SANTA BARBARA — More than 70 restaurants in Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez Valley received relief grants thanks to $500,000 in funding provided by the Elaine F. Stepanek Foundation Restaurant Fund and the Santa Barbara Foundation.
The designated funding is providing much-needed aid to local restaurants hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. Within the grant program, eligible restaurants could receive up to $10,000 in funding. The funding application opened Feb. 4 and closed Feb. 22.
“The grant we received from the Elaine F. Stepanek Foundation Restaurant Fund has been invaluable in allowing us to reopen after a prolonged shutdown,” Kelly Kastanos-Rogers, co-owner of Louie’s California Bistro in downtown Santa Barbara, said in a statement. “We were able to stock our shelves with the seafood and produce to prepare for opening, and we were able to provide our employees with the first paycheck many of them have had in months. We will be forever grateful.”
The Elaine F. Stepanek Foundation Restaurant Fund is a committee-advised fund with the Santa Barbara Foundation. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization has provided relief funding for small businesses and nonprofits struggling to stay afloat during the crisis.
“The Santa Barbara Foundation is working hard to connect resources and ease the short and long-term effects of COVID-19,” Jessica Sanchez, director of donor relations at the Santa Barbara Foundation, said in a statement. “This committee-advised fund is creating immediate impact and we are grateful to support our community-at-large in this way.”
— Madison Hirneisen