Ontario’s Restaurant & Bar Support Fund, which officially launched in early March, has awarded its first grant.
The Edmund Burke restaurant, a popular spot in Toronto’s Danforth neighbourhood, is the first recipient of a grant from the fund. The money will be going to keep staff at the restaurant employed.
This grant is the first provided by the Fund that will be helping a total of five restaurants across Ontario this week.
Ginger and Russ Robertson, co-owners of the Toronto establishment, expressed appreciation for the Fund’s $5,000 grant, which will help to bring their staff back when the restaurant can re-open.
Ginger Robertson explains that COVID has been devastating for the couple’s business and for their family.
“To try and sum up what COVID has done to hospitality, our community and our family would take several hours. It’s been devastating,” said Robertson. “We have been closed most of the time. The lockdown was only lifted briefly in the summer. We have had to lay off our staff, who are like family to us, three times. The playing field for hospitality has not been level and hasn’t been from the very beginning.”
In speaking of the toll the pandemic is taking on her family, Ginger Robertson added. “In losing everything, I do not know how we are ever going to recover. We were saving to buy a house. We have a six-year-old son who just wants a back yard and that’s gone; it will never happen. So, right now we are in survival mode. We are just trying to stay alive so we can bring our staff back so we can continue to be part of the community here on the Danforth.”
“It is through the generosity of Funds like this that give us a little bit of breathing room and help us. It gives us hope that someday soon we will be open. We are going to use the funds to keep our staff employed. They are like family to us. We thank you very much.”
Tony Carvalho, Chair of the Fund, was pleased to notify The Edmund Burke of their grant.
“We are Ontarians helping fellow Ontarians and we are committed to supporting as many small businesses and entrepreneurs as we can through this difficult period of time,” said Carvalho. “Our ability to assist these small businesses is completely dependent on Ontarians’ generosity. In order to raise the much needed funds, we need corporations and individuals to play their part and to give.”
About the Restaurant & Bar Support Fund
The Fund is a registered not-for-profit organization intent on saving as many food and beverage establishments and jobs in Ontario as possible via generous one-time grants.
The goal is to raise $2 million from supporters to distribute to at least 1,000 businesses to help cover their bills and routine expenses, with no expectation of repayment. It is open to eligible Ontario restaurants, bars, pool halls, pubs, sports bars, and other establishments.
“It’s important to help these establishments and we are committed to supporting as many small businesses and entrepreneurs as we can through this difficult period of time,” Carvalho says. “We saw something like this in the States and we thought why not us? Why not Ontario? There’s no exclusivities and we’re going to give the money back to bars in grants.”
The Fund organizers have set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise the money, and GotSkill? kicked in $25,000 to get things started.
The GoFundMe asks people to donate a modest amount of $25, what Carvalho describes as the cost of an average meal at a restaurant. “That’s not going to break anybody and if enough people do it, I think we’ll more than achieve the $5 million.”
The website has an easy application and grant money for approved applications will be e-transferred to establishments within 10 business days of receipt of all required information and documentation. 100 per cent of funds received will be distributed to applicants, and all fund operation costs are donated by the founding partners.
The primary aim is to provide much-needed support for the industry and ensure there is light at the end of what has been a long, dark tunnel.
“When this is all over, let’s make sure we have places to dine in, to have a drink and have fun and socialize with friends,” urges Carvalho. “That’s why this fund’s important.”
The Restaurant & Bar Support Fund website has full details for both businesses looking for assistance and for donors looking to contribute to the Fund at www.RestaurantandBarSupportFund.ca.
There is a GoFundMe page for patrons who wish to donate: www.gofundme.com/ontario-restaurant-and-bar-support-fund.
There are also corporate partnership opportunities with the Fund.
For more information, contact Tony Carvalho at firstname.lastname@example.org | 416.276.5663