An estimated 80 percent of Colorado restaurant workers are not working right now, which means there are more than 150,000 local hospitality pros who can use a financial boost. The government has pledged aid, but to help quickly and directly, local restaurants and their supporters have created grassroots campaigns to raise money now. Many have used the go-to fundraising site, GoFundMe, which, as you can imagine, is getting more use now than ever in its 10-year history.

Read on for a number of charity campaigns posted by or for local restaurants, but keep in mind that these are only a small portion of what’s out there. If you’re able to contribute, check the websites and social media pages of your favorite restaurants, bars, coffee shops, distilleries, and breweries to find out how you can support them.

The Frasca Hospitality Group Staff Relief Fund covers the 222 furloughed employees of Frasca Food and Wine, Tavernetta, Sunday Vinyl, and Pizzeria Locale in Boulder. Money raised helps those workers make up their lost income. The group is also selling at-home wine-tasting experiences, proceeds from which go directly to the staff.

One hundred percent of Improper City’s fundraising campaign goes to the RiNo hangout’s staff, helping your favorite RiNo coffee shop/bar/food truck spot stay afloat.

Both Santo and Blackbelly in Boulder have employee support campaigns, and donors are rewarded with goodies like booze, fancy wines, and restaurant schwag.

Le Bilboquet didn’t have a whole lot of time to build up an army of regulars—the Cherry Creek French restaurant only opened last September—but its furloughed staff needs support, too.

With 623 employees, the TAG Restaurant Group is one of Denver’s largest independent restaurant employers. Donations are split among hourly cooks, dishwashers, servers, bartenders, and hosts.

The majority of the Edible Beats group’s 300-person staff is currently without a source of income. Show your love for the people who keep Root Down, Linger, Vital Root, Ophelia’s, and El Five humming, and as a bonus, executive chef/owner Justin Cucci will match the first $10,000 in donations.

Donate $50 or more to Cattivella’s campaign and score a ticket to an exclusive food- and beer-filled weekend party once the restaurant is able to re-open.

Support the hard-working staff at Crafted ConceptsRioja, Ultreia, and Bistro Vendome/Stoic & Genuine via their respective employee campaigns.

The IE Hospitality restaurants (the Wolf’s Tailor, Basta, Dry Storage, and Brutø) have a GoFundMe campaign to assist the team during the COVID-19 closures. Everything donated will go directly to the employees to help cover essentials during this period.

Avanti Food & Beverage, the popular LoHi food hall, employs 75 front of house workers, all of who have been furloughed as a result of the mandated shutdowns. Their GoFundMe campaign is raising money to put directly into the pockets of those people. Another way to help is with the purchase of grab and go movie bags, available for pick-up Wednesdays through Sundays from 4–9 p.m.

All of the donations to Streets Denver go to its workers, ensuring you’ll be able to get a pint from your favorite bartender at this Colfax institution once the closures are over.

Besides donating to the Quality Italian employee relief fund, you can also help by purchasing gift cards to the Cherry Creek restaurant. Quality Branded, its parent company, will donate 100 percent of profits from gift cards purchased by April 30 to its employees.

The Snooze Compass Foundation was started by employees, for employees as a rainy-day fund to help workers when they need it most. Well, it’s pouring right now, and the fund is providing financial assistance to Snoozers in need, as well as awarding grants to help workers better themselves during the closures via online classes and professional development. The company kicked it off with a $50,000 donation, and it is hoping to crowd-source a matching $50,000.

Dana Rodriguez is a tireless charity supporter, and now the Work & Class and Super Mega Bien chef-owner is looking for support to keep the restaurants going and her staff paid through an aptly named S.O.S (Save Our Snacks) campaign. She’s giving away great perks in exchange for that support, like a car detail by co-owner Tony Maciag in exchange for a $250 donation; a patio buyout for 20 (food and drink included!) for $500; or what’s sure to be a legendary dinner party cooked for you and five guests by Rodriguez herself for $1,000.

The owners of Bird & Jim in Estes Park applied for the Payroll Protection Program (a provision of the CARES Act) and an Economic Disaster Small Business Association loan and are waiting for government aid. In the meantime, the restaurant is asking for donations for its 53 employees, who were laid off after the restaurant decided to temporarily suspend its operations in late March.

The owners of Daughter Thai Kitchen & Bar have partnered with local influencers to launch the COVID-19 Denver Restaurant/Worker Relief fund. Their goal is to support laid-off staff of independent and family-owned restaurants.

Many of  the Fort’s 55 laid off employees have been with the restaurant for years. Support the restaurant’s GoFundMe campaign to raise money for Comfort Food Sundays, when employees and their families can get a free meal.

Arizona-based Upward Projects, which owns Postino in Denver, and Fox Restaurant Concepts, which operates Flower Child, have teamed up to raise money for its employees. Add a donation to your curbside pickup order to help them reach their $500,000 goal.

Allyson Reedy
Allyson Reedy
Allyson Reedy is a freelance writer and ice cream fanatic living in Broomfield.