Panda Cares, the philanthropic arm of the Panda Express Restaurant Group in Rosemead, California, has announced commitments totaling $29 million in support of health care and educational programs for underserved children and youth.
Announced in recognition of Panda Cares' twentieth anniversary, the pledges include a commitment of more than $25 million to establish, in partnership with longtime grantee Children's Miracle Network, Panda Cares Centers of Hope in children's hospitals across the United States and Canada. Six Centers of Hope will open in 2019, providing a safe and comforting space designed to enhance children's self-expression, lower their stress levels, and improve their motor skills through therapeutic play, art therapy, meditation, and counseling services.
Panda Cares also is committing $4 million in support of efforts to strengthen educational programs at Boys & Girls Clubs across the nation, with an initial round of grants totaling $400,000 to twenty clubs. Grant recipients include the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Ana (Santa Ana, California), Boys & Girls Club of Tarrant County, Don Kromer Branch, (Arlington, Texas), Boys & Girls Club of Oklahoma County Memorial Park (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma), and Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club (Bronx, New York). The funding will support a variety of educational programming, including Project Learn, which offers homework assistance, individual and small group tutoring, and regular activities designed to expose youth to skills and information they need to succeed in school.
Panda Cares, which is funded through the in-store donation box program and associates at Panda Express restaurants as well as gifts from PRG's founders and partners, has awarded more than $140 million since 1999 in support of education, health, and community programs.
"It is a distinct honor and privilege to serve our communities and to ignite the spirit of giving across the country. At Panda Cares, we believe good fortune is best shared and remain humbled by the generosity of so many," said Peggy Cherng, co-founder and co-chief executive of PRG. "To us, celebrating Panda Cares’ twentieth anniversary is about celebrating the communities we serve and recognizing our passionate guests, associates, and brand partners who have joined us in our unwavering commitment to enhance the lives of underserved youth. Our latest initiatives further the collective impact we can make to inspire a brighter future through health and education, creating powerful learning pathways and focused care for the holistic well-being of kids nationwide."
(Photo credit: Panda Cares)