2016 Restaurant Neighbor Award

State Winners

Arizona

Name: In Good Spirits

City, State: Phoenix, AZ

Website: dineingoodspirits.com

Each year In Good Spirits gives back to the community through myriad fundraisers including an annual event to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, which last year raised $25,000. Additionally the two Phoenix-area restaurants routinely donate exclusive custom cocktail pairing dinners to many other organizations to be used in silent auctions.

“We are also supporters of the Joybus, a wonderful local nonprofit committed to providing healthy chef quality meals to home bound cancer patients,” says Gina Bartes, director of marketing and public relations for In Good Spirits. And, the entire staff gets involved as some 70 staff members consistently volunteer to work nonprofit events for no compensation.

“We have a very dedicated group of individuals that we are proud to call employees who readily align their charitable actions with our charitable goals,” says Bartes.

 

Name: The Dhaba

City, State: Tempe, AZ

Website: the-dhaba.com

The Dhaba has a stellar track record of giving back to its neighborhood in large measure because the restaurant’s owner, Raveen Arora, wouldn’t have it any other way. A small smattering of The Dhaba’s local outreach includes giving out 10 meal bags daily during break hours to the hungry and homeless, which since 2008 amounts to about 3,600 meals annually and 20,000 since the program’s inception.  For the last four years the restaurant has been a supporter of Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign and it also makes donations of almost 100 bottles of free water daily during the blazing Phoenix-area summers, which last roughly between June and September.  During the winter months The Dhaba/India Plaza donates approximately $10,000 worth of warm clothing to the needy and additionally donates one percent of proceeds to local charities.

Each restaurant associate gets involved by contributing two hours of volunteering for community work each week during a regular shift.

 

Arkansas

Name: South On Main

City, State: Little Rock, AR

Website: southonmain.com

Since opening in 2013, South On Main has been a mainstay of the Little Rock community. Chef Matt Bell and his wife and co-owner Amy Bell are committed to Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign in an effort to end childhood hunger. Matt Bell regularly teaches Cooking Matters courses for the program. The course is a six-week, hands-on course for low-income families to help them learn basic cooking and nutrition skills. Additionally the restaurant hosts two annual dinners for No Kid Hungry, the most recent of which raised more than $65,000 for the program. Matt, who is very supportive of No Kid Hungry, has also served as a local and national spokesperson for the cause. Preparing and hosting major culinary events for the program also heavily involves the staff. Both the front and back-of-the house staff is “all hands on deck” before, during and after each fundraiser.

 

Name: Trio’s

City, State: Little Rock, AR

Website: triosrestaurant.com

Capi Peck, Trio’s owner and chef, is a leader in the Central Arkansas hospitality community. He currently serves as the chairman of the Little Rock Advertising & Promotion Commission and president and chairman of the board of the Arkansas Restaurant Association. The restaurant has been giving back for 29 years to such worthy causes as Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign by providing thousands of dollars’ worth of in-kind service to more than 20 charity events annually. Peck has also volunteered numerous hours training individuals the fundamentals of ServSafe. As a result more than 3,000 people have been certified in the past three years. Trio’s operates in a team environment and, as such, involves its staff in giving back. Numerous employees volunteer with local charity events, from donating and serving food, to participating in cooking competitions as fundraisers for non-profit groups.

 

California

Name: BJ’s

City, State: Huntington Beach, CA

Website: bjri.com

BJ’s Restaurants’ Foundation has a long track record of philanthropic endeavors to benefit communities in the areas served by BJ’s Restaurants. The 175-unit restaurant company and its foundation are known for giving back and also involving team members in the process.

“For the past eight years our Team Action to Support Communities Force program has provided structure and support for our restaurant team members as they volunteer in their respective communities for charitable causes and community events,” says Rob DeLiema, president of the foundation. The program is locally driven and the staff selects the worthy causes to support.

Locally driven, when an employee volunteers, the foundation makes a contribution to the charity, and the foundation often covers the cost of food for events.

“What’s important to our employees becomes important to our management teams and, in turn, becomes supported by our foundation,” says DeLiema. Since 2008 more than 450 BJ’s restaurants have participated and shared stories about volunteerism and giving back, raising about $400,000 annually.

 

Name: California Pizza Kitchen

City, State: Playa Vista, CA

Website: cpk.com

During the last year California Pizza Kitchen went all out to raise funds for Make-A-Wish with one of its primary initiatives being Round It Up America, which encourages guests to round their checks up to the nearest dollar and donate that change to Make-A-Wish. To date the project has raised more than $170,000. Additionally California Pizza Kitchen participated in other fundraisers for Make-A-Wish including donating $1 for each Korean BBQ Pizza sold, which raised $40,000 in a month’s time. California Pizza Kitchen’s employees are also on board to help in the effort to make dreams come true.

“CPK employees regularly participate in community Walk for Wishes events, Make-A-Wish’s national fundraiser program,” says Toni Leigh, manager public relations. “Last year, CPK mobilized teams from six regions, including Los Angeles, Orange County and Chicago and a team from corporate headquarters, to participate.” All totaled CPK has donated $245,000 to the nonprofit organization. The 272-unit restaurant chain has also donated more than $3 million as a result of partnering with schools, community groups and first-responder organizations on CPK FUNdraisers.

 

Name: Mission Chinese Food

City, State: San Francisco, CA

Website: missionchinesefood.com

Since opening its doors in July of 2010, Mission Chinese Food has donated $.75 per entrée to The San Francisco and Marin Food Bank, raising about $350,000 in the process. The funds helped serve more than one million meals for those in need.

“In 2013 we were invited to tour The San Francisco Food Bank and receive an award,” says co-founder Anthony Myint. “It was a heartening experience for our staff and helped to reinforce bonds across cultures.” Myint says two thirds of his 30 employees are Chinese. “Overall, everyone is empowered to be able to give back to the community as part of doing their job.”

Also this April, Mission Chinese Food began donating $.25 per red meat dish to Zero Foodprint, a nonprofit project that seeks to help restaurants engage in the fight against climate change.

 

Name: Pizza My Heart

City, State: Los Gatos, CA

Website: pizzamyheart.com

Pizza My Heart is all about working with local schools and child-oriented causes in the areas that its 24 restaurants serve. Last year the company was able to raise and donate $105,000. “We also create a field trip program for local schools,” says Chuck Hammers, the company’s owner, or Big Cheese as he is often called. The field trip program is in its 20th year. “More than 5,000 students per year are taught how a restaurant operates and each student is able to make their own pizza and receive a free T Shirt,” he says. “This is all at no charge to the schools and is always the favorite field trip of the year,” says Hammers. Also this year the company, which employs 550 people, donated one week of its television advertising time to Save Our Shores, a beach clean up organization. “This is about $15,000 of paid air time,” says Hammers.

 

Name: PizzaRev

City, State: Westlake Village, CA

Website: pizzarev.com

Whenever PizzaRev opens a new unit 100 percent of the day’s profits are donated to a local nonprofit. “In celebration of every grand opening, PizzaRev hosts an all-day “Pay What You Want’ fundraiser for one nonprofit organization with a donation of 100 percent of pizza sales from that entire day,” says Nicole Dulay, marketing manager. “We make the nonprofit organization the star of our grand opening show,” she says. Some of the organizations the 28-unit chain has partnered with include the Bakersfield SPCA, Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County, Palmdale Community Foundation, Dream Foundation and the Scott & White Healthcare Foundation. “Collectively we raised more than $20,000 for just these organizations alone via our grand opening fundraiser,” says Dulay. Typically on the same day the nonprofit gives the PizzaRev team a tour of the center or facility and talks to the PizzaRev team about how the donated monies are going to be used.

 

Name: zpizza

City, State: Irvine, CA

Website: zpizza.com

For the past 30 years zpizza has been giving back to the communities it serves but last year the 100-unit chain took up a special cause — bullying in schools. “The program, called the Nice zSlice, kicked off during National Bullying Prevention month in October and provided teachers with tools and resources to combat a growing issue in America’s schools,” says Kimberly Myers, vice president of marketing. The program focuses on recognition and respect towards others and is designed to shift attention from the negative actions of bullying to good character. “Through the Nice zSlice, partner schools received materials and teacher tools including Nice zSlice award certificates for deserving students, redeemable for a free slice of pizza,” says Myers. The restaurants also hosted fundraisers throughout the year where a percentage of sales was donated back, netting more than $10,000. “More than 80 zpizza locations participated in the program and more than 100,000 certificates were awarded this year alone,” says Myers.

 

Colorado

Name: Carmine’s On Penn

City, State: Denver, CO

Website: carminesonpenn.net

For the last six years, Carmine’s On Penn has had a special partnership with The Delores Project, an organization that not only helps feed women in shelters, but also inspires the restaurant’s staff.

“Each year, the restaurant donates an evening to the nonprofit, which recruits individuals to enjoy a prix fixe meal with the proceeds benefitting the organization,” says Brad Ritter, Carmine’s owner. In addition to providing the hospitality to donors, Carmine’s serves the shelter’s guests at no charge. Over the years the event has become a signature for both The Delores Project and Carmine’s. Donations typically range from $4,000 to $10,000.

“I’ve had the pleasure of serving the women and the supporters for a couple of years now,” says Allison, a long-time employee at Carmine’s. “Knowing how their lives are impacted by providing a comfortable evening for them to enjoy, keeps me looking forward to the next year.”

 

Name: Marco’s Colorado Springs

City, State: Colorado Springs, CO

Website: marcospizza.net

If there is a family in need or an organization that needs help Marco’s Colorado Springs is always there. With a full slate of philanthropic endeavors, Marco’s is immersed in the community that its four units serve. From feeding the hungry to organizing fundraisers for first responders and victims of a local wildfire, Marco’s and its 68 employees are more than happy to get involved.

