The idea for CORE was created in 2004. Like many good ideas, the concept for CORE was hatched by a group of friends at a bar after attending the National Restaurant Association’s annual convention in Chicago. CORE’s founders, food and beverage service industry veterans John Niekrash, Larry McGinn, Paul LaConte, Stan Novack and Mara Lee wanted to give back to the industry that they felt so passionate about.

The evening’s discussion centered around the many food and beverage employees who struggle when they or one of their children are faced with an illness or injury. This stress is intensified when an employee must miss work and consequently experience a loss of income. Many hardworking food and beverage employees do not have a safety net to navigate an unexpected health diagnosis, accident, or natural disaster. Given this knowledge, the group of friends banded together to create a charity whose sole purpose was to help those who serve others every day.

That conversation among associates who care for the industry led to the creation of CORE: Children of Restaurant Employees. In the early years, the founders leveraged their networks to raise and grant funds to the restaurant and bar industry. Since then, the organization has grown into a national nonprofit that has helped more than 1,500 families in all 50 States, D.C., and Puerto Rico. It is CORE’s goal to become the charity of choice for the food and beverage industry and to help those who work hard to make it thrive.

A Brief History of CORE

2004 – CORE nonprofit concept created.
2007 – Beverage supplier and agencies across the industry get involved by volunteering to support the mission.
2013 – CORE raised $1,000,000 since inception, hires first full time employees and launches an Ambassador program.
2015 – CORE holds the first annual Founder’s Dinner.
2016 – CORE raises $500,000 and grants more than $250,000 in one year. Launches a Natural Disaster program.
2018 – CORE reaches the milestone of raising $1,000,000 in one year. Ambassador program recruits 100th volunteer.
2020 – CORE launches COVID Relief program and streamlines granting process providing bi-lingual applicant translations.
CORE raises more than $300,000,000 and grants nearly $1,500,000 to families.CORE reaches achievement of granting to all 50 US states since inception.
2021 – CORE undergoes first rebrand.

Founding Partners