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SoCalGas Adds $525,000 Donation to Restaurant Fund

First published in the May 19 print issue of the Pasadena Outlook.

SoCalGas recently announced a second $525,000 donation to the California Restaurant Foundation’s Restaurants Care Resilience Fund.
Last year, SoCalGas co-founded the fund to help small businesses recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and was also a leading donor, committing $525,000 last year.
Qualifying restaurants throughout SoCalGas’ service area can apply for a $3,000 grant, which can go to support equipment upgrades, employee retention and deferred maintenance.
“Restaurants and the families and employees that run them showed incredible resilience and strength as they adapted their businesses to serve all of us during the pandemic,” said David Barrett, vice president and general counsel at SoCalGas and a board member of the California Restaurant Foundation.
“Last year’s grants provided essential support to local restaurants as they struggled to keep their doors open. This year, grant funds will provide support for kitchens or crews, while overall supporting restaurant resiliency,” he added.
Alycia Harshfield, executive director of the California Restaurant Foundation, said that the organization is honored that SoCalGas has returned as a partner for this year’s Resilience Fund.
“(We are) extremely grateful they identified the program as being worthy of one of their largest charitable donations planned for this year,” she said.
She also said SoCalGas’ contribution will help independent restaurant owners across Central and Southern California invest in “their people, their equipment and ultimately, the long-term health and success of their business.”
This year, the Restaurants Care Resilience Fund will award nearly $1.5 million in grants to small businesses.
The Zagat-rated Shiro restaurant in South Pasadena has been serving French food for more than 34 years and received a grant last year.
“There are no words to express our gratitude for receiving your funds during our turmoil to cope with COVID-19 closures,” said Irene Yokoi, Shiro’s owner. “It has helped us a great deal, especially for covering the cost of payroll.”
In addition to providing financial support to restaurants, SoCalGas offers programs and services for selecting energy-efficient equipment for any commercial customer.
Restaurant owners can schedule a “try-before-you-buy” equipment demo to test-drive gas cooking equipment before making a purchase, sign up for an energy survey by a utility expert and receive information about rebates and incentives on qualified gas cooking equipment, water heating, heat-recovery products and installation of eligible energy-efficient upgrades.
Grants will be available to all California-based restaurant owners with fewer than three units and less than $3 million in revenue. Priority will be given to restaurants owned by women and people of color.
Last year, the Resilience Fund awarded 318 grants to independent restaurant owners, 65% of which were women-owned and 83% were owned by people of color.
SoCalGas’ partnership with the California Restaurant Fund is part of the company’s ASPIRE 2045 sustainability goals, which includes a commitment to invest $50 million to drive positive change in diverse and underserved communities over the next five years.
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