Michael's Windows of Hope

By ABC Sep 11, 2012

Michael Lomonaco was executive chef at the Windows on the World restaurant during the September 11 attacks.  The acclaimed restaurant was located on the 106th and 107th floors of the World Trade Center and 79 employees were killed in the attacks.  In other parts of the World Trade Center many other members of the food industry died as well, including caterers, kitchen staff, chefs and delivery people. Many of these workers were entry-level employees struggling to meet basic expenses.

After the attacks, Lomonaco teamed up with a group of restaurant professionals to help the families of those who were killed through their Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund.  They started the fund through a fundraiser called Dine Out where they asked restaurants around the world to donate a percentage of their proceeds from one night.  According to their website this was “a symbolic way of beginning to help people move past their collective shock and mourning and towards a semblance of normalcy in their lives, in short:  to go out to dinner … to be social again.”

Now, more than ten years later, the fund serves over 120 families through grants, tuition assistance and case management systems.  David Campbell from the Chronicle of Philanthropy said "... the Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund provides a valuable example of the difference new organizations made in the relief effort and offers lessons for how new and established organizations can work together and make one another stronger."

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