“Marco’s has helped a broad spectrum of individuals and causes including children and families with significant health problems and huge medical bills,” says Craig Cheatham, Marco’s owner. Other organizations and causes high on Marco’s to- do list include animal shelters, programs for troubled teens, schools, churches, synagogues, youth ballet, human trafficking prevention, foster agencies, veterans and water wells in Africa. “The community knows Marco’s as the place that supports good works,” says Cheatham. “With Marco’s, it isn’t about any particular program, but rather with its service to the community every day, in so many ways.”

 

Delaware

Name: High 5 Hospitality, LLC

City, State: Bear, DE

Website: h5h.us

High 5 Hospitality, a six-unit Buffalo Wild Wings franchise group in Delaware, donates more than $135,000 to various nonprofit organizations annually. One of the group’s featured programs is a fundraising challenge for first responders. Firehouses in several towns compete to raise funds, and the winning department receives a trophy and its funds are matched by High 5 Hospitality.

The company, which employs 550 people, also has a ‘Take Over Event Program,’ where organizations hold fundraising events in the restaurants and 20 percent of sales are donated back to the organization.

“Each year, High 5 supports more than 330 different groups through this program with an average donation of $225 per event,” says Alison MacKenzie, director of marketing. But High 5 doesn’t stop there – it also sponsors more than 40 sports teams or leagues. Other worthy causes supported by the franchise group are a High Five Golf Tournament that benefits the Newark Senior Center in Newark, Del.; and a Buffalo Run 5k, which benefits the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Newark.

 

Florida

Name: Gecko’s Grill & Pub

City, State: Sarasota, FL

Website: geckoshospitality.com

After 23 years of giving back, Gecko’s Grill & Pub is well entrenched in the community that surrounds its eight restaurants in the Sarasota area. Gecko’s supports a variety of causes and nonprofits especially those that assist hungry and at risk children, law enforcement and the military.

“We know that with freedom comes responsibility and our responsibility to our less fortunate neighbors is to do our small part to help everyone experience an enhanced quality of life,” says Anne Rollings, corporate office manager/government relations.

Gecko’s also partners with area schools, donating more than 20,000 award cards to encourage good grades, attendance and citizenship, and participates in Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign and the Unidos Now Future Leaders Academy, which helps the Hispanic population integrate into the community.

“In 2015, our owner, Michael Quillen, joined with other concerned community leaders to launch the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Charitable Foundation,” says Rollings. “Michael and the board recognized that, despite the incalculable contribution law enforcement agents make to our quality of life, the economic protection they receive is often inadequate.”

 

Name: Rogue Pub

City, State: Orlando, FL

Website: roguepuborlando.com

Tracy Cehovin, Rogue Pub’s owner, is a firm believer in giving back to the community. Throughout the year the restaurant, which employs seven people, hosts numerous organizations to generate awareness and revenue for the nonprofit groups. “One particular group we support is the Orlando Bully Rescue, which is a group that fosters and rescues bully breeds,” says Cehovin. ‘Brews and Bullies’ is held annually and generates more than $2,000 for the cause. The restaurant also provides local nonprofit groups beer and wine donations for various charity events in an effort to help raise funds. In total the restaurant supports about 25 different organizations but each year the number grows.

 

Name: The Big Cheese of Homestead

City, State: Homestead, FL

Website: bigcheesehomestead.com

The Big Cheese of Homestead tries to be just that to the community it serves by helping its neighbors in a variety of endeavors. Each year the restaurant, which employs 25, hosts a Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless. It also gives away pizzas to seven local school lunch programs on a weekly basis and offers space for car wash fundraisers. The Big Cheese is also a little league baseball sponsor, a Chamber of Commerce board member, and a sponsor of the local high school football team. The Big Cheese also provides food sponsorships for local Relay For Life events, and sponsors spirit nights for local schools, which donates 10 percent of sales back to the schools.

 

Name: The Marbella at Pelican Bay

City, State: Naples, FL

Website: marbellapelicanbay.com

The Marbella at Pelican Bay is part of the management company, Guest Services Inc. Located in Naples, FL, Marbella at Pelican Bay, which offers resort-style, retirement living, employs about 60 people and features four dining rooms. As part of the organization’s initiatives there is a strong recycling push and various beach projects to make sure the area remains pristine. The organization also sponsors a cancer walk and CPR classes. Additionally staff and residents collect Toys for Tots and school supplies for a local shelter.

 

Georgia

Name: Buckhead Life Restaurant Group

City, State: Atlanta, GA

Website: buckheadrestaurants.com

Pano Karatassos, founder of Atlanta’s Buckhead Life Restaurant Group, is a longtime supporter of Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation. For the past 27 years, Karatassos has led the charge and raised more than $10 million in the process to stamp out childhood hunger.

“As the founding chairman for Taste of the Nation Atlanta, Karatassos and his company are strong advocates for hunger relief in Atlanta,” says Niko Karatassos, chief operating officer. “For the past 12 years, Taste of the Nation has gathered Atlanta’s brightest culinary minds, live entertainment and auctions and ended with a large check, most recently for $785,000 to the benefiting organizations.”

Those organizations include Share Our Strength, Atlanta Community Food Bank, Genesis, The Georgia Citizen’s Coalition on Hunger, The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute and The Capital Planet Foundation. Additionally the restaurant group, which has 11 restaurants, supports The March of Dimes, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Bert’s Big Adventure, The Wounded Warrior Project, United Way and The Ronald McDonald House. The company also receives around 300 grant requests each month from schools, auctions, youth organizations and other community organizations.

“This wide portfolio of charitable contributions has brought hope to thousands of members of the Atlanta community who need it the most,” says Niko Karatassos.

 

Name: Metrotainment Cafes

City, State: Atlanta, GA

Website: metrocafes.com

Every Thanksgiving for the last 15 years, Metrotainment Cafes’ flagship restaurant, Einstein’s, makes and delivers a traditional dinner with all the trimmings to more than 800 people in need to help them celebrate the holiday.

“Volunteers from all concepts meet to help both prepare and deliver the food throughout the city,” says Jeff Landau, chief executive. “Many past employees still participate and each point to this tradition as highlighting the importance of this event for the community.” Additionally, Hudson Grille, one of 13 restaurants under the Metrotainment banner, partners with Santa Speedo Run Atlanta organizers to benefit a local charity. Last year Metrotainment pledged $2,500 plus a percentage of the day’s sales and gift cards to Kate’s Club, an Atlanta-based organization that helps children cope with the loss of a loved one.

 

Name: Moe’s Southwest Grill

City, State: Atlanta, GA

Website: moes.com

For the last five years, Moe’s Southwest Grill has supported the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation One Walk Atlanta, which supports kids with type 1 diabetes. Moe’s began supporting the cause because of a friend of the Moe’s family, an 18 year old who has had diabetes for the last nine years.

“We continue to support JDRF not only because Nick has become like part of our family, but also because this disease affects 371 million individuals – and counting –each year,” says Daley Michael, public relations and communications coordinator for the more than 600-unit chain. Funds are raised through the round up program, which allows guests to round up their checks with all funds going to the JDRF. Moe’s also earmarks the monies from regular-sized drinks between September and February for JDRF. Over the course of the last five years, Moe’s has raised more than $652,000. “This year, as a corporate team, 63 people strong, we raised more than $22,000,” says Michael.

 

Name: Norsan Group Restaurants

City, State: Duluth, GA

Website: norsangroup.com

Norberto Sanchez is a firm believer that a restaurant should play an important role in any community. Led by Sanchez since its founding in 1987, Norsan Group Restaurants, has grown to three different concepts and 15 restaurants in the Atlanta and Charlotte, NC areas. “The philosophy of everyone working at Norsan is to give back and help the communities we are part of in any way we can,” says Adriana Quintanilla. Through the company’s Pampas Steakhouse and Luciano’s Ristorante Italiano, the company helps numerous organizations including the Georgia Aquarium Conservation, schools and other nonprofit associations. The company’s Frontera Tex-Mex Grill often turns over a percentage of sales to the various local organizations it works with. “We have had amazing responses with these fundraisers, so that in the first year, we’ve helped more than 20 different associations raise money for their activities and events,” says Quintanilla. The company also allows Angel Hearts, a local Georgia organization that supports cancer patients who are unemployed or without insurance, to use space in its restaurants to raise awareness and recruit volunteers.

 

Illinois

Name: Frontera

City, State: Chicago, IL

Website: fronteragrill.net

Rick Bayless and The Frontera Foundation have been supporting farmers since 2003, and long before that the high-profile chef was already focusing attention on their hard work. The foundation, established in 2003 by Bayless and his wife, Deann, was launched because of concern for struggling farmers and the importance of local produce.

“We wondered how we could promote these farmers, how could we help in ways beyond placing big orders or offering shout outs on our menu copy,” says Casey Cora, media director. “What they need, and still need, is money.” The mission of the foundation has been to raise money and award capital development grants to small, sustainable Midwest Farms.

“The grant awards max out at $12,000 and we’ve never turned away any worthy applicants, and some farms have received multiple awards,” says Cora. Since its inception, the foundation has awarded about $1.3 million to dozens of small farms in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Frontera employees who volunteer their time run the foundation. “All the money we raise goes directly to the farmers and not an outsourced grant writer or administrator,” says Cora.

