2020 Charity Partners


IRAEF Restaurant Employee Relief Fund

As the restaurant industry continues to face the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (IRAEF) has established the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund. A statewide emergency assistance fund that will provide direct financial support to restaurant industry workers, the IRAEF Employee Relief Fund is possible thanks to the generosity of founding donors at Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, NBC/Telemundo, Constellation, Beam Suntory, Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois (ABDI), EMPLOYERS and Josh Cellars. 

The Fund will provide one-time financial support to restaurant employees in Illinois facing unforeseen hardship due to COVID-19. Funds will assist employees who have been diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19), who are providing care for an immediate family member who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, or have been out of work for three weeks or more with no unemployment benefits. Applications will open mid-October.

IRA Educational Foundation

The Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation offers life-changing opportunities for students and provides direction for potential culinary and hospitality career paths. From September 14 - 30 Chicago Gourmet will host its annual Virtual Auction.  One hundred percent of the proceeds from the Auction provide scholarships for aspiring chefs and hospitality professionals.

The IRAEF scholarships initiative has provided over $3 million dollars in scholarships to qualified students to date. With generous support of dedicated sponsors, the IRAEF is shaping Illinois' hospitality workforce through career development and exploration programs, scholarships and image enhancement.



            September 2021            

Presenting Sponsor

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