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Project Bento is a major initiative that, through an innovative platform, provides urgent support to independent restaurants, minority-owned businesses and their employees most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, economic and social crisis. Using the power of sponsorship matching, larger organizations and donors can multiply their impact for these struggling small businesses through their generous contributions. Project Bento was created by Marcus Samuelsson, Derek Evans with Samir Arora and the Sage Digital team to bring together, all in one place, a way for sponsors and donors to provide funds to businesses and their employees—and see the actions and impact of their relief efforts.



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Thank you to our recent donors for your generosity!  ❤️

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What is Project Bento?

Project Bento’s mission is to help restaurants, local and minority businesses and their employees most impacted by COVID-19 and social unrest in need now and through recovery.

Project Bento helps bring urgent relief to those experiencing extraordinary hardship, by providing the first nationwide matching fund for campaigns supporting charities helping provide meals for people most in need, supporting employees relief, and restart and rebuild funds.

Project Bento was founded by Marcus Samuelsson, Derek Evans with concerned chefs, owners and celebrities with help from Samir Arora with the Sage Digital team and concerned technology leaders to bring together, all in one place, a way for sponsors and donors to provide funds to the COVID-19 and social unrest related relief efforts by leading chefs and local business owners.

What is the Project Bento Fund?

​The Project Bento Fund is a matching fund created to help 501(c)(3) charities, employee relief and restart/rebuild funds in which Sponsors and Donors can choose exactly how to apply their funds—to all participating campaigns or to a specific minority, region, charity, restaurant, organization or employees or restart/rebuild fund campaigns.

​Who are the beneficiaries of the Project Bento Fund?

​The Project Bento Fund, operated by Project Bento, provides matching funds to participating restaurants and local businesses that benefit the following nonprofit charities: World Central Kitchen, Citymeals on Wheels, Support Our Staff, Restart and Rebuild and Minority-owned business Funds

​100% of all funds raised through donations on will go to your chosen beneficiary 501(c)(3) charities, support employee and restart and rebuild funds that are tackling relief efforts and food insecurities.

​Project Bento is built on the Sage Plus Platform that is charging a 0% application platform fee for participating nonprofit fundraisers for COVID-19 and restart and rebuild efforts.

​Sponsorships and contributions received by Project Bento will be shared as selected by the sponsor with our charity beneficiaries, selected minority–owned business, region, restaurant, employee relief and restart and rebuild funds and/or used to support Project Bento expenses to operate our platform and fundraising efforts. All Donations and sponsorships to the Project Bento and participating fundraisers from all sources may be included in the Amount Raised.

​Who supports the Project Bento Platform?

​So much of our desire to create a simple, effective way to provide urgent relief is due to the generosity of our founding organizers, donors and sponsors, as a result of their personal and financial commitment, all Project Bento operating costs and Campaign Platform Fees, typically 10-20%, are provided by our direct donors and matching funds sponsors so that 100% of all Public Donations on are used to help lives.

How can I donate to the charities, employee and restart/rebuild funds involved?

​You can submit your direct donation online at via a variety of payment methods, including online payment and credit cards. Donors can select campaigns on website, Sage Plus App, embed a donate button on their own sites, add a donate page to their sites and use their Instagram bio link to point to their campaigns. Donors can select the campaign, minority-owned business, restaurant, region and choose the charity and/or employee or restart fund you want to help support. Donors can also optionally pay for the payment transactions fees for charities and add a tip to Project Bento that charges a 0% platform fee for nonprofit fundraising and relies on the generosity of sponsors and donors to operate these services.

​Where did the idea of Project Bento come from?

​On April 23th, 2020 Derek Evans, CEO of Marcus Samuelsson Group spoke to Samir Arora, CEO of Sage Digital about the difficulties restaurants, businesses and their employees were facing along with people in need of food as a result of COVID-19 that led to the creation of Project Bento for the launch of HarlemServesUp with Chef Marcus Samuelsson, Derek and concerned chefs, owners and celebrities for charities, organizations and fundraisers for relief for restaurants, businesses and their employees.

​Project Bento was created to be the first online destination that brings together, all in one place, the actions and impact of the COVID-19 and social unrest related relief efforts by leading chefs, celebrities, organizations and donors.

​How can I join the Project Bento Movement?

Project Bento Founding Organizers hold the vision of Project Bento and are helping build the Project Bento Matching Fund to help people in need.

Project Bento Founding Sponsors include companies, organizations, individuals and family-funds that provide contributions to support campaigns, minority-owned businesses, restaurants, regions, employee and restart/rebuild funds and charities.

​Project Bento Participating Chefs, Owners, Leaders, Artists and Celebrities are helping build Project Bento, help create the Project Bento Fund, and play the vital role of sharing our our vision.

​Project Bento Volunteers provide their energy and love to help people in urgent need.

​How can a restaurant or business be supported by Project Bento?

​Participating Restaurants and Businesses are nominated and verified by Project Bento to receive the Project Bento Matching Fund for campaigns for supported charities, employee relief and restart /rebuild business funds.

​Project Bento Campaigns Directory is a list of external campaigns for charities, employee and restart/rebuild business funds that are promoted by Project Bento as a service to help highlight the efforts and impact of chefs, owners and organizers that are helping bring relief to people in need.

​How does Project Bento report the impact of contributions?

​Project Bento is founded on the principle of using smart technology to provide public data and tracking for campaigns, sponsorships, and donations for relief with live posts, videos and stories on the impact of these efforts.

Participating businesses need to provide daily meals created information using Project Bento best practices using the meal practices of charities and government requirements. Employee relief funds are required to pay the lowest earning members of the team first, then to rest of team, Restart /Rebuild Business funds have to report payments applied towards business rent, utilities, damages, operating and restart costs, if they are open for business and/or to create meals.

​Project Bento provides 100% transparency and reports contributions, donations and charges publicly on

​How does Project Bento support minorities, under represented or repressed voices?

​At the first meeting between Marcus Samuelsson and Derek Evans with Samir Arora and the Sage Digital team in October 2019, Derek spoke about the deep repression of minorities: black, women, and experts/local voices that serves as the foundational pillar of our efforts together. It is our goal at Project Bento to strongly support the movement to find justice in honor of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and many others and use the Project Bento Fund to help minority-owned and damaged businesses and employees in need of urgent relief and support.


Measured impact. Live reporting

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