 

Name: Nick’s Pizza & Pub

City, State: Crystal Lake, IL

Website: nickspizza.com

Nick’s Pizza & Pub raises funds for 19 schools in the surrounding neighborhoods of its two restaurants. Last year it held 28 fundraisers that brought in more than $5,000 for a variety of worthy causes. “Every year we do a drive for Autism Awareness Month,” says Derek Miller, director of operations. “We raised $1,465, fed 75 autistic children, and collected 46 books and 2 large bins of school supplies,” he says. The company also supports families in crisis by raising more than $4,000 for two breast cancer survivors, more than $2,600 for a young boy with brain cancer and $2,200 for a young girl with a liver disease. Other organizations supported by Nick’s include the Boys and Girls Clubs, the Greater Elgin Food Bank, Big Brothers and Sisters and local churches. “We have donated more than $10,000 in food to these causes,” says Miller. Nick’s also donates pizza coupons to libraries and schools for reading programs.

 

Iowa

Name: Barley’s Bar

City, State: Council Bluffs, IA

Website: barleysbar.com

Barley’s Bar supports a variety of causes, holding festive events to raise funds. One such event is an annual Polar Plunge that supports the Special Olympics.

“Barley’s Bar is the number one sponsor of the event, provides meals for the event, and owner Matt Johnson volunteers to take the plunge every year,” says a company spokesman. The event raises more than $10,000 each year. Barley’s also holds two Chili Cookoffs annually, one raising funds for Wounded Warriors and another that supports Heartland Child Development. Other organizations the restaurant supports include Pints for Paws, Micah House, a Council Bluffs beautification project and the YMCA.

“When employees accept a position at Barley’s Bar, they know what they are getting into,” says Matt Johnson. “With a reputation for extraordinary community involvement, Barley’s employees understand that they are a part of a business that doesn’t just host fun events and make great food, they personally get involved in giving back with all events.”

 

Maine

Name: Frog and Turtle Gastro Pub

City, State: Westbrook, ME

Website: thefrogandturtle.com

The Frog and Turtle Gastro Pub’s owner, James Tranchemontagne, is an advocate for children and makes it a point to get involved with causes that improve their lives.

“He volunteers on many committees such as the Westbrook Kiwanis, the Westbrook Gorham Community Chamber, the Maine Market and Run for the Fallen,” says a company spokesman. “He loves kids and will do whatever it takes to assure their wellbeing.”

An avid supporter of My Place Teen Center, Tranchemontagne sponsors six kids per year. “My Place Teen Center is a year-round, free, after-school program (five hours a day) for kids, ages 10-18. The Center specializes in youth most at risk including disabled, homeless, food insecure, cognitively-delayed, low-income, immigrant and refugee teens,” says the spokesman.

 

Name: Geaghan’s Pub and Craft Brewery

City, State: Bangor, ME

Website: geaghans.com

In business for 40 years, the Geaghan family is passionate about giving back to the Bangor community. For the last four years Geaghan’s Pub has been dedicated to raising funds to combat cancer.

“In the past three years our fight to end cancer has raised more than $40,000 for two local cancer fighting organizations,” says Lisa Sturgeon, communications manager. The restaurant took up the cause after one of its longtime employees was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and needed help with medical expenses. In 2013 Geaghan’s Pub formed Team Geaghan to benefit Eastern Maine Medical Center’s Cancer Care of Maine.

“In the past three years, Team Geaghan has raised more than $36,000 for Cancer Care through many efforts, including our yearly October fundraiser with Maine Girls Pint Out and Ten Percent Nights in November with 10 percent of all sales of those wearing a mustache or beard earmarked for Cancer Care,” says Sturgeon.

 

Name: McDonald’s/RC Management

City, State: Thomaston, ME

The McDonald’s general manager in Thomaston, ME, Stacy Harris, has a two-year track record with Habitat for Humanity and her enthusiasm is contagious. Harris takes one day a week during a building project to feed the workers that are participating and often gets team members from her restaurant and sister restaurants in neighboring towns to spend a day working on a project. Last year, the team of volunteers led by Harris built a deck for the entrance of a project. Additionally the restaurant, which is one of 12 in McDonald’s/RC Management, supports local organizations throughout the year including Oceanside High School, the Salvation Army, Midcoast Christian Academy, Oceanside East High School, the Alan Baudanza Gold Scholarship Fund and a local food pantry and animal shelter.

 

Maryland

Name: Glory Days Grill

City, State: Gaithersburg, MD

Website: glorydaysgrill.com

Glory Days Grill, which has 24 restaurants, is all-in when it comes to sponsoring local sports teams through its Team Sponsorship program. In its 20th year, the program is part of the company’s culture, and is alive and well throughout all the units.

“Currently with 19 corporate locations and five franchised locations, and 10 more scheduled to open within the next 18 months, we sponsor well over 500 local sports teams annually,” says Charissa Costa, director of marketing. The program helps pick up the costs for fees, uniforms and registration costs. As a result of this program, along with the fundraising program, Dining for Dollars, donation requests and a variety of other initiatives, Glory Days Grill has donated more than $414,000 to the local communities in one year.

“Glory Days Grill managers are extremely committed not only to their staff but also to their guests and the extended family in our neighborhoods and communities,” says Costa.

 

Name: Irish Restaurant Company

City, State: Annapolis, MD

Website: irishrc.com

Imbued throughout the four restaurants that make up the Irish Restaurant Company is a core principle, one of eight, that everyone can make a difference.

One of the ways the company helps live up to that principle is through its Fundraiser Dinner Program, which donates $10 from each fundraiser meal back to the charity. Some of the organizations supported by the restaurants include Global Habitat for Humanity; The Saint Baldrick’s Foundation, which supports the fight against childhood cancers; Anne Arundel County Christmas sponsorship, an organization that provides Christmas gifts for those in need and school backpacks for low-income children; the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society; Annapolis Chamber Players; Cystic Fibrosis Foundation; Londontowne Symphony Orchestra; Fireman’s Association; World Community-Malawi Clean Water fund, which builds wells in Malawi, Africa; Lighthouse Homeless Shelter; and the Youth Suicide Awareness Action Team.

 

Name: Tabrizi’s

City, State: Columbus, MD

Website: tabrizis.com

Michael Tabrizi, owner of Tabrizi’s, a Mediterranean restaurant in the Baltimore area, decided to skip Restaurant Week in order to open his doors to the homeless. The restaurant served 1,147 homeless people from 12 shelters in Baltimore a meal of chicken cordon bleu, salad, bread and ice cream in a waffle bowl. Tabrizi partnered with Yellow Cab and the Baltimore Area Concierge Association to coordinate the project. Tabrizi also posted a request on Facebook seeking volunteers for the project, hoping to get 50 people to sign up. Instead, he received 900 responses and had to hold a lottery for 115 volunteer slots. His staff also participated and refused to get paid for the week. “I’ve lived in the city and I see the homeless. Baltimore has been good to me for the past 30 years: it’s my turn to give back. This is the least one can do, and I hope many people choose to follow and do something good for a complete stranger,” Tabrizi told TODAY.com.

 

Michigan

Name: Buddy’s Pizza

City, State: Farmington Hills, MI

Website: buddyspizza.com

For four months Buddy’s Pizza gave back to the Motown Museum in support of the preservation of Detroit’s musical history by donating $1 for every Motown Museum pizza purchased.

“As an added bonus on Motown Friday’s $2 from each Motown Museum pizza purchased is given back to the museum,” says Robert Jacobs, owner and president of the company, which has 11 restaurants and 700 employees. The pizza has also been permanently added to the menus under the Motor City Collection, which was launched in 2011 and reflects the restaurants’ support of many of the city’s institutions such as The Henry Ford, The Parade Company, The Detroit Zoo and the Detroit Institute of Arts.

 

Name: Passport Pizza

City, State: Clinton Twp., MI

Website: passportpizza.com

Fourteen-unit Passport Pizza is a champion for a cause — to reduce landfills. By supporting a law, HR4017, that reduces landfills by 17 percent, Passport Pizza is making a difference. The company also helps to provide food for 22 percent of the people of Michigan that go to bed hungry every night. “With this new law we were able to re-route more than 1,000 pallets of food that would have been in our landfill and used it to help feed about 1,000 people every week in pantries, community kitchens, transitional housing and the nearly homeless,” says Suzanne LaTour, president. Staff picks up and delivers the food from the donors to the people in need. They sort and pack, and load and unload trucks and cars.

 

Minnesota

Name: International Dairy Queen

City, State: Minneapolis, MN

Website: idq.com

For more than 30 years, since 1984, Dairy Queen has teamed up with Miracle Network Hospitals to improve the lives of sick and injured children.

“Over the years, donations have topped $110 million through the sales of in-store Miracle Balloon icons, and collecting spare change from DQ fans, hosting special fundraising and awareness events and Miracle Treat Day, where in one day the Dairy Queen system raises more than $5 million through the sales of the iconic Blizzard Treat,” says Adam Layne, cause marketing manager. The money supports the local children’s hospitals near the Dairy Queen locations so the impact is felt at the local level. With 6,600 restaurants in the DQ system, mobilizing for Miracle Treat Day can be a huge undertaking.

“Dairy Queen invests $1 million in advertising to promote Miracle Treat Day,” says Layne. All agency partners, DQ social media channels and local marketing personnel have the responsibility of promoting the event.

 

Mississippi

Name: McAlister’s Deli

City, State: Hattiesburg, MS

Website: mcalistersdeli.com

McAlister’s Deli in Hattiesburg, MS, is involved with several organizations in its community. Each year the restaurant supports the Mississippi Diabetes Foundation by providing box lunches for sponsors of the group’s annual golf tournament. Other groups supported by McAlister’s include the Chamber of Commerce, local churches, cancer centers, and after-hours student organizations.

“We always look for ways to help families in need,” says Matthew Jones, general manager. “We have provided lunch for families that have had terminally ill family members in the hospital and are unable to leave for lunch.” The restaurant also supports the Pink Ribbon Fund, which is a local cancer awareness program.

 

Name: Newk’s Eatery

City, State: Jackson, MS

Website: newks.com

In 2014 Newk’s Eatery debuted an ovarian cancer awareness campaign called “Newk’s Cares” that has raised more than $280,000 since its inception.

