ROSEMEAD, Calif., May 5, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Panda Express®, the largest family-owned and operated Asian dining concept in the U.S., was built on a foundation of bridging cultures—and flavors— to bring people together. Having always had deep relationships in the diverse communities it serves, Panda is proud to launch the Panda CommUnity Fund — a $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. This Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, Panda kicks-off the Panda CommUnity Fund, with a $1.5 million pledge to AAPI organizations dedicated to offering critical aid, as well as promoting cultural understanding and acceptance. The Fund will continue to allocate resources across various initiatives over the next five years to help foster a more respectful and inclusive society for tomorrow.
"We are proud of our multicultural heritage and have always believed that this identity connects us to the best of American culture. Because of the duality in who we are, Panda champions a greater sense of belonging and supports engagement efforts that reflect the diversity of our guests, associates and communities," said Peggy Cherng, co-founder and co-CEO of Panda Express. "Following a year of hardship and civil unrest, it has become more apparent that the responsibility is on each of us to come together to create meaningful change. And that is why we are making the commitment to put forth the resources and platforms needed to continue energizing community organizations on the ground."
As an American-born company founded by Chinese immigrants, Panda values the grit and resilience required to overcome adversity on the path to success; in the same breadth, it recognizes the unsettling reality that there is still a long journey ahead to dismantling systemic racism, which is one of the driving forces behind this $1.5 million pledge. In its first phase of grant-making, Panda has committed to organizations that are combating anti-Asian racism and strengthening the community physically, mentally and emotionally, including Asian American Advancing Justice Chapters, GoFundMe.org AAPI Community Fund, Welcome to Chinatown, and Asian Mental Health Collective. Additionally, the Panda Community Fund will support initiatives focused on education and empowering representation across various verticals through partner organizations, such as Gold House and The Asian American Foundation. Beyond its monetary commitment, the American Chinese brand will continue to leverage its national platform, resources, and influence to amplify AAPI voices and organizations.
With respect to all differences in life, across unique backgrounds, experiences, thoughts and ideas, Panda's commitment to DE&I was created to embrace and uplift the needs of the underrepresented, helping to reinforce a greater sense of compassion, inclusion and belonging in our greater communities. Intended to amplify Panda's mission to inspire better lives, the Panda CommUnity Fund partners with 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations on DE&I related initiatives that help shatter the perception of a monolithic America and embrace the diverse identities that represent the American people. While grant proposals are by invitation only and unsolicited proposals will not be accepted, each organization will be thoughtfully vetted based on its mission and direct impact on the communities it serves.
To learn more about Panda's recent grants to AAPI organizations, visit @officialpandaexpress Instagram throughout May.
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 2,200 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 $216 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 about Panda, visit pandaexpress.com, or find us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
SOURCE Panda Express