It’s been a year since we officially became a program of the Emeril Lagasse Foundation. We’ve done so many things to grow and improve our work for Latino youth. Let's take a look back at our accomplishments so far:
My name is Jennifer Killian and technically I was hired 13 months ago. I’m thrilled to be the director of the program, and the first full-time person on Chef Aarón’s team to focus on his philanthropic work. It’s a very rewarding position that I am proud to hold. But I’ve learned quickly that it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Most importantly, we redefined our mission statement – to uplift the lives of Latino youth through food.
We rebranded the program to become the Aarón Sánchez Impact Fund. We replaced the word “scholarship” with “impact,” allowing us to continue the culinary arts scholarship program, while also expanding to provide other services for Latino youth such as mentoring and human services.
We began a nationwide solicitation encouraging young Latinos to apply for our Class of 2023 scholarships.
We hosted a Kickoff Party in New Orleans, LA with the Emeril Lagasse Foundation to announce our partnership while also featuring our Class of 2022 scholarship recipients.
Our Class of 2022 students traveled to New Orleans for a mentorship trip, providing them additional mentoring time with Chef Aarón and his business partners. They also experienced a private tour of the kitchen at Emeril’s flagship restaurant with Chef David Slater, toured of one of the biggest Louisiana seafood distributors and a locally-owned produce distribution company, and of course had delicious meals to experience the flavors of New Orleans. They even had James Beard award-winning snowballs!
September - October 2022
The Impact Fund issued its first human services grant to the Pajaro Valley Unified School District, helping them install commercial refrigeration equipment that tripled the amount of nutritious foods distributed at their Family Engagement & Wellness Center.
Our Class of 2022 Aarón Sánchez Scholarship recipients completed their culinary arts diploma program from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City, including 200+ hours of paid internships at some of the most esteemed restaurants around town.
We hosted a series of fundraising events during Hispanic Heritage Month including a dinner in New Hampshire, a festival in New Orleans, and a virtual cooking event with corporate guests across the country.
Chef Aarón Sánchez and the Aarón Sánchez Impact Fund were featured on the Today Show, along with a tasty recipe for Mexican BBQ Shrimp.
November always brings the Emeril Lagasse Foundation’s Carnivale du Vin, a weekend of events in New Orleans to support youth programs across the country. The Impact Fund was featured throughout the weekend including a live auction package.
Our Class of 2023 Aarón Sánchez Scholarship recipients were selected!
We introduced the Class of 2023: Juan Castaneda, Odiley Torres Molina, Angelique Herron, Giovanna Lamberth-Sarabia, and Odiley Torres Molina.
We helped prepare our scholarship recipients for their big move to New York City for eight months of culinary arts school.
Line, Vine & Dine was held in Fort Lauderdale, FL which was a series of fundraising events for the Emeril Lagasse Foundation. We helped with logistics and also raised funds through their live auction.
Our Class of 2023 students moved into their apartment in New York City, received training on how to use the subway system, and started their adventure towards a culinary arts diploma at the Institute of Culinary Education.
In conjunction with Tequila Cazadores and Louisiana Seafood, we hosted two nights of fundraising with Chefs Paul Kahan and Aarón Sánchez at Big Star Mariscos in Chicago, IL.
Chef Aarón Sánchez attended the Chi Chi Miguel Throwdown fundraising event featuring Chef Emeril Lagasse and many other supporters of youth programs in Destin, FL.
Developed a strategic plan for the Impact Fund’s short-term future, including updating our budget with fundraising goals.
Attended the AFP Icon conference in New Orleans, where Chef Emeril Lagasse was a featured keynote speaker.
Chef Aarón Sánchez was a featured keynote speaker at a CTE teacher’s conference in El Paso, Tx, his hometown, raising awareness for the Impact Fund.
We are quite proud of the accomplishments we've achieved in such a short amount of time. We give a TON of credit to our partners at the Emeril Lagasse Foundation who helped us quickly become established as a reputable youth focused program.
As we look forward, we remain positive and highly optimistic about the future of the Aarón Sánchez Impact Fund.
Our goals are big, yet realistic, especially with a strategic plan in place to guide us. Every day, we are working to build awareness and raise funds to support our mission. Our purpose is to continue changing the lives of Latino youth across the United States - through food.
If you feel that your personal mission aligns with ours, please join us!