Chef Ryan Hidinger was in the process of starting his own restaurant in Atlanta when crisis struck: he was diagnosed with late-stage gall bladder cancer. The Atlanta restaurant industry rallied around him, hosting a community-wide event to raise support for his family and care. Through their hard work and generosity, this tight-knit community’s efforts went beyond expectations, raising over $200,000 for the Hidingers. This large outpouring of support inspired the birth of a new nonprofit: The Giving Kitchen (TGK).
“The account was really easy to set up. And I realized it was something we could use year-round.” — Stephanie Galer, Executive Director of The Giving Kitchen
After the experience with the Hidingers, The Giving Kitchen founders realized there was clearly a need for emergency assistance for metro-Atlanta restaurant workers facing these types of unexpected hardships. Because restaurant workers typically have low wages, variable hours, and weak benefit packages, this type of crisis (e.g. an injury, a natural disaster, the death of a family member) can be unmanageable—and can create a hole that’s difficult to get out of.
“Our goal is to stop the spiral that can start when an unanticipated crisis comes up,” explains Stephanie Galer, Executive Director of The Giving Kitchen. “Our grant money goes a lot farther in keeping them steady and preventing that decline than it would be trying to come back from further setbacks.”
To support their efforts, The Giving Kitchen hosts several food-related events per year—a perfect match for the restaurant industry—and relies on the support of their for-profit partner, Staplehouse restaurant, to continue to help those in need. Though they’re still a rather young nonprofit, The Giving Kitchen has quite a few financial transactions to manage: ticket donations, individual gifts, and the ongoing net profits from Staplehouse that are funneled back to TGK. With so many revenue streams to manage, TGK found themselves in need of a good database and payment processing solution.