Boys & Girls Clubs of America Announces $10.5 Million Donation from Panda Cares®, the Philanthropic Foundation of Panda Express®, to Bring Academic Support Programming to Clubs

Published: May. 16, 2022 at 9:21 AM MDT

For the 2nd year in a row, Boys & Girls Clubs of America receives its largest single-year corporate investment in academic and education programming for Clubs across the country through a historic partnership with Panda.

ATLANTA, May 16, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- For the 2nd year in a row, Boys & Girls Clubs of America has received its largest single-year donation of $10.5 million from the Panda Cares® Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Panda Express®, which will support the nonprofit's mission of enabling and enriching the lives of young people. Through this partnership, Panda Cares and Boys & Girls Clubs of America will empower thousands of kids and teens at Boys & Girls Clubs across the country to excel in school, character, and leadership. With a shared commitment to help more youth reach their full academic potential through learning initiatives that are responsive to the unique needs of each young learner, the generous donation will ensure funding to provide high-quality in-person learning opportunities for more than 500 Boys & Girls Clubs.

Panda Cares Center of Hope grand opening at CC’s Little Village Boys & Girls Club
Panda Cares Center of Hope grand opening at CC’s Little Village Boys & Girls Club(PRNewswire)

This year, the donation will also launch 35 Panda Cares Centers of Hope in Clubs nationwide to deliver more joy, education, and critical social-emotional development to local communities. Project Learn, the platform that unites each Center of Hope, is a holistic strategy intended to reinforce and enhance what youth learn during the school day, while creating experiences that invite them to fall in love with learning. Rooted in social-emotional development, this program is based on research showing that students do better in school when they spend their non-school hours engaged in fun and academically beneficial activities. The first Center of Hope opened earlier this month at CC's Little Village Boys & Girls Club in Chicago. Each Panda Cares Center of Hope will be designed to meet the needs of their individual Club members and may include things like a new library of books, computers, comfortable lounge pods, VR head set ups, and spaces for them to learn, engage, and grow.

"We are proud to be expanding the Panda Cares Centers of Hope initiative to Boys & Girls Clubs, where youth can have a safe space to play, learn and grow not only academically but also emotionally and mentally," said Peggy Cherng, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Panda Express. "Building a stronger community and a brighter future means investing in the next generation, and it is an honor to be able to bring our guests along for this important cause that directly impacts their local communities."

The national partnership will continue to build on the mission of Panda Cares to support the health and education needs of children and families in underserved communities, such as expansion of the Panda Cares Music Program in April. Ten Clubs across the country have been awarded seed grants of $50,000 each to establish, re-establish, or further enhance a performance-based music program in their Club, which will expose youth to rich and engaging learning opportunities across a wide range of instruments, tools, technology, and music industry skills.

"We know young people need positive mentors and guidance now, more than ever, and we are thrilled to partner with Panda Express and Panda Cares to enhance critical social-emotional and academic learning experiences for Club members," said Jim Clark, president & CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of America. "Not only will this high-quality programming allow kids and teens to thrive, but it will continue to address the opportunity gap, enabling young people to explore their interests and passions, positioning them for a great future."

About Boys & Girls Clubs of America 
For 160 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA.org) has provided a safe place for kids and teens to learn and grow. Clubs offer caring adult mentors, fun and friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Boys & Girls Clubs programming promotes academic success, good character and leadership, and healthy lifestyles. More than 4,700 Clubs serve over 4.3 million young people through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more about Boys & Girls Clubs of America on Facebook and Twitter.

About Panda Express

On a mission to inspire better lives, Panda Express® is the largest Asian dining concept in the U.S. Family-owned and operated since 1983 by co-founders and co-CEOs Andrew and Peggy Cherng, Panda Express is best known as a trailblazer for creating a wide variety of industry-first recipes, including its best seller the Original Orange Chicken® and award-winning Honey Walnut Shrimp™, which have defined the category of authentic American Chinese cuisine. Each dish at Panda Express, including the Wok Smart® selections, is thoughtfully crafted with quality ingredients and inspired by bold Chinese flavors and culinary principles. The restaurant brand has more than 2,

2

400 locations and has introduced American Chinese cuisine to twelve international countries.

Powered by this global family of associates, Panda Cares®, the philanthropic arm of Panda Express, has raised more than $282 million and dedicated countless volunteer hours in bettering the health and education for over 12 million youths, as well as supporting communities in need since 1999. In 2020, the organization established the Panda Cares Scholars Program to provide the necessary funding, academic support and leadership development to help high school and college students learn, lead and thrive towards a bright future. For more information, visit pandaexpress.com or pandacares.org.

Boys & Girls Clubs of America (PRNewsFoto/Boys & Girls Clubs of America)
Boys & Girls Clubs of America (PRNewsFoto/Boys & Girls Clubs of America)(PRNewswire)

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