“Our passion goes beyond the kitchen,” is the saying that greets customers when they enter one of Newk’s 85 locations.

“With one in 70 women in the United States diagnosed with ovarian cancer over the course of her lifetime, the disease has emerged as the deadliest gynecologic cancer with only 45 percent of diagnosed women surviving longer than five years,” says Alan Wright, chief marketing officer. “But Newk’s Cares is looking to change that statistic.” The chain is trying to spread awareness and educate women on how to spot ovarian cancer in its roots.

“With the survival rate increasing to more than 92 percent with early detection and treatment, Newk’s Cares is banding together with the community to spread awareness,” Wright says. At the center of the Newk’s Cares campaign is the Ovarian Cycle Jackson – an annual stationary spin cycle event held in partnership with the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund in Newk’s home base of Jackson. Through the spin event, which invites the community to pedal their way toward a cure, the company raised more than $120,000, a number that is expected to grow in subsequent years.

 

Missouri

Name: Bartolino’s Osteria

City, State: St. Louis, MO

Website: bartolinosrestaurants.com

Following a tragic robbery and murder in the St. Louis hotel that Bartolino’s Osteria is located in, the restaurant established the Scot Knopfel Memorial Dine-Out in honor of the victim.

Bart Saracino, Sr., owner of Bartolino’s, established the memorial, rallying the St. Louis chapter of the Missouri Restaurant Association to help solicit other restaurants to participate.

“The restaurants agreed to donate a portion of their proceeds from the Tuesday night on which the event was held,” says Saracino. “The event was covered on all three network television stations and many radio stations.” Proceeds were used to fund scholarships for employees in the restaurant and hotel industry, and donations from the 92 participating restaurants were expected to total about $40,000.

“Scott’s brother and sister were the hardest working of the volunteers,” says Saracino. “For them, I believe it brought a sense of closure and helped them move beyond their loss to a large degree.”

 

Name: Iron Barley

City, State: St. Louis, MO

Website: ironbarley.com

Tom and Gen Coghill, owners of Iron Barley in St. Louis, have put on Tomato Fest for the past 11 years in support of Lift For Life Gym. The gym offers at risk children a safe environment where they can strengthen their bodies, enrich their minds and develop healthy social relationships.

“From its beginning as a simple weightlifting program in 1988, LFLG has grown into a full-service youth activity center offering services designed to alleviate the burden of poverty and build a sense of resiliency that will help children achieve success personally, academically and professionally,” says an Iron Barley spokesperson.

Held each summer, Tomato Fest features food where tomatoes are the star of the show. Additional funds are raised through a farmers market featuring local produce, a crafts fair, live auctions and raffles. The event, held on the street in front of the restaurant, raises about $6,000 each year and all proceeds benefit the LFLG.

 

Montana

Name: Glacier Restaurant Group

City, State: Whitefish, MT

Website: grgfood.com

The Glacier Restaurant Group participates in a number of philanthropic endeavors to better the communities it serves. Overall, the company raises more than $48,000 annually and a large bulk of those funds goes to Special Olympics Montana. This year, the company, which has 30 restaurants, was honored as the Business of the Year by Special Olympics Montana.

Additionally the company supports schools through its School Nights program where guests with a School Night Voucher have 20 percent of their bill donated back to their school. Other community programs that are supported by Glacier Restaurant Group include Bowl for Kid’s Sake, Habitat for Humanity and local food banks.

“Based on (and connected to) the successful Round It Up America program, we have created the Round It Up Montana program,” says Ryan Fuller, director of operations. “This program allows customers in our restaurants to round up their bill total, with these monies being donated to charities.” The two charities that receive the donations are Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry and Montana ProStart.

 

Nebraska

Name: Cappy’s Hotspot Bar/Grill/Catering

City, State: Lincoln, NE

Website: cappysbar.com

Cappy’s actively supports several fundraisers throughout the year that benefit a variety of causes in the Lincoln community.

“This past year we have helped with a gift drive for a family in need during Christmas,” says John Caporale, general manager. “We collected more than 30 gifts for the family, as well as home supplies.”

The restaurant, which has 40 employees, also donates Cappy’s gift cards for auctions through various local charitable organizations with a value of more than $3,500. Cappy’s also helped sponsor an event to raise funds for a 22-year-old with cancer, and held a fundraiser to benefit the Pediatric Cancer Action Network.

“Whether it be donating a portion of their tips or working for free during an event, either way, they are very much involved,” says Caporale about Cappy’s employees.

 

Name: Dish

City, State: Lincoln, NE

Website: dishdowntown.com

Dish restaurant in Lincoln, Neb., is involved in several nonprofit fundraisers throughout the year. The three biggest fundraisers the company holds on an annual basis benefit the March of Dimes, Junior League of Lincoln and Child Guidance Center.

“For each of these fundraisers we provide food for the event as well as donating a dinner for a live auction that includes multiple courses and wine pairings,” says Dish chef/owner, Travis Green. Dish also provides gift cards for several local charities. To date the restaurant, with the help of its 20 employees, has raised about $15,000.

 

Name: LaCasa Pizzaria

City, State: Omaha, NE

Website: lacasapizzaria.net

LaCasa Pizzaria has been actively involved in United Way of Midlands since 1995, and the restaurant’s employees have donated more than $40,000 to date. The restaurant and its 60 employees are also involved in Heartland’s Annual Dine Out Against Hunger, which supports Food Bank of the Heartland. Active since 2005, LaCasa has donated more than $2,800 to the cause. Since 2007, LaCasa has donated more than $3,000 in gift certificates to various local high schools to use at fundraisers. LaCasa has also supported the Nebraska Aids Project since 2007 with donations totaling more than $3,000 to date. Another organization near and dear to the heart of LaCasa and its employees is Habitat for Humanity. Not only has the restaurant donated food totaling $2,885 since 2008, but also LaCasa’s employees have logged more than 80 hours of labor assisting on various projects.

 

Name: Runza National

City, State: Lincoln, NE

Website: runzanational.com

Runza National, with 82 restaurants and employees that number about 1,500, has partnered with the TeamMates Mentoring Program since 2009. The goal of the organization is to positively impact the world by inspiring youth to reach their full potential through mentoring. “They endeavor to reach that goal by matching adult mentors to grade school students,” says Becky Perrett director of marketing. “A unique component of the program are the close relationships TeamMates has with learning institutions as mentors visit students at school one hour per week during the academic year.” Through a series of annual fundraisers, Runza has contributed a total of $129,897 to TeamMates. Additionally the chain donates more than $420,000 annually to a variety of charities and organizations in Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado and Iowa.

 

Name: Southern Hospitality Ventures, Inc.

City, State: Lincoln, NE

Website: shv-inc.com

Since opening the first Raising Cane’s in 2006, Southern Hospitality Ventures has given nearly $1 million back to the Lincoln community. More than $200,000 of that was given in 2015, which is a 2,140 percent increase from what was donated the first year. When Jennifer and Justin Jones started the franchise, they had one goal: “We didn’t want to be just another restaurant in the community,” says Jennifer Jones. “We wanted to be the community’s restaurant.” That quest led them to create several programs in subsequent years that support the communities in which their five restaurants are located. Since 2009, the Joneses have been partnering with Cell Phones for Soldiers — a nonprofit organization that provides free communication tools to active duty military members and veterans by recycling old cell phones in exchange for calling cards. The restaurants started collecting phones from customers in their restaurants and in appreciation donors received a free meal. To date enough cell phones have been collected to give away more than 580,000 minutes in calling cards to Nebraska troops and more than 2,400 meals have also been given away.

 

New Hampshire

Name: Great New Hampshire Restaurants

City, State: Bedford, NH

Website: greatnhrestaurants.com

In honor of the company’s 30th anniversary, Great New Hampshire Restaurants, created its own charitable trust called FEEDNH.org.

“Our goal has always been to be an active member of our community and giving back means so much to our entire organization,” says Tom Boucher, owner and chief executive of the company, which has seven restaurants and 620 employees. FEEDNH.org will benefit families, education, the elderly and the disadvantaged in New Hampshire.

Out of the gate the organization created a community outreach to teach children how to cook and eat healthfully. Chef Nicole created a cooking class complete with classroom time, cookbook and recipes, as well as the entire class on a CD. Hundreds of kids throughout New Hampshire were provided the class, titled Great NH Kids Can Cook! one-on-one.

“She and her team went to Boys and Girls Clubs throughout the state to give hands-on lessons to kids who will benefit from these skills and knowledge their entire lives,” says Boucher. Other groups supported by the restaurant company include Meals On Wheels, New Horizon, State Children’s Alliance and Easter Seals Veterans Count.

 

Name: Hagan’s Grill

City, State: Hampton, NH

The owner and staff at Hagan’s Grill listen to their customers and try to help them whenever possible. When Rose Correll’s father was going through some serious financial difficulties and Rose herself had a serious medical issue, Hagan’s Grill stepped in and held a fundraiser. The event raised about $4,000, and that is just the beginning.

Hagan’s Grill also works with a variety of other organizations including United Way, Paws Walk and Big Brothers Big Sisters. The restaurant, which only employs nine people, often donates food for fundraisers and open houses, and also serves up chili and hot cider during the annual community parade.

“We help out at the local schools such as Portsmouth High and also at Share Our Strength’s No Child Hungry,” says owner Dora Hand. “We take pride in what we do. We are a team and it shows when we open the doors. It is no longer about us, but about you.”

 

Name: Milly’s Tavern/Stark Brewing Co.

City, State: Manchester, NH

Website: millystavern.com

For the past 22 years, Milly’s Tavern has donated an average of $25,000 annually, or about $550,000, to local soup kitchens, shelters and job placement programs for Manchester’s local homeless populations.

