LGBTQ Friendly Guy Fieri Helps Raise Over $20M for Restaurant Employees

LGBT-friendly Food Network celebrity, restaurateur and author Guy Fieri, 52, partnered with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) to raise more than $20M. The money supports and is distributed by the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund, helping industry workers facing financial hardships as an impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. More on Fieri's efforts and his gay-friendly background below...

From Guy Fieri might be the Mayor of Flavortown, but the chef and Food Network personality is now earning widespread praise this weekend for helping to raise over $20 million with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation for the new Restaurant Employee Relief Fund. The fund was created to help the millions of restaurant employees who have been out of work due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives host said he reached out to several major food brands to ask them to donate.

Fieri told TMZ Thursday he raised $21.5 million and has awarded over 40,000 grants worth $500 each, reports Variety. "I started thinking about my brothers and sisters in the restaurant business, and a bunch of restaurants that I was closing — we gotta do something," he said. "I started sending personal video invitations to all the heavy-hitter CEOs that are involved in the restaurant business... As long as the money comes in, we’re going to continue to give these grants."

While on TMZ, Fieri reminded his fans to order from small, local restaurants to support them during the coronavirus pandemic, as many are still open for take-out. "They need your takeout, they need your delivery so if they’re available, please go give them some biz," the Food Network star said. "It helps pay the electricity and the insurance."

People can still donate to the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund by clicking here. More than 60,000 businesses have already applied for grants, and applications are closed at the moment. "During these challenging times, the NRAEF's mission to support the industry's workforce is more important than ever," Rob Gifford, NRAEF president, said in a statement to CNN. "With Guy as our champion and the support of so many generous companies, we can help get our family of restaurant workers back on their feet."

On Twitter, Fieri's act of kindness was widely praised on Twitter. It brought to mind many of the other times when he helped those in need. Many fans pointed to his decision to officiate 101 gay weddings in Miami in 2015 during an event to honor celebrity chef Art Smith. Fieri's late sister was a lesbian, and decided the best way to honor her memory was by officiating the ceremony.

Source, Daniel S. Levine for