Audi and Chef Edward Lee bring the spark back to communities in need

  • Audi of America committed to more sustainable, optimitistic future with launch of all-new Audi e-tron Sportback
  • In the spirit of the fully electric Audi e-tron Sportback, Audi of America is bringing a recharged spark back by feeding communities in need
  • Audi of America has extended its contribution with an additional $500,000 donation to The LEE Initiative to provide hunger relief and restaurant assistance nationwide

HERNDON, Va., Oct. 15, 2020 –  The new fully electric Audi e-tron Sportback is doing more than making its U.S. market introduction. To celebrate its launch, Audi of America, in support of The LEE Initiative, is creating a more sustainable future by helping to bring the spark back to restaurants, farms, and communities in need. For the Audi brand, a more sustainable future does not stop at creating new, electrified mobility like the Audi e-tron Sportback.

The LEE (Let’s Empower Employment) Initiative was co-founded by award-winning Chef Edward Lee and Lindsey Ofcacek, and aims to bring more equality and diversity to the restaurant industry as well as a supporting a sustainable foodchain.

“As a champion of the culinary industry, Audi couldn’t be more humbled and proud to help support the incredible work The LEE Initiative is doing as a true steward of our nation’s restaurants and farms and in turn commuity relief,“ said Tara Rush, senior vice president and chief communications officer, Audi of America. “Now, with the help of the fully electric Audi e-tron Sportback, we’re able to lend some additional energy to its ongoing relief efforts and further the important conversation around sustainability – from the food we eat to the vehicles we drive.“

Earlier this year, after witnessing the profound impact COVID-19 had on the industry, The LEE Initiative pivoted its mission to provide assistance to restaurants, restaurant workers, and the local food supply chains supporting them. Since March, The LEE Initiative has set up 19 pop-up kitchens across the country, providing restaurant workers with food and essential supplies. To date, more than 400,000 meals have been served, including those delivered in vehicles provided by Audi.

“The effects of this pandemic will have a lasting impact on the restaurant industry, and we’re committed to supporting our fellow friends, family and colleagues,” said Chef Edward Lee, co-founder of The LEE Initiative. “We’re extremely grateful to Audi for its collaboration in helping to deliver to those in need and look forward to continuing to work hand-in-hand for the foreseeable future.”

Audi of America—in the spirit of the all-electric Audi e-tron Sportback and a desire to bring a sustainable and recharged spirit back to local communities—recently continued its support of The LEE Initiative through a $500,000 donation with a goal of continued hunger relief, local level economic support across America.

The funds will be used to help relaunch a number of ongoing programs, including The LEE Initiative’s Restaurant Reboot Relief Program. This program commits to purchasing at least $1 million in food from sustainable farmers in 16 regions across the U.S. and giving that food directly to restaurants in those areas, in turn ensuring that restaurant doors are reopened, staff are brought back and communities are fed.

The Audi e-tron Sportback is the latest addition to the Audi electric vehicle lineup and marks the second step in the brand’s commitment to have an estimated 30 percent of its models electrified in the U.S. by 2025. In honor of this, Audi of America has committed to bringing an optimitic, recharged spark back to local communities following the impact of the COVID-19.

Showcasing a sampling of the great supporters in this effort, a video of the work that Audi and the LEE Initiative have committed to, can be viewed here.

For more information on the Audi e-tron Sportback, visit


– End –


Audi of America, Inc. and its U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury vehicles. AUDI AG is among the most successful luxury automotive brands, delivering about 1.845 million vehicles globally in 2019. In the U.S., Audi of America sold just over 224,000 vehicles in 2019 and launched the brand’s first fully electric vehicle, the Audi e-tron – one of four fully electric models coming to the U.S. market in the next two years. Globally, the brand aims to be CO2 neutral by 2050. Visit or for more information regarding Audi vehicles and business topics.

Chef Edward Lee is the chef/owner of 610 Magnolia, The Wine Studio, MilkWood, and Whiskey Dry in Louisville, KY and culinary director for Succotash in National Harbor, MD and in DC.  He has received multiple finalist nominations for the James Beard Foundation Awards Best Chef: Southeast.  He appears frequently in print and television and was recently nominated for a daytime Emmy for his role as host of the Emmy-winning series, Mind of Chef on PBS.  Lee won a James Beard Foundation Award for Writing for his book Buttermilk Graffiti: A Chef's Journey to Discover America's New Melting Pot Cuisine (Artisan Books, April 2018).  He also authored Smoke & Pickles: Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen (Artisan Books, May 2013). His documentary film, Fermented, follows him around the world as he explores the rich culinary and cultural traditions of fermented food. For more information on Chef Edward Lee, please follow him on Twitter or Instagram or visit

Media Usage Terms

I agree that all creative assets including but not limited to photos, logos, sketches, images and artwork are for
editorial use only. All commercial use of these creative assets, including but not limited to advertising,
marketing and merchandising, is strictly prohibited.

I agree to these terms and conditions
Back to top