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Amex-Backed Grant Program Returns to Support Local Restaurants in Toronto

June 2, 2023

TORONTO, June 2, 2023 – American Express Canada is excited to announce the ‘Backing International Small Restaurants’ program is back for a second year. From now until applications close, small restaurant owners in Toronto can apply to receive one of six grants of $19,500 CAD each to use towards making critical improvements to help their businesses thrive.

The program, run by the International Downtown Association Foundation and supported by American Express, first launched last year and was created to offer support to independent restaurants with community significance owned by individuals from underrepresented and/or economically vulnerable groups in five major cities globally. The grants helped selected local restaurants in Toronto make physical improvements, support critical operating costs, and positively impact the experiences they provide to their communities.

“Local restaurants are essential to the vibrancy of our neighbourhoods and are special places where people meet and connect,” says Kerri-Ann Santaguida, General Manager and Vice President of Merchant Services, American Express Canada. “We’re especially proud to offer this opportunity to independent restaurants, and to be able to help these business owners continue to serve their customers in a such a meaningful way.”

Small restaurant owners can learn more about program eligibility and apply for the grant through Friday, July 7 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Applicants will be asked to explain how they will use the grant to help make improvements to drive their business forward.

"As we launch the Backing International Small Restaurants program for the second year, we recognize the vital role that small, independent restaurants play in our communities,” said David Downey, Executive Director, IDA Foundation. “This program is a demonstration of our commitment to supporting these businesses and helping them thrive and succeed in the wake of ongoing economic challenges worldwide. It is an honor to implement this innovative work with the generous support of American Express.”

To submit an application, visit: https://downtown.org/event/bisr/


American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. American Express was established in Canada in 1853 and offers a variety of consumer and business products. Learn more at americanexpress.ca and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.


The IDA Foundation is the non-profit arm of the International Downtown Association, a Washington, D.C.-based organization empowering place management leaders with knowledge, research, and public policies for creating prosperous city centers, commercial neighborhoods and liveable urban places for all. Visit https://downtown.org/ for more information.

For further information, contact: Nicola McGroarty, Nicola.McGroarty1@aexp.com

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