Gifts To Our Community: Apron, Inc.
Dawn Bianconcini, a co-founder of APRON, says that taking care of our independent restaurants has never been more critical.
Granting Survivability to Restaurants
When APRON Inc. began in 2011, co-founders Dawn and Luca Bianconcini envisioned it as an organization that would help local independent restaurant workers when they encountered short-term difficulties — like a broken arm — that would temporarily impact their ability to work. Never in a million years did they anticipate COVID-19 and its impact on the food service and tourism industries.
Over the years, APRON has provided grants to restaurant workers for things like broken bones but also for cancer treatments. APRON has helped workers when their restaurants flooded or had a fire or a roof collapse, and they weren’t able to work until those problems were resolved. With COVID-19, the needs of restaurants and their staffs are even greater. This year alone, APRON has given hundreds of thousands of dollars as part of nearly 700 grants.
Typically, APRON’s three largest fundraisers are A Taste of Independents, Dine Around, and the Maker’s Mark Distillery Tour, but the pandemic has made it impossible to have those events safely. This year’s fundraiser, which is scheduled for the remainder of 2020 and into 2021, is Chef in a Box. Each week, a different chef from a local restaurant creates a signature dish for two to go. Of the $50 cost, half goes to APRON and half supports the restaurant. This unique outside-the-box concept has been hugely popular because so many beloved independent restaurants are participating.
Dawn says local chefs are now competing to see which one can come up with the most interesting meals when it is their “Chef in a Box” week. “It’s been one of our most successful fundraisers,” she says, crediting Caroline Knop and Dan Dry for the idea. Dawn says the local community has stepped up to try to help restaurant workers, which is especially critical since people aren’t traveling as much. “People come to our city to eat here and to drink bourbon. Taking care of our local independent restaurant folk is very important. It’s a part of our community,” she says.
Dawn Bianconcini says, “PEOPLE COME TO OUR CITY TO EAT HERE AND TO DRINK BOURBON. TAKING CARE OF OUR LOCAL INDEPENDENT RESTAURANT FOLK IS VERY IMPORTANT.”