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Hope and Help

There has never been a year like this one – not for The LEE Initiative, the restaurant industry, the country or the world. We have experienced hardships like never before and while it has been heartbreaking to witness the nation-wide struggles, it has also renewed our faith in humanity. We have seen our neighbors come together again and again. Your donations have funded millions of meals for unemployed families, provided books and toys, funded computer labs, provided masks to essential workers, helped small farms and restaurants, and lifted our community. With your help, we are making our biggest impact right now. If you are looking for ways to celebrate the holiday season while giving back to those in need, please check out our gift guide below. It is a joyful way to give, either to yourself or your loved ones, and feel good knowing you are fueling us in our mission to help our communities across the nation. And while we thank you for your help, more than anything, we are so grateful for your hope.

Support Our restaurant partners, BUy A Giftcard.

Give the gift of unique Bourbon

This holiday season, treat bourbons fans – and yourself – to a once in a lifetime gift with the Maker’s Mark CommUNITY Batch Bottle. For the first time in history, our partners at Maker’s Mark have created a one-of-a-kind small batch bourbon, using the wood stave recipes chosen by independent restaurateurs from across the country. Maker’s Mark has donated all the costs of production, which means that every cent of the $70 price of this bottle will go directly to the LEE Initiative. The custom look of this bottle draws from their signature design but also features the LEE Initiative logo in red wax, making this an instant collectors’ item. And the taste? Each bottle includes information about the esteemed restaurants that have contributed to this superb blended bourbon. The unique flavor profile of this bourbon will never be repeated. There are only 7,500 bottles in existence and when they’re gone, they’re gone. Don’t miss the chance to own this historic bourbon that will help so many get through this challenging time!


“Put a Toy Under the Tree” for Restaurant Workers children

Restaurant industry workers have had to bear an enormous financial burden during this pandemic. Help us make this holiday season special for the children of restaurant industry workers by donating to help them buy gifts for their little ones. Thanks to a generous donation from our friends at PNC Bank, the LEE Initiative will be giving $50 gift certificates per child to any restaurant worker parent who applies here. The gift certificates will go towards locally owned businesses in Louisville & Lexington. This program will directly support Kentucky families, and the more donations we can collect, the more families we can help.

Chef Edward Lee

Cook with Chef Edward Lee

Gather ’round with six of your friends and family for a private and interactive Zoom cooking class with Chef Lee as he prepares a meal with you. He’ll be sure to give you tips and quips to your heart’s delight. And whose heart doesn’t need to be delighted right about now? $1000, limit 3.


New Year, New SOcks

Out with the old and in with the bold! Dress your ankles with our LEE Initiative custom socks covered with our grateful smiling faces and LEE logos. These cotton- polyester blend socks are sure to provide comfort and upgrade any conversation. Two sizes available in limited quantities.


S/M = Men’s 6-8.5 or Women’s 7-9.5
M/L = Men’s 9-13 or Women’s 9-13.5


Feed a Family with JCPS Family Meal

From now until the end of 2020, the LEE Initiative, in partnership with JCPS, Churchill Downs, Humana and Audi, will supply chef-driven family dinners to all students who are enrolled in Jefferson County Public Schools. Not only are families suffering from reduced incomes but many parents are also working full-time while trying to manage at-home schooling, leaving little time cook nutritious family meals. Our JCPS Family Meals program allows parents to pick up dinner for their entire family two nights per week, all crafted with love and pride. This program has also allowed us to provide jobs for many previously unemployed chefs in our community. Our funding for this program will need your help to make it across the finish line. Please consider a donation which will directly go towards feeding a family in Louisville.