The Emeril Lagasse Foundation has announced it will distribute $294,000 to non-profit organizations as part of its annual spring funding allocation. The nine entities based on their shared mission to support youth through culinary, nutrition, and arts education with a focus on life skills development are Second Harvest Food Bank, Covenant House New Orleans, Arc Broward, Dan Marino Foundation, Emerald Coast Children's Advocacy Center, Food for Thought, Matrix Community Outreach Center, Aarón Sánchez Scholarship Fund, and NOCCA.
“Our children need our support now more than ever. Our spring grants are helping fund the incredible programs that keep our children fed, sheltered, supported and safe in their formative years.” said Chef Emeril Lagasse. "I am grateful for the tremendous support from our donors and corporate sponsors and honored to present these grants to drive our mission.”
"With the help of the Emeril Lagasse Foundation, we can provide unique opportunities for Latino students to empower themselves and follow their dreams to attend culinary school," said Chef Aarón Sánchez. "Emeril and I share more than a friendship, but a passion for preserving food legacies for generations to come."
The organizations receiving funds during the Emeril Lagasse Foundation spring grant cycle are:
Second Harvest Food Bank's Summer Feeding and Kids Café Programs reach hungry children after school and over the summer months when many children would otherwise go without nutritious meals. In summer 2021, Second Harvest will provide 65,000 meals to 1,800 children.
Covenant House New Orleans feeds the homeless youth and children living in its Crisis Care Center, providing three nutritious meals a day plus a healthy snack prepared in its on-site commercial kitchen.
Arc Broward will increase its Emeril Lagasse Foundation Innovation Kitchen capacity to provide culinary training and job readiness training for more individuals with developmental disabilities.
Dan Marino Foundation's Hospitality Program offers educational programs designed to prepare young adults with autism and other developmental disabilities for gainful employment, social growth, and independent living.
Emerald Coast Children's Advocacy Center (ECCAC) provides mental health counseling to child abuse victims. Since the reopening of cities and communities after the COVID-19 lockdown, there has been a 25% increase in child abuse cases, and ECCAC will help meet the increased demand for services for the youth in Okaloosa and Walton counties.
Food For Thought (FFT) bridges the gap between school meals during weekends, summer, and holiday breaks and offers learning and life-skill resources through the Emeril Lagasse Full-Circle Kitchen and the FFT Full-Circle Gardens.
The Matrix Community Outreach Center provides food through weekly food distributions. It also operates the Next Generation program, which offers various services (feedings, seasonal clothing, toiletries, hygiene products, medical assistance, and more) to ensure youth can perform at their highest potential.
New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) will receive funds for its Culinary Arts Department scholarship. NOCCA's Culinary Arts program, developed in collaboration with the Emeril Lagasse Foundation, features the first of its kind curriculum for high school students. In classes concentrating on hands-on training and technique, students are provided the opportunity to work side by side with industry-leading chefs who serve as professional mentors while delivering all aspects of the curriculum.
Aarón Sánchez Scholarship Fund empowers Latino youth through culinary education, mentorship, and industry experience to diversify kitchen leadership for future generations.
In addition to these grants, the Emeril Lagasse Foundation supports its mission through its signature program, Emeril's Culinary Garden & Teaching Kitchen. This program is a national education program that integrates culinary gardens and teaching kitchens to create interactive learning environments centered on food. It paves the way for children from all walks of life to be healthier, appreciate food and its role in culture, and serve as role models for healthy eating within their families and communities.