“Our yearly holiday party alone raises nearly $15,000 and our Summerfest outdoor festival, in only its second year, is experiencing 20 percent growth in donations received,” says Chris Mansfield, front-of-the-house manager. Many of Milly’s 30 employees get involved in myriad ways, most notably by participating in the annual holiday party when they cook and serve 25 to 30 turkeys and a variety of sides to the local homeless population.

 

Name: The Common Man

City, State: Ashland, NH

Website: thecman.com

Long recognized as a company that is actively engaged with the areas served by its 16 restaurants, The Common Man has a simple but profound mantra, ‘Do Good.’ “Our staff, or STARS as we call them, live that every day by getting involved with organizations in their communities whether it be hours of volunteer time, food donations or hosting fundraising events in their restaurants,” says Erica Murphy, director of communications and community relations. The Common Man’s vice president, Diane Downing is spearheading one such annual event, the Winnipesaukee Wine Festival. The festival brings vintners from around the world to the area and hundreds of event goers who celebrate with an evening of food, music, fine wines, and helping those in need. Last year’s recipient was Veterans Count, a program of Easter Seals that does life changing work by supporting local veterans, service members and their families. The event raised about $15,000.

 

New Jersey

Name: 17 Summer Restaurant

City, State: Lodi, NJ

Website: 17summerrestaurant.com

17 Summer Restaurant works with a varied group of organizations in the Lodi, N.J., area. Programs such as The Tomorrows Children’s Fund, National Council for Jewish Women, Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen and Comprehensive Behavioral Healthcare are high on 17 Summer Restaurant’s list of worthy causes.

“The Tomorrows Children’s Fund is a local organization that helps children with rare blood diseases and cancer,” says Joseph Cuccia, executive chef and owner. “Many of our customers and friends have been helped and cured by The Tomorrows Children’s Fund.”

To help give back, the restaurant, which has 10 employees, donates a portion of proceeds to the organization every Tuesday. Over the course of a year the restaurant raises about $10,000, donates about 10,000 meals and its employees log about 1,000 volunteer hours.

“Our staff serves at every charity event. They can speak knowledgeably about the organizations that we partner with and are passionate about each cause,” says Cuccia.

 

New York

Name: TL Cannon

City, State: Williamsville, NY

Website: tlcannon.com

“From large scale fundraisers for organizations such as Make-A-Wish and Special Olympics, to giving back to the community during Military Appreciation Month or Tip-A-Firefighter events, we are passionate about our charitable causes,” says Danielle Bucella, marketing and social media coordinator. TL Cannon, which has 62 restaurants and about 3,000 employees, raises more than $2 million annually through Flapjack Fundraisers, Dining to Donate events, fundraising campaigns, golf tournaments and other creative means. The company also gives out more than $335,000 annually in free meals on Veteran’s Day. Celebratory Make-A-Wish meals are also held at TL Cannon’s restaurants, which raise more than $130,000 annually for the cause.

 

Nevada

Name: Carmine’s NYC Italian Restaurant

City, State: Las Vegas, NV

Website: carminesnyc.com

Carmine’s NYC Italian Restaurant, in world-famous Las Vegas, goes all out to wow customers through food quality and presentation, consistency, and friendly and efficient service.

“In order to accomplish this, Artie Cutler, who created Carmine’s (currently celebrating its 25th anniversary) and Virgil’s Real BBQ (established 1994), developed the WOW-factor, an idea that promotes consistency companywide,” says Anthony Esparza, general manager.

 

Name: Crazy Pita Restaurant Group

City, State: Henderson, NV

Website: crazypita.com

Crazy Pita has deep roots in the Las Vegas nonprofit community and as such supports a wide variety of worthy causes. One of the primary recipients of the three-unit chain, owned by Mehdi Zarhloul, is The Josh Stevens Foundation, a nonprofit created in memory of local student Josh Stevens. The charity promotes kindness and anti-bullying efforts.

“In an effort to support the charity’s core message and keep Josh’s memory alive, all three Crazy Pita restaurants feature a year round Josh Stevens Foundation display selling ‘Be Kind’ merchandise and donating 100 percent of the proceeds directly to the organization,” says Zarhloul. “In addition, the restaurant celebrates the child’s birthday by organizing a fundraiser and donating all the proceeds from the sale of Josh’s favorite pita.”

Other groups that Crazy Pita partners with include the Nathan Adelson Hospice pediatric program; The Shade Tree shelter, helping victims of domestic violence and housing more than 350 women, children and their pets; USO Las Vegas; Bikers Against Child Abuse; Nevada Donor Network; and the WestCare Foundation, an organization that provides a wide spectrum of health and human services in both residential and outpatient environments.

 

North Carolina

Name: Apple Gold Group

City, State: Raleigh, NC

Website: aggrestaurants.com

When it comes to giving back the Apple Gold Group creates solid partnerships that stand the test of time. Groups that have benefited, include The V Foundation for Cancer Research, and Make-A-Wish South Carolina. In 2014, Apple Gold passed the million-dollar mark in funds raised for the V Foundation, and in South Carolina, Make-A-Wish is the franchisee’s charity of choice.

“Together the South Carolina restaurants raised more than $210,000 for Make-A-Wish South Carolina in 2015,” says Diana Dane, director of marketing. Funds are raised through the Wish Card program, which takes place each year from April 1 to April 30.

“The funds from the 2015 Wish Card program will grant about 30 wishes for local children, nearly 20 percent of the chapter’s yearly wish grants,” says Dane. Apple Gold also supports other organizations in the communities it serves, and in 2015 raised more than $1.5 million.

 

Name: Eschelon Experiences

City, State: Raleigh, NC

Website: eschelonexperiences.com

Eschelon Experiences, a Raleigh-based company with five restaurants, a private event space, and about 250 employees, is partnered with Raleigh City Farm, a high production urban farm and food hub created in 2011.

“Since 2012, our friends at Eschelon Experiences have been supporting our mission in a number of ways,” says Lisa Grele Barrie, a Raleigh City Farm board of director. “Their fearless and engaging marketing director, Tara Zechini, leads groups of her associates in service days on the Farm that include a variety of farm-related tasks such as hauling mulch, painting sheds, preparing beds, pulling weeds and more.” Last year, Eschelon raised more than $9,000 in one month for the farm.

Eschelon has also supported Band Together, a group whose mission is to use live music as a platform for social change, for the past six years. “We partner with one nonprofit organization each year and raise funds and awareness with them through the live music events,” says Band Together’s executive director, Matt Strickland. “Eschelon is one of our very best partners,” he says. “We would not be nearly as successful without them.”

 

Name: Golden Corral

City, State: Raleigh, NC

Website: goldencorral.com

Aside from being active in all the communities served by the 491 Golden Corral units nationwide, the chain is also involved in two companywide initiatives. For the last 15 years, Military Appreciation Night has been an annual event, happening on or around Veterans Day. The event is intended to give a big, “thank you,” to active duty and retired U.S. military personnel by offering them a free dinner buffet and beverage while also raising donations for the DAV, Disabled American Veterans. “Golden Corral’s Military Appreciation Night has served more than 4.4 million complimentary meals to military personnel over the first 14 years, and generated more than $10.2 million in guest contributions to support community-based service initiatives for veterans,” says Judy Irwin, a Golden Corral spokeswoman. The other charity near and dear to the Golden Corral organization is Camp Corral, a free, one-of-a-kind summer camp for children of wounded, disabled or fallen military service members. Since its founding in 2011 by Golden Corral, Camp Corral has grown to 23 camps in 19 states and has served more than 7,000 children.

 

Ohio

Name: Jeni’s

City, State: Columbus, OH

Website: jenis.com

Despite a food recall last year that left the company’s finances in dire shape and employees dispirited, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream turned lemons into lemonade.

“During the recall, the communities we served continued to support us through hundreds of emails and phone calls. We continued to be humbled,” says Charly Bauer, director of philanthropy and community engagement. With 24 restaurants and more than 500 employees, Jeni’s is an Ohio fixture. The company’s mission statement says: “Company is Community.”

Bauer says, “It’s in our mission statement, and we live it every day.” Some of the local nonprofit organizations that are the beneficiaries of Jeni’s generosity include: the Mid-Ohio Food Bank, the Wexner Center for the Arts, The Short North Arts District, the Columbus Foundation, the Columbus College of Art & Design and United Way. Employees get in the act through the company’s commitment to clean water.

“We had a central theme – clean water – and projects to support that theme in Columbus, Nashville, Atlanta, Charleston and Los Angeles,” says Bauer. “The projects and staff participation made us proud. In Atlanta, eight volunteers removed 10 bags of broken glass from Peachtree Creek in the Morningside Nature Preserve.” In 2015 donations and commitments totaled $14,473 and in-kind donations totaled $78,539, more than 22,0000 gallons of ice cream.

 

Name: Piada Italian Street Food

City, State: Columbus, OH

Founded in 2010, Piada Italian Street Food, has already made serious community ties in the areas served by its 24 fast-casual restaurants. “At each Piada location there is a specific community manager who partners with organizations in the local community,” says Matt Eisenacher, director of marketing. For several years, Piada has partnered with the Columbus Pride Parade by selling T-shirts for $5 and donating it back to the event organizer. Cancer related causes are also close to the heart of Piada’s founder, Chris Doody. The company makes it a priority to help fund such groups as Susan G. Komen Columbus, The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. For those who ate at Piada for the week leading up to the Komen Columbus Race for the Cure and ordered a Farmer’s Market Salad, $2 was donated to the organization. As a result more than $4,000 was raised from salad sales. Throughout last year the company, with the help of its 600 employees, raised about $40,000 and donated 10,000 meals to help its neighbors.

