Edward Lee, chef-owner of 610 Magnolia and other restaurants in Louisville, Ky., started his nonprofit Lee Initiative five years ago to promote equity and diversity in the restaurant industry. Last March, he launched the Restaurant Workers Relief Program.
There was an immediate outpouring of support, with bourbon producer Maker’s Mark offering seed money to expand nationwide. “In a little over three weeks, we had 21 relief kitchens across the country,” said Lee. He then started the Reboot program to save small, independent farms—a group that “doesn’t have a voice or a platform.” In the past year, five farms and five restaurants in each of eight cities have been funded. This spring, his goal is to raise another $1.5 million for farmers.