Salute e Vita Ristorante owner Menbere Aklilu (pictured above), an emerging community leader who holds an annual Thanksgiving feast at her Marina Bay restaurant for veterans and other struggling individuals, is set to launch the Menbe’s Way Fund on Aug. 23, which aims do even more for local people in need.
The launch party will run from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Salute, located at 1900 Esplanade Dr. in Richmond. The Clifton Street Regulars, an Oakland-based jazz quintet, are set to perform at the event, which will include great wines and a silent auction. Donations are of course encouraged and will help get Menbe’s Way started, organizers said.
Menbe’s Way will be managed by the nonprofit Richmond Community Foundation, which through its donor-advised fund program employs expertise and extensive community knowledge to assist grant makers like Aklilu. In addition, Aklilu has been named to the Richmond Community Foundation board.
The foundation said these developments are a testament to the success of Aklilu’s restaurant and various local charity efforts, which include a $15,000 contribution to the new West County Family Justice Center in Richmond, a comprehensive resource and services center for victims of abuse and their families.
Along with serving some 1,300 people free, fine-dining meals on Thanksgiving, Aklilu’s restaurant also hosts etiquette courses for local youth, which teaches both manners and life lessons.
Menbe’s Way will help continue those efforts and launch additional programs.
A formerly homeless survivor of domestic violence, Aklilu has been using the popularity of her waterfront restaurant to help others. Earlier this year, she was honored with the prestigious Jefferson Award for her impactful public volunteerism. Read more about her contributions, and the incredible struggle she’s faced in her life, here.