Non-profit organisation Be Inclusive Hospitality has been awarded one of 14 funding grants by the Gérard Basset Foundation.
The UK-based organisation, founded by procurement specialist Lorraine Copes in 2019, plans to use the funds to set up ‘Club Thrive', with the aim of providing networking, educational and career opportunities to BIPOC hospitality professionals.
Having raised over £1.2m at the Golden Vines Awards ceremony and dinner and related auctions, the trustees of the Gérard Basset Foundation awarded grants to 14 institutional and community partners in total to fund diversity and inclusivity wine education programmes globally.
Grants were also awarded to fund WSET Level 1 and 2 exams for 350 students at Ghana's Africa Wine Academy; to create a scholarship for six Indigenous students to take the viticulture certificate program at Okanagan College in Canada; to fund an ongoing research project into Indigenous Australian fermentation practices at the University of Adelaide in Australia; and towards a training programme for 20-30 disabled students through Wine on Wheels in the US.
These were in addition to the Golden Vines Diversity Scholarships, worth £55,000 each, which were awarded to Angela Scott and Dr Erna Blancquaert (pictured) in October, as well as the Golden Vines Master of Wine & Master Sommelier Scholarships, worth £12,500 each, awarded to Mags Janjo and Winnie Toh.
Nina Basset, trustee of the Gérard Basset Foundation, said: "With the unprecedented success of the Golden Vines – organised by our partner, Liquid Icons – the foundation has been able to distribute significantly more funds than we could have imagined to further the cause of diversity and inclusivity in the wine industry and – from next year – the spirit and hospitality sectors.
"We received 23 applications for funding globally, with the trustees choosing to fund 14 of these submissions from the UK, Europe, North America, Africa and Australia. However, this is just the start. We hope to be able to put larger sums to work in future years thanks to the generosity of the enormous number of fine wine estates and rare spirit distilleries who are supporting the foundation through their participation in the Golden Vines Fine Wine, Rare Spirit & Experience Auction, the next edition of which will go live on 1 October 2022."
Meanwhile, Lewis Chester has assumed the role of honorary president and head of fundraising at the foundation, stepping down from the board of trustees.
He said: "The person principally tasked with raising funds should not also be responsible for spending those funds; to avoid actual or perceived conflicts of interest, I shall be leaving it to the board of trustees to determine how to spend the foundation's monies, while I focus solely on raising them."
Set up to honour the legacy and memory of master sommelier Gérard Basset, the foundation was founded by Lewis Chester, Nina Basset, Romané Basset, Ian Harris and Jancis Robinson to address the wine, spirits and hospitality industries' most pressing issues through education, training and mentorship.