 

Name: Roosters

City, State: Dublin, OH

Website: roosterswings.com

Last year, Roosters contributed more than $100,000 in Roosters Bucks, gift certificates, gift baskets as well as monetary and food donations to myriad local causes in its trading areas. “We truly strive to contribute to each and every donation request we receive even if it is only $2 Rooster Bucks for all attendees,” says Nicole Cox, director of marketing and public relations. The 34-unit restaurant company also put another $800,000 into the communities through its Fun Card fundraising program, which benefits local schools, youth sports teams and nonprofit organizations. Roosters is also involved with The Get Behind the Badge charity organization, which benefits families of law enforcement/firefighter personnel that have been critically injured or killed in the line of duty. The company also donated $25,000 to the local Ronald McDonald House; raised money for the Urban and Shelley Meyer fund for Cancer Research and the Second and Seven Foundation, an organization that supports literacy.

 

Name: Rusty Bucket Restaurant & Tavern

City, State: Columbus, OH

Website: myrustybucket.com

Founded in 2002 and now with 20 units, Rusty Bucket Restaurant & Tavern is actively involved with several organizations and nonprofits in the four states where it does business, with every new unit donating 20 percent of the grand opening day’s profits. For the past four years, the company has donated more that $25,000 to such recipients as A Kid Again, Mason Public Schools Foundation, Crayons To Classrooms and Miracle League of Central Ohio. Since 2011 the company has also participated in “Round It Up America,” a program that allows guests to directly support an organization by rounding up their check to the nearest dollar amount.  The company is also very active as a ProStart Preferred Partner for the Ohio Restaurant Association Education Foundation and has committed $20,000 to scholarships.

 

Oklahoma

Name: Integris/Grove

City, State: Grove, OK

Website: integrisok.com

Taste of Grand, a festive food event featuring about one dozen Grove, OK-area restaurants, is held annually to benefit the Integris Hospital Foundation. “Area restaurants set up booths and provide, at their own expense, an exquisite appetizer version of their particular specialties,” says Kristi Wallace, human resources coordinator for Integris/Grove. “Restaurants ranging from fast food to the fanciest of high-end casino and yacht clubs are represented.” Held annually for the past 11 years, Taste of Grand brings in about 650 people and last year raised about $64,500. “All restaurants can compete for ‘Supreme Cuisine,’ which allows for a full year of bragging rights and a beautiful crystal trophy,” says Wallace. “Supreme Cuisine is judged by a collection of chefs from the industry.” Proceeds are used to purchase life-saving medical equipment for the rural hospital; connect patients with treatment not available in town; and buy much-needed medical supplies for those who need financial assistance.

 

Name: Old Germany Restaurant

City, State: Choctaw, OK

Website: oldgermany.com

For the last 25 years, Old Germany Restaurant has supported a myriad of causes in Choctaw, OK. From the Choctaw School Foundation to the Jones Fire Department to the Go Mitch Go Foundation research for children’s blood diseases, the well-known restaurant operation is all in. Other organizations and nonprofit groups assisted by Old Germany Restaurant include the Leukemia/Lymphoma Association, Prevention for Blindness, Big Brothers Big Sisters, American Heart Association, the Oklahoma City Art Museum, Parkinson Foundation of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Science Museum, and area Rotary Clubs. “We also give gift certificates to the nine finalists of the Choctaw Nicoma Park School Teachers of the Year,” says Mike Turek, owner.

 

Name: Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt

City, State: Oklahoma City, OK

Website: orangeleafyogurt.com

To encourage community involvement from its 303-units, Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt established a community service grant-making program that awards one store, or group of stores in each region, a grant of up to $2,500 to assist nonprofit organizations. “Over the past three years, Orange Leaf corporate has donated more than $35,000 to local stores,” says Lisa Riley, public relations manager. In addition 2015 marked the third consecutive year that Orange Leaf has partnered with Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign. Orange Leaf’s goal is to provide one million meals to hungry kids in America during September, which is National Hunger Awareness month. The company’s campaign includes purchases by guests for limited edition t-shirts, pin-ups and collectible cups, who then receive complimentary coupons to be used on a subsequent visit. Overall, Orange Leaf raised $345,000 by donating 3.45 million meals during the three-year period. “The three objectives of the Share Our Strength campaign are to raise money, raise awareness and raise advocacy both internally and with our customers,” says Riley.

 

Name: SONIC Drive-In

City, State: Oklahoma City, OK

Website: sonicdrivein.com

For seven years, SONIC Drive-In has been giving back to its local communities through Limeades for Learning. The marketing campaign is in partnership with DonorsChoose.org, and it provides essential funds for learning materials and innovative resources to public school teachers across America. In the campaign’s first six years, SONIC donated more than $4.2 million, funding nearly 7,500 teacher projects. “The 2015 campaign in its seventh year, saw SONIC and its franchisee partners donate more than $650,000 during the Limeades for Learning voting campaign from September 28 through October 18,” says Matthew Young, a SONIC spokesman. During that time frame SONIC guests helped make a difference across the country by voting for public school teacher projects they wanted to see funded. “Over its seven-year history, SONIC’s Limeades for Learning has funded more than 10,000 teacher projects, improving educational experiences for hundreds of thousands of teachers and students across the country,” says Young.

 

Oregon

Name: 7 Devils Brewing Company

City, State: Coos Bay, OR

Website: 7devilsbrewery.com

“Our goal is to enhance the community in which we live and succeed financially so that we can provide family wage jobs for creative people in a progressive workplace,” says owner, Annie Pollard. “With core values of efficiency, ingenuity, pride in craftsmanship, environmental and social responsibility and superior customer service, the 7 Devils Brewing Company is crafting the change we wish to see in the world,” she says. A partial list of organizations supported by the restaurant include: Highway 101 Cleanup; Relay for Life; Boys & Girls Club; Beach Clean Up — Washed Ashore; Advantage Smiles for Kids; Providence Medical Foundation; Hospice fundraiser; Coos County 4-H; Egyptian Theater; Pancreatic Cancer Network and the National Guard. In total the restaurant donated about $16,500 in 2015.

 

Name: Buster's Main Street Cafe 

City, State: Cottage Grove, OR

Buster's Main Street Cafe is committed to the Cottage Grove community and supports 23  organizations with donations and to provide participants the opportunity to earn funds through the restaurant.  Organizations such as, Beds for Freezing Nights, Habitat for Humanity, and the Cottage Grove Humane Society are among the community partners who have benefited from this program.    While the team at Buster's Main Street Cafe takes great pride in the community partnership program, perhaps, the most rewarding community outreach they provide is to Veterans and Active Duty Service Members. It all began on Veteran's Day 2013, when Buster's Main Street Cafe provided their first free meals to Veterans and Active Duty Service Members.   Having Veterans Day once a year wasn't enough for the team at Buster's. So, it was decided after that first Veteran's Day in 2013 that Buster's would celebrate Veterans and Active Duty Service Members on the 11th of every month by providing them with free meals.  Since the inception of this program, Buster's Main Street Cafe has proudly served over 650 meals to Veterans and Active Duty Service Members.

 

Name: Venti’s

City, State: Salem, OR

Website: ventiscafe.com

Through its Live Salem initiative, which began in 2011, two-unit Venti’s has raised more than $750,000 for numerous worthy causes in the Salem, OR area. “We have hand-selected vital nonprofit organizations that need our partnership to increase awareness of their mission,” says owner, Dino Venti. To raise the money the restaurants and its 65 employees have held monthly food/drink specials with regular fundraiser nights. Some of the organizations that have been funded by Venti’s include Boys & Girls Club; Family Building Blocks; Salem Area Trail Alliance; Friends of 2 Bridges, a grassroots citizens group dedicated to the opening of two bridges; Children’s Educational Theater; Cherry City Derby Girls, Salem’s all women roller derby league; Bicycle Transportation Alliance; Isaac’s Room, an organization that helps divested young people meet challenges; KMUZ, a local radio station; and Marion-Polk Food Share, a local food bank.

 

Pennsylvania

Name: Lehigh Valley Restaurant Group

City, State: Allentown, PA

Website: redrobinpa.com

To honor the company’s founder, Steve Hanzlik, who lost his battle with cancer in 2010, Lehigh Valley Restaurant Group developed an active fundraising program to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS).

“To honor Steve’s memory, our leadership and team members committed themselves to actively support LLS fundraising programs,” says David Novick, chief people officer. “That first year, we raised $9,147, and in each successive year, our efforts resulted in increasingly higher amounts leading up to 2015, in which we raised more than $113,000.” In five years the company’s total contribution is more than $360,000. The 21 Red Robin restaurants and more than 2,100 employees hold a variety of annual fundraisers to achieve the desired results. LLS’ Light the Night Walks, a special half marathon, the Tour De Chocolate Bicycle Race, and a Pie in the Face event where employees pay for the privilege of throwing pies at their managers, are a few of the creative ways the company has been able to not only raise funds, but also awareness.

 

Name: Springfield Grille Adams/SRG

City, State: Mars, PA

Website: springfields.com

Over the course of a decade the Springfield Grille Adams has been able to raise $150,000 through its annual golf tournament that benefits needy area families. “Each year we ask our customers to nominate families in the area in need and then choose one to benefit,” says David Benson, general manager. “Over the years we have averaged about 125 participants each year and have been able to give families between $11,000 and $20,000.”  Springfield Grille provides donuts and coffee for breakfast, hot dogs, fruit, potato chips and cookies at the turn, then finishes off the day with a filet dinner with roasted potatoes and a vegetable medley.  “In addition to golf we have a silent auction, Chinese auction, a 50/50 raffle and also sell chances to win dinner for two,” says Benson.

