Diageo North America donates to the Seattle ‘Raising the Bar’ recovery fund to help reactivate the city’s hospitality industry

25 Oct 2021 | Press release

The $2.5 million commitment will support minority-owned small restaurants disproportionately harmed by the pandemic Eligible businesses can receive up to $7,500 in grants

New York, NY, October 25th, 2021 – Diageo North America has committed $2.5 million to support small minority-owned businesses in the hospitality industry through the Seattle ‘Raising the Bar’ recovery fund, in partnership with non-profit organizations Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDpda), Washington Hospitality Association Education Foundation and Friends of Little Saigon. Eligible businesses will receive a grant of up to $7,500 each.

While this fund will offer financial support to minority-owned restaurants in the Seattle area and contribute to their recovery from the impact of the pandemic, given the ethnic makeup of the city, the program will facilitate resources to reach one of the largest minority communities – the Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders – where racial disparities have magnified the impact on their businesses.

“By partnering with local non-profit organizations, our purpose is to support the revival of these small businesses and provide relief to local communities who need it most. With the U.S. Small Business Administration closing the Restaurant Revitalization Fund in July, we are excited to step forward and fill that gap of grant funding available to hospitality businesses getting back on their feet,” said Danielle Robinson, Head of Corporate Responsibility, Diageo North America. “We are proud to establish the Seattle ‘Raising the Bar’ recovery fund and support minority-owned restaurant owners who continue to face challenges, even as the hospitality industry begins to climb back.”

The $2.5 million donated by Diageo North America will be managed and dispersed independently through SCIDpda to help the small businesses recover from the impact of COVID-19. The Washington Hospitality Association Education Foundation will amplify the program and host the application process, supported with translation services in six languages to applicants provided by SCIDpda. Comprised of both organizations and the Friends of Little Saigon, a selection committee will review and determine which businesses qualify for grants.

“The last 19 months of the pandemic have underscored the language barriers that many businesses in our community face when accessing resources.  We are thankful to Diageo and the Washington Hospitality Association for helping make this opportunity happen,” said Jamie Lee, Director of Community Initiatives, SCIDpda.

"Hospitality has been the hardest-hit by the pandemic, with thousands of restaurants closed permanently in our state. And racial disparities as well as language barriers have only worsened that impact. We are proud to partner to help bring relief to struggling businesses,” said Anthony Anton, President & CEO of the Washington Hospitality Association.

As part of Diageo’s U.S. Community Fund, the company became a founding contributor of the ‘Raising the New York State Bar’ Restaurant Recovery Fund to help businesses adjust to pandemic requirements, and financially supported recovery efforts for Chicago neighborhoods to help create more public spaces. In addition, many of the company’s brands -including Bulleit, Crown Royal, Seagram''s 7 Crown, Don Julio, Guinness and Ketel One, among others- have led various initiatives to help the hospitality industry and those whose livelihoods were directly impacted.

Eligible businesses can apply to the Seattle ‘Raising the Bar’ recovery fund starting October 29th, at 10:00 am PST through November 19th at 5:00 pm PST. To learn more about the fund and the application process, visit https://scidpda.org/recoveryfund/.