our team

Meet Our Leadership

We are proud of our committed and passionate staff driven by our common mission to create build the culinary industry among marginalized businesses.

Our History

In 2020, amid a global pandemic, Black Restaurant Weeks LLC established Feed the Soul Foundation. The idea to establish Feed the Soul Foundation occurred as Black Restaurant Weeks, LLC traveled to various cities and noticed the systemic challenges of marginalized culinary businesses. Feed the Soul Foundation expands Black Restaurant Week’s mission by providing resources to culinary industry entrepreneurs across the US from the Black, LatinX, Indigenous, disabled, formerly incarcerated, LGBTQIA+, and other marginalized communities. In order to ensure success of their non-profit, Black Restaurant Weeks, LLC identified their Co-Executive Directors to lead the national non-profit, Jonathan Howard and Dr. Asheli S. Atkins.
Unlike many emerging non-profit organizations, Feed the Soul caught the eye of Maker’s Mark, a global titan in the beverage industry. With the support of Maker’s Mark, Feed the Soul launched the first of many programs, the Restaurant Business Development Fund (RBDF). The investment from Maker’s Mark was followed by countless other corporations including Grubhub and Kendra Scott. Feed the Soul Foundation emerged to level the playing field and close the gaps that exist between the amazing culinary concepts of business owners and the path to healthy, sustainable business models for those concepts.

Feed the Soul Team

Juana Collins, Executive Director

Karina Fernandez, Director

Board of Directors

Falayn Ferrell, Chair

Managing Partner, Black Restaurant Weeks, LLC

Maria Cruz-Garcia, Treasurer

President & CEO MCG Solutions

Derek Robinson, Secretary

Managing Partner, Black Restaurant Weeks, LLC

Warren Luckett, Board Member

Founder, Black Restaurant Weeks, LLC

Karinn Chavarria, Board Member

Co-Founder Latin Restaurant Week

Julian Boyd, Board Member

President, Boyd Franchising LLC

Justin Nicks, Board Member

Sr. Commercial Director, Anheuser-Busch

Darren “Chip”Joyner, Board Member

Joyner Ventures

Chef Dayanny De La Cruz, Board Member

Vice President of Culinary, Levy Restaurants

Sarah Freddie, Board Member

Administration & Finance Manager, Houston Airport System IAH-HOU

Our Core Values

What we believe in


Serving as a liaison for the marginalized culinary industry, through financial assistance and business training and development, we feed those who feed the community.


Through the identification of industry experts and the support of major corporations, Feed the Soul humbly understands we can not level the playing within the industry without a collaborative mindset.


With an understanding of the systemic barriers that face marginalized groups, the ever changing climate of the culinary industry, and the current public health disaster, compassion is at the heart of every program and initiative we develop.

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