The Tennessee Action for Hospitality, a group of local restaurant owners, hourly workers and chefs, has created A Fund for Us, a relief fund for hospitality industry workers who have lost their jobs or had hours cut amid the coronavirus pandemic and its negative effects on the economy.
The fund will grant up to $1,000 to local hospitality workers and small businesses who are eligible for aid through The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, a Nashville-based philanthropic nonprofit organization, as funds become available.
“Our friends in the hospitality industry are an integral piece to making Nashville thrive and are woven into the fabric of this community,” Ellen Lehman, president of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, said in a release. “We collectively have to do everything we can to help the independent restaurateurs, bartenders, dishwashers, managers, cooks and servers as they weather this terrible economic storm with us.”
For small businesses to be eligible for aid, the following criteria must be met:
- The business is based in Tennessee, with an active business license as of March 1, 2020,
- the business is centered around the enjoyment of food or beverages,
- the owner of the establishment works full-time for the business,
- and the owner of the business was instrumental in the creation of the business and are free from outside control of the business by way of majority ownership and not a chain, franchise or publicly traded business.
Individual employees can also be eligible for grants based on the following:
- They are currently or were most recently employed by a qualified hospitality business in Tennessee,
- they plan on rejoining the hospitality industry at the end of the public health crisis,
- they gained at least 80% of their income from their hospitality-related job,
- they worked for their most recent employer for at least six months
- and they make less than $85,000 a year.
The fund was initiated through donations from Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery in Nashville and Cool Springs Wines & Spirits in Franklin. Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of Tennessee has also pledged to match all consumer donations for A Fund for Us up to $200,000.
“The Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of Tennessee are encouraged to see this important fund generate much needed help to our hospitality partners,” said Ryan Haynes, executive director of Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of Tennessee. “Now more than ever we must band together and stand with our local businesses during these difficult times.”
Individual donations will be open on the fund’s website, www.tnactionforhospitality.com, on April 13.