Panda Cares® Donates $4 Million to U.S. Public Schools Through DonorsChoose

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Panda Express philanthropic foundation’s ongoing partnership with DonorsChoose has supported students from low-income households in more than 1,400 local Panda Express neighborhoods

Through our ongoing partnership with DonorsChoose, we are able to foster a spirit of giving in our Panda Express communities and let educators know that we recognize their crucial roles in our students’ lives.

Panda Cares, the philanthropic arm of Panda Express, celebrates $4 million in giving to U.S. public school classrooms between 2021 and 2022 through its partnership with education nonprofit DonorsChoose. In the summer of 2021, the foundation funded over 2,600 requests for classroom needs and experiences posted by more than 2,200 teachers. Since December 2021, the foundation’s second partnership with DonorsChoose has funded at least 8,000 classroom projects.

“Teachers are launching pads for generations of students who come to school with various aspirations,” said Tina Hsing, Director of Panda Cares. “Through our ongoing partnership with DonorsChoose, we are able to foster a spirit of giving in our Panda Express communities and let educators know that we recognize their crucial roles in our students’ lives. We also want to encourage the public to support students through their teachers, especially as they and their families experience hardships magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In the summer of 2021, Panda Cares launched a $1 million partnership with DonorsChoose that directly supported classrooms in more than 1,400 local Panda Express neighborhoods across the country. Through this gift, the foundation fulfilled teachers’ requests for items ranging from identity-affirming resources to STEM kits, snack bags, printers, music and art supplies. The foundation especially focused on requests submitted by teachers at schools where more than 50 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch – an indication of economic need amongst students and their families.

At the turn of the new year and in time for the return to learning this January, Panda Cares donated an additional $3 million to support three DonorsChoose initiatives for schools where more than half of students are from low-income households. Currently, the foundation is allocating $2.5 million to match public donations to projects at schools where Panda guests live and work. The remaining $500,000 of their gift matched donations to Warmth, Care & Hunger projects and requests for food, clothing, and hygiene items. This part of the initiative funded nearly 3,000 projects across over 1,500 schools in the country.

“After nearly two years of disruption, teachers and students need our support more than ever, especially students who have experienced food insecurity and systemic inequity, issues intensified by the pandemic,” said Charles Best, founder of DonorsChoose. “Our partnership with Panda Cares will fuel student learning as teachers continue to go above and beyond.”

This partnership with DonorsChoose is among Panda Cares’ various education-based initiatives launched since 2020 that empower children and their families during an unprecedented time. Starting in spring 2020, Panda Cares donated $2.25 million to Feeding America and Boys & Girls Clubs across the country to alleviate food insecurity, in which $1 million of this gift was matched by Panda Restaurant Group Co-Founders and Co-CEOs Andrew and Peggy Cherng as part of a COVID-19 Response Fund for families. In September 2020, the foundation announced its creation of a COVID-19 Community Care Fund that allocated donations raised through its in-store program between March and June. In 2021, to celebrate Panda Cares’ anniversary on Aug. 8, also known as Panda Cares DayTM, Panda celebrated with 100 Boys & Girls Clubs across the country, donating new sports equipment, new reading books and delicious Orange Chicken. The Panda Cares Fortune Cookie truck tour also traveled from coast to coast distributing fortune cookies and raising money for local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and Boys and Girls Clubs. Panda Cares’ $1 million gift to DonorsChoose in the same summer of 2021 was the foundation’s first partnership with the education nonprofit.

ABOUT DONORSCHOOSE
DonorsChoose is the leading way to give to public schools. Since 2000, 5 million people and partners have contributed $1.2 billion to support 2 million teacher requests for learning resources and experiences. As the most trusted crowdfunding platform for teachers, donors, and district administrators alike, DonorsChoose vets each request, ships the funded resources directly to the teacher, and provides thank yous and reporting to donors and school leaders. Charity Navigator and GuideStar have awarded DonorsChoose, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, their highest ratings for transparency and accountability. For more information, visit http://www.donorschoose.org.

ABOUT PANDA EXPRESS 
On a mission to inspire better lives, Panda Express® is the largest American Chinese restaurant concept in the world. 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 2,300 locations in 12 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 2021, the organization established the Panda CommUnity Fund to — a five-year $10 million community investment and response program that supports immediate and sustainable solutions from national and local organizations to uplift diverse groups, including people of color and other marginalized communities. For more information about Panda, visit pandaexpress.com, or find us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. 

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Juan Brizuela
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