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James Beard Foundation Secures $800,000 in Funding for Chicago Awards

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Hillary Dixler Canavan is Eater's restaurant editor and the author of the publication's debut book, Eater: 100 Essential Restaurant Recipes From the Authority on Where to Eat and Why It Matters (Abrams, September 2023). Her work focuses on dining trends and the people changing the industry — and scouting the next hot restaurant you need to try on Eater's annual Best New Restaurant list.

The James Beard Foundation has already secured a substantial chunk of funding for the 2015 awards ceremony in Chicago. According to the Chicago Tribune, the city's tourism bureau has "committed to raise nearly $2 million in sponsorships" for the event, with no "public money" being spent. The tourism bureau is "ink[ing] sponsors on the foundation's behalf" and so far has raised about $800,000 from two organizations: travel dining and shopping company HMSHost and Illinois supermarket chain Mariano's. Both companies have signed "letters of intent" that are now being formalized.

Since rumors about the ceremony's move to Chicago began brewing earlier this year, funding has been a big part of the conversation. JBF president Susan Ungaro told the Tribune back in February that the move was not yet confirmed as the city had not made a "financial offer." Ungaro now explains why the money is so important, saying "It's a very compelling opportunity for a small foundation like ours to be able to raise money to advance our programs ... But the decision is not just about funding." The 2015 James Beard Foundation Awards will be held on Monday, May 4 2015 at Chicago's Civic Opera House.

· Chicago's Fundraising for Beard Foundation Awards Gets First $800,000 [Chicago Tribune]
· All James Beard Awards Coverage on Eater [-E-]