Panda Express: Giving Children and Families a Helping Paw

What’s the key to a successful partnership? Leaders who lead by example. Last year at the annual Panda Leaders Conference, Panda Restaurant Group’s co-CEOs Andrew and Peggy Cherng challenged their employees to follow their footsteps and make philanthropy a priority. The result was more impactful than anyone could have predicted.

Panda Express has raised more than $6 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals since they became an official corporate partner in 2007. Last year alone, the 35 Panda Express locations that fundraise for Children’s National raised over $160,000, an increase of more than 1,000 percent over the previous year!

Panda Express is a growing partner that supports Children’s National in many ways, whether it be through in-kind food donations at all of the Dance Marathons, hosting golf tournament fundraisers, or asking their employees and customers for donations. Panda raises money year-round by collecting change at registers: every customer is asked to give by rounding up the amount on their credit card or throwing any dollar amount into a branded donation jar. They also have an Associate Giving Campaign in April, where employees can log into their online portal and choose to donate one time, or setup an ongoing payroll deduction to Panda Cares. The company aims for 100% participation in the campaign, meaning all employees at least login to the portal to acknowledge it by clicking “yes” or “no” for their desire to give. Ninety percent of Panda employees participate in some way.

Panda Express has also found a unique way to make their fundraising efforts fun for everyone. Some stores have set up huge gongs to hit whenever someone makes a donation; others ring the cashier bell. Many of Panda’s locations are in food courts, so the gong and bells are management’s way of not only celebrating each customer’s donation, but attracting attention so that others will donate, too. The Cherngs have a goal of installing a gong in every Panda Express location.

Andrew Cherng said the company strives to promote the spirit of giving and establish a caring presence in communities where Panda Restaurant Group’s guests and associates live and work. “Our passion for giving means that we contribute to the communities in which our restaurants operate in any way we can.”

Locate your nearest Panda Express, and help us say thank you for all that they do to support the patients and families at Children’s National!

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