If you’ve been trying to find a way to help out your favorite waitstaff or bartender who’s out of a job, the Visit Loudoun Foundation and Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties have an answer.
The Visit Loudoun Foundation has launched the Loudoun Tourism & Hospitality Relief Fund with $10,000 in seed money, and is asking people and businesses to donate in support of Loudoun’s tourism industry professionals impacted by shutdowns and furloughs as a result of COVID-19.
“While we talk about the industry in general, it’s really about the people who make the beds, tell you the daily specials, raise or grow the food on the restaurant tables, brew world-class beer, pour you the perfect glass of wine and greet you with warmth and hospitality who are most affected,” said Visit Loudoun President and CEO Beth Erickson.
Working in tandem with the Community Foundation’s Emergency Relief Fund, the hospitality relief fund will provide grants to charitable organizations that provide direct financial support for individuals who are working in—or just lost a job in—Loudoun’s tourism and hospitality businesses.
“I’ve spoken to a lot of folks who are concerned about their favorite servers, or the people that they have built relationships with at our breweries or wineries,” Erickson said. “…This is a great way for them to help. Our industry is all about relationship building, and so people are very concerned about those that they care about within our industry, and so they want to make sure that they are okay.”
“This is one small way that we can support the tourism and hospitality industry that gives so much to our community,” said Emily Miller, Chair of the Visit Loudoun Foundation. “And the Community Foundation has been a wonderful partner, helping us quickly launch the effort.”
“The key to all of this of getting the funding directly to those in need,” Erickson said. When the Community Foundation makes grants to other nonprofits from this fund, those nonprofits will be required to use that money for people from the hospitality industry.
Erickson credited Community Foundation President and CEO Amy Owen and the Loudoun Chamber for their partnership in developing the fund.
“It came together truly in a matter of days, of identifying a need of part of our community that will be hit particularly hard during these shutdowns and layoffs and business closures,” Erickson said. “So the fact that so many members could step forward and find solutions, is truly community-driven solutions.”
The Loudoun Chamber Foundation is launching a pledge matching fundraising campaign to support the effort.
“While the ongoing coronavirus crisis has impacted every business, no industry has experienced the level of devastating disruption as our hospitality businesses,” said Loudoun Chamber President Tony Howard. “It is their employees—who are our friends, family and neighbors—who have borne the largest brunt of their industry’s suffering.”
“The new Loudoun Tourism & Hospitality Relief Fund shines a light on the heart of this community and will dovetail beautifully with the Community Foundation’s existing Emergency Relief Fund. Both will cover those in need,” Community Foundation president Owen said. “The Tourism & Hospitality Fund will zero in on people who make Loudoun County one of the best places to grow up and grow old.”
Online donations can be made to https://communityfoundationlf.org/product/tandhfund or by check made payable to “Community Foundation”, PO Box 342, Leesburg, VA 20178. Please include “T&H Relief Fund” in the memo line.