Darden Restaurants Awards $465,000 in Local Grants to Boys & Girls Clubs Nationwide

Apr 30, 2012, 12:00 ET from Boys & Girls Clubs of America

Inaugural Restaurant Community Grants program highlights Darden's ongoing support of postsecondary education initiatives

ATLANTA, April 30, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As part of the inaugural Darden Restaurant Community Grant program, over 200 Boys & Girls Clubs across the country have been selected to receive local grants totaling $465,000 from the Darden Foundation, the charitable arm of Darden Restaurants Inc. The Restaurant Community Grant program is a local grants initiative intended to help support nonprofit organizations in the hundreds of communities Darden and its restaurant brands serve. The donation will further support Boys & Girls Clubs' mission of enabling youth to reach their full potential and achieve academic success.

Many restaurants within the Darden family – including Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze and Seasons 52 – are collaborating and combining their grant dollars to award more than $1.7 million in local grants to make a deeper impact for local nonprofits nationwide. Organizations receiving grants support one of Darden's three key focus areas: access to postsecondary education, preservation of natural resources and hunger. 465 restaurants in metropolitan areas such as Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles are collectively supporting educational programs for underserved youth within local Boys & Girls Clubs across the U.S.

"Each grant is not just a check – it is an opportunity to make an impact, from mentoring students in Phoenix, to providing essential supplies to food banks in Oregon and supporting environmental education in New England," said Drew Madsen, president and chief operating officer of Darden. "Our service philosophy extends far beyond the walls of our restaurants. These grants bring that philosophy to life by helping to develop a better future for those we serve, one community at a time."

Since 2008, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) and the Darden Foundation have partnered together creating the Recipe for Success™ program which incorporates highly interactive college-readiness workshops to help inspire Boys & Girls Club teens to pursue ambitious goals by introducing them to the possibilities of postsecondary education. Through this partnership, Darden has provided more than $500,000 in college scholarships to Boys & Girls Club teens. Education-focused initiatives, such as Recipe for Success™ and the Restaurant Community Grant program, have positively impacted the educational prospects of underserved youth in middle and high school, and continue to provide access to the tools and information needed to pursue their dreams of higher education.

"The Darden Restaurants Community Grant program is an excellent example of a national initiative making a major local impact," said Jim Clark, president and CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of America. "These vital funds provide targeted education programs for the young people who need us most. When we work with socially conscious corporations like Darden Restaurants, it fosters greater community engagement, while helping secure great futures for more of America's youth."

About Boys & Girls Clubs of America
For more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (GreatFutures.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, nearly 4,000 Boys & Girls Clubs serve some 4 million children and teens through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native American lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. Clubs provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun and friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Priority programs emphasize academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 57 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more at bgca.org/facebook and bgca.org/twitter.

About Darden Restaurants
Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI), the world's largest full-service restaurant company, owns and operates more than 1,900 restaurants that generate over $7.5 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Orlando, and employing 180,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people. In 2012, Darden was named to the FORTUNE "100 Best Companies to Work For" list for the second year in a row and is the only full-service restaurant company to ever appear on the list. Our restaurant brands — Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52 and Eddie V's — reflect the rich diversity of those who dine with us. Our brands are built on deep insights into what our guests want. For more information, please visit www.darden.com.

The Darden Foundation The Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation is the charitable arm of Darden Restaurants, Inc. The Foundation's mission is to maintain a spirit of volunteerism and philanthropy as defining characteristics of Darden Restaurants. Since 1995, the Darden Foundation has awarded more than $60 million in grants. Total giving in fiscal year 2012 amounted to $7.8 million, 20 percent of which is represented by the Restaurant Community Grants Program. The Darden Foundation carries out its mission by focusing philanthropic efforts and resources on the following program areas: Access to Postsecondary Education, Preservation of Natural Resources and Good Neighbor Grants.


SOURCE Boys & Girls Clubs of America