 

South Carolina

Name: Alodia’s

City, State: Columbia, SC

Website: alodias.com

In the aftermath of Hurricane Joaquin that affected South Carolina, Alodia’s and its 32 employees jumped into action to help alleviate some of the suffering that hit neighbors. “The devastation wiped out homes of family members and crew members who are still rebuilding, and sadly, took the life of a friend of mine,” says Ryan Clark, Assistant General Manager. For an entire week the restaurant was running non-stop trays of food to fire departments, police, volunteer crews and neighborhoods hardest hit. The restaurant reached out through social media for volunteers and donations to help reach out to the most affected areas. “The littlest things made the biggest difference at the time, and we did it with a smile because we knew united we would get through this disaster,” says Clark. Additionally, for the next month, until the crisis had subsided, the restaurant provided free meals to first responders.

 

Name: Café Amalfi at Hilton Myrtle Beach Resort

City, State: Myrtle Beach, SC

Website: hilton.com

Since 2008, Café Amalfi at Hilton Myrtle Beach Resort has been providing food to families in need during the holiday season. The restaurant’s chef, Kevin Luque, has been working with the Feed A Family staff every Christmas Eve to prepare traditional turkey dinners for an average of 500 Grand Strand families. Additionally enough food is prepared to feed another 2,000 people at area shelters. “Kevin has led Feed A Family to serve thousands of local meals to the needy for the past seven years,” says Richard Lewis, board member of Feed A Family. “Chef Kevin is the heart and soul of Feed A Family,” he says. The Hilton Myrtle Beach Resort’s Blue Energy Committee also volunteers to help box all of the meals for delivery. “This includes acting as an assembly line to load all the food into the vehicles,” says Susan Phillips, Director of Marketing for the hotel.

 

Name: Croissants Bistro & Bakery

City, State: Myrtle Beach, SC

Website: croissants.net

Set to open in the fall of 2016, the International Culinary Institute of Myrtle Beach at Horry Georgetown Technical College will forever be linked to Croissants Bistro & Bakery. As a culinary expert in the community for more than 20 years, the restaurant’s owner, Heidi Vukov, serves on the board of the Horry Georgetown Technical College Foundation and has made a $25,000 donation to the David Brittain Legacy Fund, which supports the culinary arts. As such, Croissants has secured the naming rights to the bakery and kitchen at the school. Each year Croissants’ Spring Wine Tasting also benefits the Culinary Institute, raising about $1,500 to $2,500 annually. “The event has rallied the support of the local community with more than a thousand people attending each year,” says Vukov. “In just three years more than $12,000 has been raised for the David Brittain Legacy Fund.”

 

Name: Denny’s

City, State: Spartanburg, SC

Website: dennys.com

Denny’s wants to help America’s children reach their full potential, and to do that, the company is committed to helping stamp out hunger. “In an effort to ensure that every child in the U.S. starts his or her day off right with nutritious, attainable meals, Denny’s has participated in Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign for the last five years,” says Paul Spencer, director of corporate social responsibility and internal communications. During the 2015 program, nearly 1,600 restaurants nationwide sold coupons — for a $3 donation guests received $9 worth of coupons redeemable at participating Denny’s restaurants. Denny’s also encourages guests to donate online and when they do they are emailed a coupon for $5 off their next meal.  Since 2011, Denny’s has donated more than $2.3 million to the No Kid Hungry campaign to help end childhood hunger.

 

Name: Jersey Mike’s Subs

City, State: Charleston, SC

Website: jerseymikes.com

Jersey Mike’s Subs’ area director and franchisee, Jay Yates, has joined forces with Windwood Family Services for the last five years during its annual March “Month of Giving” campaign.

“During the month, all are invited to come into their local Charleston-area Jersey Mike’s restaurant and make a donation to Windwood Family Services,” says Yates. On the last Wednesday of the month all 11 Jersey Mike’s donate 100 percent of the day’s proceeds to the cause for a Day of Giving. To date more than $140,000 has been raised. The restaurants, which employ about 165 people, are also creating awareness about the charity in addition to raising funds.

“The leadership at Jersey Mike’s understands it takes a huge community effort to extinguish domestic violence, abuse, and neglect from our community’s landscape,” says Debbie McKelvey, executive director of Windwood. “They have answered the call to action with their Month of Giving campaign and have given us an opportunity to join forces with them to make a positive impact in the lives of at-risk children.”

 

Texas

Name: P.Terrys

City, State: Austin, TX

Website: pterrys.com

Four times a year P.Terrys has a ‘give back day’ where all the money raised goes to a local charity. The recipients for 2015 included Assistance League of Austin-Operation School Bell, Caritas, Austin Diaper Bank and Season For Caring. Since beginning the program, about six years ago, P.Terrys has donated more than $400,000. Last year, the ‘give back day’ raised $21,544 for Season For Caring. It broke all single-day sales records for the restaurant company, which is owned by Patrick Terry. Additionally the managers and staff of the 10 restaurants volunteer as a group at one of the local soup kitchens about once a month. Each Christmas, P.Terrys partners with a local facility that provides shelter to abandoned children by donating food, employees to work the event, and Christmas gifts for the 25 to 30 kids.

 

Name: West End Pizza Company

City, State: Fredericksburg, TX

Website: westendpizzacompany.com

In honor of her husband returning home from his second deployment to Afghanistan, Janet Degenhardt, wanted to do something special to support those that were helpful while he was away, and Pizza For A Purpose was born. In an event to benefit Wounded Warriors at Nebo, West End Pizza Pizza Company offered a pizza buffet, sold t-shirts, and collected donated items from local business owners for a raffle. “The Wounded Warrior at Nebo volunteers were able to introduce themselves to the community and educate those in attendance about the ministry’s work,” says Degenhardt. The event raised $3,200 in its first year. Last year the event celebrated its third anniversary and $4,500 was raised. West End Pizza donates the venue, food, purchases the t-shirts designed specially for the event, and pays for the advertising, banners and printing. To date Pizza For A Purpose has raised $11,000 for the ministry and 100 percent of the money raised is given to Wounded Warriors.

 

Name: Which Wich Superior Sandwiches

City, Dallas, TX

Website: whichwich.com

Project PB&J launched in 2014 with the mission of making the world a better place. “All of our 400 shop locations sell PB&J sandwiches in-store,” says Brian Jaeger, director of media relations. “For every sandwich purchased by a customer, one sandwich is donated to a local cause and another sandwich is banked for the global fund, in order to assist in larger scale scenarios where a need exists,” says Jaeger. The goal is to reach those in need with more than 1-million sandwiches. Several of the franchisees throughout the country also participate in Spreading Parties to raise awareness for local nonprofits by gathering Which Wich staff and volunteers to make as many PB&Js as possible in one hour. Last year the Dallas-based Spreading Party broke a Guinness World Record by making more than 26,000 sandwiches.

 

Tennessee

Name: Huey’s Restaurant

City, State: Memphis, TN

Website: hueyburger.com

It’s a tradition at Huey’s Restaurants each year to guess how many toothpicks are up in the ceiling, but it’ll cost $1. The money raised is donated to the Memphis Zoo and the Palmer House. “This past year, we donated approximately $12,697 from our frill pick contest, and overall we have donated around $81,000,” says Shannon Little, marketing and events coordinator. Huey’s, which has eight restaurants and about 450 employees, has a long tradition of working with the Memphis Zoo, as the company’s founder, Thomas Boggs, was the president of the Memphis Zoological Society for several years. But Huey’s generosity doesn’t end with the frill pick contest. Throughout the year the company raises funds for Shelby Farms Park Conservancy; local schools; the Auto Zone Liberty Bowl Football Classic, which provides game tickets to St. Jude patients and their families; local Boy Scouts; Susan G Komen; Memphis Firefighters Association; Overton Park Conservancy and myriad other causes. Huey’s also provides an annual Huey’s Corporation Scholarship, which is a $30,000 permanent endowment fund within the University of Memphis. In total, the company has raised more than $108,000 over the last five years for organizations in the Memphis area.

 

Utah

Name: Utah Del

City, State: Salt Lake City, UT

Website: deltaco.com

The National Ability Center (NAC) is a primary charity of choice for Utah Del, 28-unit Del Taco franchisee. The NAC provides more than 17,000 recreational experiences annually and serves more than 2,500 individuals with disabilities. Seven years ago with the support of Del Taco, the NAC expanded its role in the community by supporting military personnel through the Wounded Warrior Project.  Since 2008 Utah Del has donated more than $150,000 to the organization but the company’s charitable giving doesn’t end there. For the last several years Utah Del has donated more than $500,000 to several nonprofits including University of Utah Hospital Foundation, Women’s Ski Jumping/Utah Ski & Snowboard/Youth Winter Sports/US Cross Country, Madeleine Choir School Scholarships, and Utah Guard Charitable Trust.

 

Virginia

Name: Village Square Restaurant

City, State: Winchester, VA

Website: villagesquarerestaurant.com

Two-unit Village Square Restaurant has a variety of charities it serves in the Winchester, VA community. Last year the company organized the first annual Blue Ridge Hospice Brunch Fundraiser, which raised $10,450 that went to those unable to pay for services. Joerg Eichmann, the restaurant’s owner, says it will be an annual event. The company and its 35 employees also support gooddogz.org, a group that promotes dog adoption and responsible pet ownership. Winchester Main Street Foundation, a group that focuses on building Winchester’s vitality, is another nonprofit that works with the restaurant company. “Monies raised through the Foundation’s events help to support other nonprofits in the community,” says Eichmann. “Celebration of Hope,” was one such event. “It was established as a nonprofit this year through the efforts of our giving over the years to the hospital and Wellspring,” says Eichmann. Efforts are now focused on building a cancer center and other cancer-related organizations. Eichmann says $181,000 has been donated to date.

