John Minadakis '01 Leads Effort to Support Local Restaurants

From crab cakes to crowdfunding, John Minadakis ‘01 is leading a massive effort to support local restaurants. Inspired by David Portnoy, founder of Barstool Sports who began the Barstool Fund that raised millions of dollars for small businesses affected by the pandemic, the Famous Fund is providing immediate support to Baltimore restaurants. Recognizing the tremendous strain caused by the pandemic and local restrictions placed on businesses, Minadakis wanted to rally Charm City toward saving its locally-owned establishments, many of which are facing the prospect of closing for good.

"I knew that the community would come together and just needed a little spark," said Minadakis. "I saw fellow restaurants struggling to stay alive and realized they don’t have the amplified social media platform that Jimmy’s does—that’s when I decided to share it with the entire industry. The response has been overwhelming, but as more and more applications come in, it’s clear that our work is far from finished."

In a message posted to the Famous Fund's GoFundMe page, Minadakis stated that “The most beautiful part of this town is its ability to rise up and come together when facing adversity."

The Fund grew to $200,000 in just four days and has set its sights on a $350K goal. In addition to working with local business owners, Minadakis has enlisted the help of a few friends. "Marlon Humphrey deserves a lot of credit for driving the popularity and success of the campaign," said Minadakis. Others who have been active in fueling the effort include members of the local/national sports community: Ronnie Stanley, the Baltimore Ravens, Eric & Lacie DeCosta, Chris Jericho, Trey Mancini, Wink Martindale & Family, Ed Reed, and AQ Shipley. O.A.R. bassist Benj Gershman has also contributed.

As the Famous Fund has grown, Minadakis has witnessed the increase in attention to the cause while recalling how service became an important part of his life. "In virtually every interview I’ve conducted, I'm asked why I did this," said Minadakis. "I have credited Loyola with raising me to be a man for others. I truly believe that were it not for my seven years spent at Blakefield, my outlook on life would be much different."

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