Detroit Chef Kiki Louya Is Restaurant Staff’ Community Foundation’s New Executive Director

The Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation, a not-for-profit national advocacy group, has selected Detroit-based Kiki Louya as its first executive director.

The chef, entrepreneur, and activist will lead strategy, new initiatives, and day-to-day operations for nonprofits founded by industry veterans. Her appointment ends a five month national search.

Louya joins the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation after a period of tremendous growth and will help steer its future and an industry emerging from the pandemic. The foundation, which took shape in 2018, gained momentum in helping frontline workers during the pandemic, providing aid to restaurant workers, other nonprofits helping industrial workers in crisis, and restaurant businesses in the form of interest-free loans. Thanks to the support, the foundation raised $ 7 million for Restaurant Workers’ COVID-19 Crisis Relief Fund. In March 2021, the RWCF launched a fund for racial justice that aims to help create a fairer and more equitable hotel industry.

Louya, who recently took on the role of Top Chef: Portland, said she spent a lot of time thinking about what was coming next. RWCF makes “a ton of grants for really amazing nonprofits, and their buckets are really about everything that speaks to me personally, including pay equity, racial equality, gender equality, gender equality, immigration reform, and all of those things that affect workers in the industry on a large scale, ”says Louya Eater. “I think this is a wonderful time to be with this organization, given where the restaurant industry is now, at a point where significant change can and really should happen.”

As a fundraiser, Louya has raised more than $ 200 million for a number of organizations including the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, the New York Public Library, and the Dearborn Heights-based social services organization Vista Maria. Detroit’s Rosedale Park resident also served as an economic development manager for Grandmont Rosedale Development Corp. where she ran pandemic relief programs for hundreds of small businesses.

The chef takes the helm with more than 20 years of experience in food and beverage management as well as in the non-profit sector. Louya, the former founder and cook of Folk and Farmer’s Hand restaurants, gained national attention for advocating justice and paying her employees better. The New York Times named her one of 16 black chefs switching groceries in America in 2019. Louya is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Le Cordon Bleu.

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• How the farmer’s hand promotes community in a tiny Corktown market [ED]

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