All organizations have a purpose, strategic plan and set of tactical objectives. But only the truly great organizations have a soul. In 1995, we created The Chaîne Foundation in hopes that one day, long after we have all sipped our last Premier Grand Cru, it could provide a meaningful legacy. The dream was that, through the Foundation, we would provide scholarship support to those who brought so much to our tables. In the score of years since its inception, the Chaîne Foundation has provided culinary and hospitality programs around the country with more than $4 million is scholarship support.
In November, Paul Damiano, Bailli of Providence, and Dave Wilson, Bailli Délégué Honoraire and the founder of the Chaîne Scholar program, visited Johnson & Wales University’s Providence campus to present this year’s gift and to meet four students from that campus who were Chaîne Scholars. As an aside, there are six more winners at Johnson & Wales campuses in North Miami, Charlotte and Denver.
And what an honor it was. Not only are these young ladies exceptional students, each, has a dream. Genoa wants one day to be the chef in a Michelin Star restaurant; Mina’s father was a corrections officer and her mother a social worker. Mina wants to work in either a correctional facility or a school where, maybe just maybe, she can make someone’s life a little bit better. Tara plans to continue her studies after her culinary degree and earn a certificate in pastry so that she can open her own catering business. And Gina, who has a sibling with a medical condition wants to continue her studies in food science into graduate school.
These are the Chaîne Scholars and they give us a rare look into the future; a future that today’s youth will shape. Each of these students shared the same story: “Without the scholarship from the Chaîne Foundation, we would not be able to finish our degree programs.”
We, the Chaîne, are simply small angel investors in their futures. But let us never lose sight of the importance of that small investment that we make. And let us never forget the importance of our beloved Chaîne’s soul, The Chaîne Foundation.