End of Year Review: Letter from the President

Dear friends,

As we approach the new year, we’d like to reflect upon this unique year, and give thanks to all of you who helped make it possible. In spite of unprecedented challenges, and with your help, Emeril Lagasse Foundation has made it a priority to continue to support nonprofit organizations and schools that further our mission of inspiring, mentoring and enabling youth to reach their full potential.   

In February, a big-hearted community of anglers joined us for Line, Vine & Dine in Fort Lauderdale, supporting local charities Arc Broward and Dan Marino Foundation. Both organizations are committed to empowering the lives of youth with developmental disabilities and life challenges through culinary and hospitality training.
 
At the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, we knew we would have to do things differently to provide help where it was needed most.  We started to reimagine our fundraising events, with creative solutions that allowed us to safely connect with our valued donors and corporate sponsors. Nationwide, our supporters answered the call to attend the Chi Chi Miguel Virtual Throwdown & Online Auction, hosted on Facebook.
 
Our focus was sustaining organizations that provide essential services to vulnerable communities. With your help through these spring fundraising events, the Emeril Lagasse Foundation granted more than $450,000 to non-profits in Walton and Okaloosa Counties, Greater Ft. Lauderdale/Miami Dade, New Orleans and Las Vegas.
 
One of the highlights of 2020 was the addition of two new school sites to the Emeril’s Culinary Garden & Teaching Kitchen family. DC Bilingual Public Charter School in Washington DC & Starlight Elementary School in Watsonville, CA were selected as the newest school sites for the program which integrates culinary gardens and teaching kitchens in schools to create interactive learning environments centered on food.
 
In the fall, we replaced Boudin Bourbon and Beer with a virtual fundraising campaign for the Emeril Lagasse Foundation Hospitality Industry Relief Fund.  Over $175,000 was distributed to hospitality industry employees in need across the Gulf Coast.
 
Closing out the year, we are so grateful that you tuned in for Carnivale du Vin Reimagined. Held virtually via live-stream on YouTube, the event was viewed by over 300 supporters from across the country. Once again, your dedication to advancing our mission raised over $1 million dollars. As a direct result of your involvement, the Foundation will soon announce another round of grants to organizations nationwide that support youth culinary, nutrition, and arts education. 
 
As we celebrate the holidays and an incredible, albeit unusual, year of philanthropy, we owe a tremendous thank you to our generous donors, board members and community partners who continue to believe in the impact of this Foundation. We look forward to an even more prosperous 2021.
 
Wishing a happy, safe and healthy holiday to you and yours!
 
Brian Kish
President