Try this: search chef + fundraiser + 2013. Google returns 26.3 million results. Chefs have become a force in the world of fundraising, with some events costing attendees thousands of dollars a plate. With the chef-as-celebrity trend only growing, it is clear that generous donors appreciate having prestigious chefs prepare an exclusive dinner all for a good cause.

For Chef Barbara Lynch, simply participating in one-off culinary fundraising events for various organizations no longer fulfilled her desire to give back. She wanted more control, not only of her time and resources, but also of the bottom line. When she donated her time she wondered: Where does the money go? Who does it directly benefit? How are the resources divided?

Lynch started her own Foundation with the same acumen used to open and successfully sustain her collection of memorable establishments, including No. 9 Park, B&G Oysters, Drink, Sportello, The Butcher Shop, Stir, and Menton.

Barbara Lynch hosts a Relais & Châteaux Grand Chef event at Menton to raise money for the Barbara Lynch Foundation.

She created The Barbara Lynch Foundation — dedicated to helping Boston’s communities create healthy and inspired futures for its youth by providing leadership and support to build life skills, improve access to nutritious foods, and empower families.

In February 2013, Lynch hosted her first major fundraising event for the Foundation and invited Relais & Châteaux Grand Chefs Daniel Boulud, Joseph Lenn, Mark Ladner, and Michael Tusk to help support the cause. With a deep understanding of the Foundation’s goals and mission, the chefs worked together to create an exceptional dining experience for the guests.

Below, in her own words, Chef Barbara Lynch explains why she felt it important to start the Barbara Lynch Foundation and its first program, “Meet the Worms.”

I was raised by a single mother; my father passed away a month before I was born. My mom had seven kids and I was the last Lynch.

My mom worked three jobs. We ate simple foods, but she made sure that we ate good food. Even so, I grew up in the projects and didn’t know the difference between lettuce and grass. I didn’t see a live cow until I was on a field trip in school.

So, all this culminated in me believing that it is important, when kids are in a city school, to understand gardening, farming, and cooking with parents. I wanted to give that back. It’s important to learn how to cook, because otherwise people have to rely on packaged food, and that’s where the health problems start.

I realized I was passionate about cooking when I was in high school. I’d read a magazine article or a recipe in my mother’s Good Housekeeping magazine about stir-fry, and I thought, “Why would anybody want to do that?” And then I went and bought the ingredients, and I made the dish, and it was amazing.

The Barbara Lynch Foundation started because I was getting asked to donate my time and my restaurant’s food so often, and I felt like I didn’t know where the time, effort, and money went or what it was really helping. I thought if I could start a foundation then I could control the money and effort and make sure that it goes where it will be the most effective.

Our first project is called “Meet the Worms,” and it’s in the Blackstone School in the South End of Boston.

Boston Mayor Tom Menino knew I was interested in doing a greenhouse project with a school in Boston. He called me and said, “Go around Boston and find the school you want to work with.”

I landed at the Blackstone and I fell in love with that school because, first, it has a really big greenhouse with just a cactus tree in it, and second, I was going to work with third-grade children, which I thought was really key. That’s the perfect age to get kids to understand food and where food comes from.

We built a garden outside and we teach them how to start an urban garden themselves. We have the kids grow chicks, we have a science lab, we make butter, and we talk about nutrition and exercise. Overall, we try to inspire them so that they can connect with their parents when they go home.

Our grand vision for “Meet The Worms” is to have a pilot program that could be implemented in other Boston public schools. And we’re close. We’ve been documenting this for two and a half years and we’ve seen amazing results.

I kind of hope that in 10 years one of these students will come up to me and say, “Oh, I took ‘Meet The Worms.’ I was one of those third-graders, and now I’m doing this.” And that means that I affected them, which is my hope.

To learn more about the Barbara Lynch Foundation, please contact