ICE held a bake sale to help US hurricane relief efforts in the fall of 2017

ICE Gives Back

Our Community's Philanthropic Efforts


At its core, hospitality is about giving. We are therefore not surprised, and always impressed, by the contributions of time, money and food that we see chefs and restaurants making to a wide range of charities.

As a leader in the culinary and hospitality training field, we think it is important that ICE does more than our share to give back. We hope to be role models and inspire our students, customers and other schools and companies in this regard.

ICE’s charitable and philanthropic activity and initiatives are categorized into four broad areas:

  1. Hunger Relief — Local & Global
  2. Disaster Relief
  3. Education & Training
  4. Enhancing our Community

To achieve these goals, we give money, time, energy and space at the school. We also give scholarships and logistical support to help others raise funds, and much, much more.

City Harvest is one of the country’s oldest and most well-known food rescue organizations. City Harvest has rescued, received and delivered millions of pounds of food to help address hunger and food budget issues faced by the millions of Americans who live at or below the poverty level. ICE Chairman and CEO Rick Smilow is a City Harvest board member.

ICE assists City Harvest with fundraising by hosting donor development events, donating cooking parties as auction items and co-sponsoring one of the organization’s trucks. Additionally, the Smilow family has made a major gift to help enable City Harvest to support the organization’s warehouse and food rescue facility in Brooklyn, New York.

ICE also donates food and ingredients to City Harvest on a daily basis and is now the organization’s “top school donor.”

As an international food relief agency, AAH focuses on hunger relief, clean water and sanitation programs throughout Africa and Asia. ICE Chairman and CEO Rick Smilow was on the Board of Advisors of AAH. Over the years, ICE has, in part or whole, catered donor development events for AAH and contributed classes and parties for fundraising auctions.

In the wake of many of the most broad reaching natural disasters, ICE’s administration, Chef-Instructors and students have a strong track record of pulling together to raise funds for the people and communities who lost the most.

Ukraine Relief
In April 2022, ICE hosted a fundraising dinner to support relief efforts in the wake of the Ukraine invasion. Proceeds from the dinner were donated to Chef Jose Andre’s World Central Kitchen.

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma 
In September 2017, the category 4 Hurricane Harvey devastated part of Texas and Louisiana, shortly followed by the category 5 Hurricane Irma in Florida, causing massive flooding and contributing to the death and displacement of hundreds of people. The ICE community, including employees and students, pulled together and raised over $5,000 to donate to two areas affected by natural disasters. ICE Chairman and CEO Rick Smilow matched the donation, bringing the total amount to $10,000.

Typhoon Haiyan
In 2013, Typhoon Hiyan, one of the most powerful tropical storms ever recorded, devastated part of Southeast Asia and the Philippines. From November 17th to the 26th of 2013, ICE donated 25% of all Gift Card purchases to the Action Against Hunger's Typhoon Haiyan relief fund.

Hurricane Sandy Relief Fundraisers
Hurricane Sandy, also known as “Superstorm Sandy,” wreaked havoc from the Caribbean all the way up to Canada in autumn of 2012. The storm caused major flooding, property damage and power outages across New York City, essentially shutting the city down for weeks. In November 2012, ICE planned and ran a series of recreational classes, with 100% of the proceeds raised provided to targeted relief organizations in New Jersey, Staten Island and Long Island.

Similar events were held for Hurricane Katrina Relief in 2005, and the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004.

Aaron Sanchez Scholarship Fund
Started by award-winning chef, author and philanthropist Aaron Sanchez as part of his dedication to preserving his family’s legacy through food, this foundation aims to empower aspiring chefs by awarding full culinary scholarships to ICE along with housing, living expenses and ongoing mentorship. ICE has financially contributed to, and hosted, these inspiring students since 2021.

Careers Through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP)
Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) operates in seven U.S. locations and works to provide career opportunities in the food service industry for underserved youth through culinary arts education and employment. In partnership with public schools, local businesses and organizations, C-CAP provides a host of services that include teacher training, jobs and internships, college advising, after-school programs, product donations and scholarships.

ICE Chairman and CEO Rick Smilow served as a board member of C-CAP for 10 years and still serves as an advisor. Other aspects of ICE’s support of C-CAP include:

  • Granting annual scholarships (over $100,000) so that a range of new NYC and Los Angeles high school graduates can attend ICE
  • Hosting the annual New York City scholarship competition cook-off, which sees dozens of high school students descend on the ICE kitchens in NYC and LA for two weekends to practice and then compete to win a scholarship to culinary school. ICE instructors act as judges and mentors throughout the weekends.
  • Hosting a one-week cooking summer camp for 16 high school students prior to their senior year

In 2005, Rick Smilow served as Benefit Chair for the organization’s annual honors fundraiser that raised $525,000.

ICE Cares
The ICE Cares Scholarship was created to enable applicants in financial need to pursue their dreams of attending ICE. Applicable to our Culinary Arts, Pastry & Baking Arts and Plant-Based Culinary Arts programs, awardees can receive grants of up to $25,000. Up to 20 scholarships are awarded each year to academically qualified students who have completed the financial aid process but were unable to secure sufficient funds.

James Beard Foundation
Best known for its annual James Beard Award ceremony that highlights outstanding professionals across the culinary landscape. ICE is an active member of this NYC-based foundation, dedicated to elevating the status of chefs and the culinary arts in America. (In fact, the James Beard Foundation’s founding Chairman and CEO, Peter Kump, was also the founder of ICE.) ICE offers several annual scholarships through the foundation.

Additionally, ICE student volunteers can be found cooking and assisting at the James Beard Foundation’s NYC townhouse and headquarters over 150 nights a year.

STREETS International
Based in Hoi An, Vietnam, STREETS International is an innovative culinary and hospitality job training program founded by former ICE Restaurant & Culinary Management instructor Neal Bermas. STREETS designed and operates an 18-month training program for orphans and impoverished young people in Vietnam. STREETS is a rare nonprofit that has a revenue source, its popular café in Hoi An’s tourist district that the Lonely Planet Guide now ranks as one of the town’s “Must See” restaurants! ICE is a key supporter of STREETS, and ICE Chairman and CEO Rick Smilow is a STREETS board member.

New York City Board of Education
ICE has hosted many development courses for dozens of New York City school system cooks and managers.

New York City Fire Department
Periodically, ICE hosts a hands-on cooking class for disabled and/or retired New York City firefighters.

9/11 Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund
Following the 2001 World Trade Center tragedy, ICE set up a $50,000 scholarship fund for family members of victims to attend ICE’s career programs. This fund allowed a range of people to start a new career.

Support of Other Culinary Organizations
Assorted fundraising and/or logistical support to groups including Slow Food, Wellness in the Schools (WITS), Black Culinarian Alliance, American Institute of Wine and Food and the Ohio-based Culinary Vegetable Institute.

Support of Other Organizations
Finally, ICE aims to support a wide range of other organizations with auctions or fundraising gift certificates. Representative charities include:
March of Dimes
Fresh Air Fund
Boys & Girls Clubs
God’s Love We Deliver
Autism Speaks
The Nature Conservancy
Sloan-Kettering Hospital