” which have improved the lives of over 400 million people in more than 180 countries.  CGI supports the development of commitments by facilitating dialogue, providing opportunities to identify partners, showcasing the actions taken by commitment-makers, and communicating results.

About Emeril Lagasse Foundation

Established in 2002 as the realization of Emeril Lagasse and his wife Alden Lagasse’s dream to improve the quality of young people’s lives, Emeril Lagasse Foundation supports children’s education and non-profit organizations with culinary, nutrition, garden, arts and life skills programs. Since 2005, ELF has distributed more than $5.5 million in grants for children’s charities. Projects funded by the Foundation include an outdoor classroom, gardens, fresh foods cafeteria and teaching kitchen at Edible Schoolyard New Orleans, an accessible learning kitchen for special needs students at St. Michael Special School, a four-year culinary arts program for high school students at New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, and a culinary learning center for hospitality training for at-risk youth at Café Reconcile. Each fall, the foundation hosts its signature annual fundraiser, Carnivale du Vin, which ranks among the “Top Ten U.S. Charity Wine Auctions” in Wine Spectator magazine. The Foundation introduced charity indoor/outdoor food and music fest, Boudin Bourbon & Beer in 2011. In 2013, Emeril Lagasse was honored as James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year.

About CGI America The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. Established in June 2011 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) addresses economic recovery in the United States. CGI America brings together leaders in business, government, and civil society to generate and implement commitments to create jobs, stimulate economic growth, foster innovation, and support workforce development in the United States. Since its first meeting, CGI America participants have made more than 211 commitments valued at $13.6 billion when fully funded and implemented. To learn more, visit