Governor Polis, Partners Announce Second Round of Winter Outdoor Dining Fund Grants to Support Restaurants

DENVER, CO (STL.News) Today, Gov. Jared Polis, in partnership with the Colorado Restaurant Association (CRA), the Colorado Restaurant Foundation, Xcel Energy, and the Xcel Energy Foundation announced the latest round of grants for Colorado restaurants.

In a year of challenges, our restaurants, bars, and food trucks and workers have faced hardship and remained resilient through it all,” said Governor Jared Polis.  “This new round of grants from the Winter Outdoor Dining Fund will allow our partners to implement creative solutions, remain in operation and continue to serve their customers while inspiring consumer confidence.”

Funds can be used toward design, construction, applicable fees and supplies (ex: permit fees, tents, heaters).  Grants are distributed through the Colorado Restaurant Foundation*, a 501c3 non-profit that serves as the philanthropic arm of the Colorado Restaurant Association.  In this round, 260 restaurants in 30 counties received grants totaling $1,023,988. During the first round of grant funding, 129 restaurants across the state received aid.  To date, the fund has raised $2,418,305.

“The Colorado Winter Outdoor Dining grant was a lifeline, providing funds for a new outdoor dining space that has already allowed us to hire several new employees,” said Theo Otte, Chef and Co-Owner, 626 on Rood.  “This Winter of COVID has been tough, but the grant is the kind of help that we can use right away – to begin to grow back our business, while also giving us hope and assurance that things can and will get better in the coming months.  Thank you from all of us at 626!”

“We greatly appreciate the opportunity to expand our outdoor dining experience through the Winter Outdoor Dining Fund,”  said Tony Garcia, Founder, Brues Ale House in Pueblo.  “Our riverfront patio is now accessible through the winter months, keeping our patrons happy and maintaining the success of our business.”

Important contributors to the Winter Outdoor Dining Fund include the Colorado Health Foundation, MDC Holdings, New Belgium Brewing Company, DoorDash, Leprino Foods and the Denver Broncos Charitable Foundation.  The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade allocated $500k from the Economic Development Council’s Strategic Fund.

In addition, the Colorado Health Foundation contributed $350,000 to be directed to Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) restaurant owners.

“We’re grateful to Governor Polis and the State of Colorado for partnering with us on this critical effort, and we’re deeply appreciative of all of the funders who made the program a reality.  Restaurants have been telling us for months that they need cash and capacity to survive the pandemic.  This program offered both:  a way to expand seating during winter, and the means to pay for it,” said Sonia Riggs, President and CEO at Colorado Restaurant Association.  “This is not a silver bullet – restaurants still need significant support if they are to make it to the other side of this crisis – but it certainly helped some restaurants keep their doors open for a few more months, and that gets them closer to the finish line.”

This Fall, Gov. Polis, and CRA discussed ways to support local restaurants during this challenging time and announced the grant program.

The Winter Outdoor Grant Program is made possible by a seed commitment from Xcel Energy Foundation and Xcel Energy, which made a $500,000 contribution to the Colorado Restaurant Association Foundation to help support local restaurants through the winter season.  Xcel is also providing a $50,000 match for every $500,000 raised, up to $250,000.