National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation Highlights Excellence in Community Service


“These stories remind us that restaurants are the heart of our local communities, create jobs, stimulate the economy and serve as a place of gathering,” said Rob gifford, president of the NRAEF. “Even when their doors have been temporarily closed, these companies have found a way to engage with their communities, always putting the well-being of their employees and guests first.”

Among the many American restaurants that have seen significant changes during the pandemic while giving back to their communities, NRAEF highlights the following companies:

Seattle, Washington.

Third generation owners Marc and Brian Canlis personify reinvention and resilience. When forced to temporarily close their fine dining restaurant, they turned their business into a drive-thru movie theater, a roadside barbecue and a crab shack. They launched Canlis Community College, live classes on food and wine, raising $ 60,000 for the fight against hunger at the local level and vocational training. Read more.

Elephant cold cuts
Portland, Ore.

This B-certified company “uses the power of business to solve social and economic problems,” adopting a low-income apartment building and filling its pantry. Aiming to ‘help people help people’, the elephants introduced the ‘good neighbor menu’, offering inexpensive meals that can be bought, donated and delivered to shelters, healthcare workers and first responders. . Read more.

Group of Lebanese taverns
Washington DC, Subway station

This Mediterranean restaurant has 12 establishments since it was founded by the Abi-Najm family in 1979, just a few years after escaping the civil war in Lebanon. Largely responsible for the introduction of “hommus” to the region, the family is very active in the community. They prepared 1,000 meals for the Afghan refugees arriving in the city after a grueling journey and raised $ 150,000 for the Lebanese Red Cross and World Central Kitchen immediately after an explosion in Beirut in 2020. Read more.

“We are honored to partner with the NRAEF to share the journeys of these small and medium-sized catering businesses,” said Curtis Wilson, Vice President / General Manager of the Domestic Customer Group at American Express. “These restaurants have demonstrated not only their resilience, but also their ability to look to the future during a very difficult time, and that is to be commended.”

All NRAEF friends and fans are invited to support the restaurant industry and spread some joy by sharing these uplifting stories on social media. Visit and follow NRAEF on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter to “like” and “share” these stories as they unfold throughout November.

About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation:
As a philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s public service mission is to enhance industry training and education, career development, and community engagement efforts. The NRAEF and its programs aim to attract, empower and advance the restaurant and catering workforce of today and tomorrow. NRAEF programs include: ProStart® – a technical and vocational education program at secondary level; Restaurant Ready – in partnership with community organizations to provide young people and those previously incarcerated with vocational training and employment opportunities; Military – helping servicemen and women transfer skills to careers in catering and catering; Scholarships – financial aid for students pursuing degrees in catering, catering and hospitality; and the Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship project – a partnership with the American Hotel & Lodging Association offering a hospitality apprenticeship program for the industry. For more information on the NRAEF, visit

SOURCE Educational Foundation of the National Restaurant Association

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