Scholarship and Community Investment

The most important aspect of our organization is its mission to mentor and support women in food, farming, beverage and hospitality. To that end, our Scholarship and Community Investment committee is focusing on providing funds or material goods to girls and women in three distinct areas:

1. Books and/or equipment for students in culinary school
2. Funds for women for continuing education to further their careers in food, farming, beverage, hospitality
3. Co-funding summer internships for at-risk young women in partnership with Nashville Mayor Megan Barry’s Opportunity NOW Initiative.

2017 – 2018 Les Dames Scholarships Awards


Tasha Lemley founder, Chai Wallah LLC

Her micro-grant helped launch a new product, tomato achaar, grown and made by Bhutanese refugee farmers; grant will purchase ingredients, jars, labeling. Funds raised from the sale of tomato achaar will help finance a refugee hospitality training program.

Caroline McDonald farmer, Sounding Stone Farm

Her micro-grant helped offset the approx. $1000 conference/travel/food/lodging expenses of attending SSAWG Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group conference in Chattanooga, January 2018. Caroline is in her 2nd year of farming

Rebekah Miller production manager, Green Door Gourmet

Her micro-grant covered book expenses this past fall. She is self-financing, in year 2 of a 4-year program at MTSU to become a registered dietitian. Rebekah foresees merging her love of local sustainable agriculture with nutrition.

Rose Martha Mulanax culinary incubator manager, Conexion Americas

Her micro-grant funded her SafeServ instructor certification and ABC license.

This will assist her in guiding members of Latino community within her program.

Kechelle Williams owner, founder Early Eats food truck

Her micro-grant helped pay up liability insurance. She is still working another job to keep positive cash flow. This infusion would help propel her food truck business further.

OPPORTUNITY NOW INTERNSHIPS 2017 (paid 6 week summer internships)

Sophia Chen interned at the Nashville Farmers’ Market, coordinating outreach to local non-profits and community centers, assisting with satellite Vanderbilt Market, and contributing to the Fresh Savings EBT program.

Elizabeth Love interned at independent, chef-driven restaurant Lockeland Table Community Kitchen and Bar learning sanitary kitchen practices and assisting with kitchen prep.

Senai King interned at Chauhan Ale and Masala House, and learned how to organize the restaurant opening preparation list and acquired many cooking skills.


Women Farmers of Middle Tennessee

Les Dames Nashville matched a micro-grant awarded by Slow Food Middle Tennessee, thus giving the Women Farmers of Middle Tennessee the needed funds to launch their Mentorship Program.


Apply for a culinary or career advancement grant!


This is a material, not cash, award to assist the applicant in furthering her studies at an accredited institution. This may take the form of equipment, such as chef’s knife set, books, and/or uniforms.


This cash grant is designed to assist women in furthering their careers in the fields of food, beverage, hospitality and farming. It can take form of a continuing education class, conference fee and/or associated travel expense, professional development consultation or training, or equipment needed to advance a business. The grant will be in amounts up to $500, according to need. We offer the Career Advancement Grant on a quarterly basis, with rolling deadlines that fall in January, April, July, and October.


To apply for either grant, please download and return an application form. We are currently accepting applications for both grants until July 15, 2017

LDEI Career Advancement Grant

LDEI Nashville Culinary Assistance Grant