 

Washington

Name: Adriatic Grill

City, State: Tacoma, WA

Website: adriaticgrill.com

Monique Trudnowski, co-owner of Adriatic Grill, established the Adriatic Grill Culinary Scholarship to help others pursue their dreams in the restaurant industry. The restaurant and its more than 50 employees support the community through a number of causes including offering a special discount for members of the military. Trudnowski, who is a recipient of the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation’s Faces of Diversity award, has been a major voice for Tacoma’s business community in its fight against a $15 minimum wage. She has also taken an active role in the state’s newly formed Washington Tourism Alliance, as well as the Washington Restaurant Association.

 

Name: Anthony’s

City, State: Bellevue, WA

Website: anthonys.com

For the last 30 years, 20-unit Anthony’s has given to a plethora of worthy causes. Some of the events sponsored by the company include Fishermen’s Fall Festival, Des Moines Legacy Foundation Brunch, The Epicurean Affair supporting Providence General Foundation, Seattle Fishermen’s Memorial Banquet, Brunch By The Bay benefiting Providence Hospice and Home Care of Snohomish County and Dean Tucker/Anthony’s Restaurant Graduate Fellowship in Viticulture. “For nine consecutive years, Anthony’s at the Old Mill District has hosted The Feast At The Old Mill to benefit Central Oregon Community College Foundation’s culinary endowment and capital campaign,” says Lane Hoss, Vice President of Marketing. Anthony’s events have already contributed more than $100,000 to be used for an expanded, top-flight culinary program.

 

Name: Consolidated Restaurants

City, State: Seattle, WA

Website: conrests.com

Consolidated Restaurants, which has six restaurants in the Pacific Northwest, is well known in the Seattle market for such landmark operations as Metropolitan Grill, Elliott’s Oyster House, Steamer’s Seafood Cafes, Quincy’s Charbroiled Burger’s and Wing Dome Restaurants. One of the nonprofits supported by the company, and its more than 105 employees, is the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation’s ProStart program, a nationwide, two-year high school program that unites the classroom and industry to develop the best and brightest talent into tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice leaders.

 

Name: Dick’s Drive-In

City, State: Seattle, WA

Website: ddir.com

Dick’s Drive-In is making other quick serve operators in the Pacific Northwest take notice of the company’s employee benefit programs. “Dick’s employees are paid more and receive better benefits than employees of any other fast food restaurant in the Seattle area,” says Ken Frazier, General Manager. The company offers 100 percent employer paid health insurance, employer subsidized dental insurance, college, vocational/self improvement scholarships up to $25,000 over four years, childcare assistance and paid community service where Dick’s pays employees who volunteer their regular hourly wage for up to four hours per month. “Dick’s feels it’s important for our employees to get involved in the community,” says Frazier. “Dick’s community service benefit encourages employees to help local charities.” To give back to the community the company promotes its Dick’s Change for Charity boxes at all six units. To date the program has generated more than $800,000 for such organizations as Mary’s Place, The Compass Center, St. Martin de Porres Shelter and Nightwatch.

 

Name: Whidbey Coffee Company

City, State: Clinton, WA

Website: whidbeycoffee.com

When Oso, WA suffered a massive mudslide, Whidbey Coffee matched customer donations to help in the disaster relief. The 12-unit chain also raised almost $7,000 for the Cascade Valley Hospital & Clinics. The restaurant company is also the sponsor of a scholarship contest for one lucky high school senior to receive a $5,000 scholarship to the community college of their choice. “We will also be opening our annual Whidbey Coffee fireworks stand the week before July 4th to raise funds that go back into the community where it is needed most,” says Dan Ollis, owner. Through August of last year, Whidbey had raised an excess of $30,000 to respond to various community needs.

 

Washington, DC

Name: Arogonaut Tavern

City, State: Washington DC

Website: arogonautdc.com

For the last four years Argonaut Tavern has been working and evolving its Restaurant Recovery program, which provides comprehensive solutions to address addiction and its effects on restaurant employees, their families and the restaurant industry. The program helps restaurant employees find and pay for drug and alcohol treatments as well as helping their loved ones get the assistance they need. The goals of the program are to help cover the costs of quality treatment; help families get and pay for counseling or other support programs; bring restaurant culture into the spotlight; set up and maintain a sober support network; help employees retain employment while in treatment; work directly with treatment facilities to help mold programs to fit a restaurant workers life style and to create a restaurant employee-specific treatment center. “Every Monday at 2 p.m. we host Restaurant Recovery meetings as a way of supporting each other and the difficult challenges of leading a drug and alcohol free life in the industry,” says Scott Magnuson, Owner.

 

Name: Pint Size Hospitality

City, State: Washington DC

Website: meridianpint.com

Pint Size Hospitality put Miriam’s Kitchen front and center in 2015 and raised close to $12,000 in its first year of partnership. Miriam’s Kitchen is a homeless service provider offering case management services, meals and a therapeutic program to some of DC’s most vulnerable. Some of the ways the three-unit restaurant company raised funds was a 25 percent donation of happy hour bar sales for two hours during the last Thursday of the month; a patron donation match program where guests are given the opportunity to both tip their server and make an additional donation to Miriam’s Kitchen; a signature appetizer each month with 100 percent of proceeds benefiting the nonprofit. Additionally Pint Size hosted the Miriam’s Kitchen Annual Volunteer Appreciation BBQ, which allowed chefs at Miriam’s Kitchen to take the night off and enjoy time outside of the kitchen with some of their 2,500 volunteers. More than 30 Pint Size Hospitality employees also volunteered with Miriam’s Kitchen in 2015, with an average meal service of 150 guests each for breakfast and dinner. “The MK/PSH partnership is a two-way street,” says Emily Hagel, director of kitchen operations at Miriam’s Kitchen. “We built positive brand recognition for PSH locations, attracted and retained new business for PSH from MK friends new and old; and proved that doing good is good for business.”

 

Name: Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Company

City, State: Washington DC

Website: rocklands.com

Since opening in 1990, Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Company has been participating in local philanthropy. “Now with four locations, Rocklands does not tie itself down to one marquee event,” says John Snedden, founder and head barbequer. “The company aims to make a difference across the board.” To achieve that goal the company, and its 98 employees, uses a wide variety of methods: events at the restaurant, 20 percent nights, donations to auctions, discounts on catering for charitable events, food donations, events at nonprofit farmers markets and participation in chef’s nights. Some of the groups supported by Rocklands include schools, churches, social service organizations, food banks and national landmarks such as Washington’s National Zoo. “By not tying itself to one way of giving back, Rocklands can be truly responsive to the small neighborhoods and communities around its four locations, breaking down the Washington DC area to a personal scale that matters,” says Snedden.

 

Wisconsin

Name: Culver’s of Darboy

City, State: Appleton, WI

Website: culvers.com

Culver’s of Darboy has a strong presence within the community and supports several organizations throughout the year. One program is the annual Christmas Eve Dinner, where the restaurant is closed down and reopened for less fortunate members of the community. “Local school social workers identify families within their district that would benefit from this dinner and send out the invitations,” says Glenda Woosley, Owner. “When they are making the reservation we ask them the ages and genders of the children within the family and what they would like to receive from Santa,” says Woosley. All the food is donated by Culver’s and each year the dinner feeds more than 300 people. “Our crew members and their family members volunteer their time on Christmas Eve to make this dinner memorable for our guests that night,” she says.

 

Name: The Cheel

City, State: Thiensville, WI

Website: thecheel.com

The Cheel’s owner and executive chef, Barkha Daily, has been raising money to support Hope for Nepal since the beginning of 2015. Following a devastating earthquake, Daily jumped into action raising money and being a voice for Nepal in Wisconsin and beyond. The more than $15,000 she raised went directly to Nepal, where Daily has family members including her mother, sisters, aunts and other relatives, who survived the earthquake but lost their housing. Daily’s staff also helps by engaging guests to support the cause, spurring on donations. In addition, Daily donates much of her time managing and supporting the local Thiensville Village Market, which is a nonprofit, volunteer-run market that supports 2,500—3,000 people with about 70 vendors.

 

Name: The Fireside Dinner Theatre

City, State: Fort Atkinson, WI

Website: firesidetheatre.com

After a ten-year stint raising more than $97,000 in donations through the Fort Atkinson’s American Cancer Society Relay for Life, The Fireside Dinner Theatre has turned its philanthropic muscle to Rainbow Hospice. The organization is a community based nonprofit hospice serving a five-county area in south-central Wisconsin. The dinner theatre, which employs 240 people, set a goal of $50,000 that was met in November of 2014. The money was raised through Milwaukee Brewer and Green Bay Tailgate Parties in the theatre’s parking lot on game days as well as a companywide Rummage Sale. Since presenting the first check to Rainbow Hospice, Fireside has raised more than $44,000 with a four-year commitment of $100,000.

 

Name: Wisconsin Hospitality Group

City, State: Waukesha, WI

Website: whgroup.com

The Wisconsin Hospitality Group and its WHGCares Foundation has a long history of giving back. The company, which has 118 Applebee’s and Pizza Hut restaurants, says giving to the community is integral to the company’s culture. Since 2000 the lead charity for Applebee’s has been Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Through a serious of fundraisers including a golf tournament, car washes, paintball tournaments, volleyball tournaments, walks and an annual “Apples for Kids” campaign where apple icons are sold for $1, more than $1.4 million has been donated. Pizza Hut’s lead charity is One Heartland, an organization that holds summer camps for children affected by HIV/AIDS, providing a safe haven for them to experience social acceptance, psychological support and a week of fun. Since 2001 Pizza Hut has donated close to $1 million. In total the company has donated more than $2.7 million to several organizations including ProHealth Care, where the funds are targeted for breast cancer care and research, and World Hunger Relief, a cause supported by Pizza Hut’s parent, Yum! Brands.