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American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation Bring Back $1 Million Grant Program to Support Historic Small Restaurants

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Now in its second year, the Backing Historic Small Restaurants Grant Program will again award 25 historic U.S. small restaurants with $40,000 grants.

  • The campaign will support restaurants that have contributed to their neighborhood’s unique history as they manage ongoing challenges because of the pandemic.
  • This initiative complements American Express’ dedicated Shop Small campaign launched earlier this month to support independent restaurants.

American Express (NYSE: AXP) announced the next installment of its Backing Historic Small Restaurants Grant Program, which will once again award $40,000 grants, administered by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, to 25 historic small restaurants across the country.

The past year has continued to pose challenges for restaurant owners as they navigate the impacts of the pandemic, including the ebb and flow of foot traffic as new coronavirus variants emerged. According to the National Restaurant Association’s 2022 State of the Restaurant Industry, more than half of restaurant operators surveyed have indicated that it would be a year or more before business conditions return to normal. Further, 96% of restaurant operators surveyed have experienced supply delays or shortages of key food or beverage items in 2021, and these challenges will likely continue in 2022.

To address these challenges, American Express is again working with the National Trust for Historic Preservation to bring back the Backing Historic Small Restaurant Grant Program, first launched in February of 2021, to help small restaurants that have contributed to the fabric of their communities so they can better serve their customers, financially recover, and grow their businesses. The focus of the program will be on historic small restaurants that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

“Historic restaurants have long been some of the most important establishments in our communities,” ​​said Jennifer Skyler, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at American Express. “They are places where families and friends gather, build relationships, share meals, and celebrate. While their future looks bright, many of these restaurants are still carrying the weight of the pandemic, and we are here to support them through this next phase of recovery.”

“American entrepreneurship is a defining aspect of our nation’s heritage, and historic commercial landmarks are essential to community identity and economic vitality,” said Katherine Malone-France, Chief Preservation Officer for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “This initiative acknowledges that legacy restaurants are not only welcoming spaces where people share their traditions and foodways but also gathering places where history is made in meaningful ways, small and large, over and over again.”

One 2021 grantee, Neir’s Tavern, located in Queens, NY, said of their grant, “Learning that we were a recipient of a Backing Historic Small Restaurants grant during this bleak time gave us hope, and played a big role in our pandemic recovery. It allowed us to move forward with the much-needed outdoor renovations, including new signage and an awning. We also purchased new tables and chairs. Neir’s Tavern and the entire community are incredibly grateful for this generous grant.”

Now in its second year, this program builds on American Express’ ongoing Backing Small initiative to provide economically vulnerable small businesses with financial support and other resources to address their critical needs and challenges, which include Small Business Saturday and grant programs like the Coalition to Back Black Businesses and the recent Services That Back Us program.

Independent small restaurants that have been in business for over 25 years and that operate in historic buildings or neighborhoods are eligible to apply for grants. Restaurant owners can learn more and apply for the grant program here.1 Additionally, restaurant enthusiasts can nominate their favorite establishments that fit the criteria for consideration. Formal applications and public nominations will be accepted beginning at 10:00 AM ET on March 21, 2022, through 11:59 PM ET on April 4, 2022.

Source: American Express

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