Texas Restaurant Association Launches TX Restaurant Relief Fund

Mar 23

Non-Profit Fundraising Initiative to Support Independent Restaurateurs and Their Employees

Amidst one of the most unparalleled times in our history, while the shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic catastrophically impact restaurants across the nation, the Texas Restaurant Association’s Education Foundation (TRAEF) has established the TX Restaurant Relief Fund to provide immediate financial support to Texas’ independent restaurateurs and their employees.

The Texas Restaurant Association (TRA) has been and continues to be at the forefront of navigating this crisis, fighting daily to support the evolving needs of Texas’ more than 50,000 restaurants and their 1.4 million employees. As the Association continues to work with local, state, and federal officials to ensure that the essential services provided by restaurants remain available to our communities, we must also look toward the survival and the immediate financial need of restaurateurs and their employees.

The TX Restaurant Relief Fund, established through the Texas Restaurant Association Education Foundation (TRAEF), the not-for-profit workforce development arm of the TRA, has a simple yet critical mission: To provide immediate financial relief to Texas’ independent restaurateurs with funds designed to save employee jobs. Independent restaurateurs will be eligible to apply for grants of up to $5,000 per unit through the TX Restaurant Relief Fund.

“Restaurants are facing a challenge unlike anything we’ve seen before,” said Dr. Emily Williams Knight, President and CEO of the Texas Restaurant Association and Education Foundation. “We know that help is on the way, however, it can’t come fast enough. We thought long and hard about establishing this fund, but as the leader in industry education and workforce training and certification across Texas, we knew the TRA/TRAEF had to play a critical role in this relief effort. Restaurant owners are in a fight for their lives and those of the employees they value most. I am proud that in partnership with our incredible partners, suppliers and frankly, anyone who loves restaurants, we will be able to play a key role in supporting the industry we all need and love”.

This relief fund was designed to provide independent restaurants with immediate financial support that will supplement the low-interest loans and other relief packages being readied by our federal and state governments. “As a small business owner, myself, I have felt the direct impact of the Governors Executive Order mandating the closure of dine-in options across the state,” said Sharon Van Meter, Chairwoman of the TRAEF Board of Trustees. “I know every bit of support we can provide owners could result in them being able to stay open for one more day, or to keep one more employee working. In times like this, every bit of financial relief helps.”

The TX Restaurant Relief Fund has a goal to raise a minimum of $10 million to be able to provide immediate support to 2,000 restaurant locations across the State of Texas. The real need is much greater, and so the Association will continue to raise funds and issue grants on a first come, first served basis.

“Eating in restaurants brings people together. Restaurants are the heart of every community, where sporting events, engagements and family celebrations are held. Our independent restaurants are community members. By supporting the independent restaurants that make up the core of where you live, you are supporting the future of your own community and ensuring that when this crisis is over, your favorite taco, barbeque or salad shop is open and thriving,” said Knight.

The TRA is calling out to all of the industry’s suppliers, distributors, allied vendor partners, and other corporations to support the TX Restaurant Relief Fund. Texans get more than 50% of their food from restaurants. We must band together to ensure that they don’t just remain open for our needs today, but that they are here tomorrow and continue to play an integral role in society and in each of our lives.

All donations to the TX Restaurant Relief Fund are fully tax-deductible, subject to applicable laws and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations. Donations can be made by texting “TRRF” to 31996, via the Fund’s website,, or by emailing

About the Texas Restaurant Association Education Foundation (TRAEF)
Established in 1994 by the Texas Restaurant Association, the TRA Education Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization focused on providing the necessary resources to help restaurateurs confront educational and labor challenges with the latest innovations in education, technology, and training. The Foundation's mission is to provide educational opportunities to build and maintain a strong professional foodservice workforce in Texas. The organization's flagship program is Texas ProStart, an industry-based, two-year high school culinary arts and restaurant management curriculum. Texas ProStart is currently in more than 150 Texas high schools, reaching more than 15,000 students annually.


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