Restaurant Neighbor Award

Past Winners

2015

  • Ollie’s Restaurant (Edwardsville, Pa.): Since 2011, Ollie’s Restaurant has provided six meals a week to children at risk of hunger through its Dinners for Kids program. Currently, staff and volunteers prepare and deliver 37,000 meals annually for 120 children. Because Ollie’s uses its own kitchen facilities to cook and package meals, 100 percent of the funds raised for Dinners for Kids — $250,000 to date — are used for meal costs. King's college conducted research and found that the program has a positive impact on the children's behavior and academic performance.
     
  • The King’s Kitchen / Noble Food & Pursuits (Charlotte, N.C.): In 2008, the Jim Noble Restaurants formed a separate nonprofit restaurant, the King’s Kitchen, with 100 percent of its proceeds used to feed the less fortunate. The kitchen also provides job training opportunities for homeless men and women. At least once a week, the staff provides boxed lunches and distributes sandwiches to those living on the streets.
     
  • Cornerstone Humanitarians: Ryan Turner, Chris Hall & Todd Mussman, Founders, Unsukay Community of Businesses (Atlanta, Ga.): In response to an employee who was diagnosed with stage 4 gallbladder cancer and given a grave prognosis that warranted major funding beyond his health insurance coverage to pursue progressive healthcare options, the founders led the charge on hosting a community fundraiser and raised nearly $300,000 within a four week period to help offset his expenses. The outpouring of support from the Atlanta restaurant community sparked the idea for the Unsukay partners to help found and create The Giving Kitchen, a non-profit whose funds provide crisis grants to members of Atlanta’s restaurant community. In just over a year, $300,000 dollars has already been granted to over 150 recipients. The Giving Kitchen also just started construction of the forprofit restaurant it owns, called Staplehouse. One hundred percent of all dividends from Staplehouse will flow directly to The Giving Kitchen.                                                                                                                                   
  • T.L. Cannon Companies (Williamsville, N.Y.): As a franchisee of 61 Applebee’s restaurants across New York and Connecticut, T.L. Cannon Companies provided nearly $2.5 million in monetary and in-kind donations in 2014 through creative, in-store fundraisers. Its spring and holiday fundraisers along with an annual charity golf tournament has sponsored more than 130 Make-A-Wish children since 2008 and the company has provided more than $1.1 million in funds and in-kind support to benefit the organization. Additionally, its Flapjack Fundraisers helped local schools and youth organizations raise $1.75 million last year.

 

2014

  • Matt Haley, CEO, SoDel Concepts (Rehoboth Beach, Del.): At 35 years old, Matt Haley began his foodservice career as a dishwasher, after spending seven years in prison. He entered a vocational program and learned to cook and today owns seven of Rehoboth’s finest restaurants. To pay it forward, he established the Global Delaware Fund to administer goods and services to at-risk children and those in distressing situations, both locally and nationally. Named the 2014 James Beard Humanitarian of the Year, Haley has helped fund three schools and provide scholarships for students in Nepal, in addition to mentoring children and funding the education for youth who have been affected by school funding cuts.                                                                    
  • Passport Pizza (Clinton Township, Mich.): Since 2005, Passport Pizza has served as a conduit for restaurants, vendors and grocery stores to donate leftover food that is then distributed to nonprofits, shelters, projects and soup kitchens throughout the community. Helping others help others, Passport Pizza takes pallets of food that may only have a three-day shelf life and distributes them to local partners who can immediately give the food to those who need it. Passport Pizza’s relationships extend to a broad span of business leaders, nonprofits and community-based organizations to help countless people including youth, families, students, churches, single mothers and the homeless.
  • Cohn Restaurant Group (San Diego, Calif.): In 1996, Lesley and David Cohn co-founded the Garfield High School Foundation and the culinary arts program — featuring a $2 million state-of-the-art kitchen, serving line and lecture center — that has graduated 2,000 at-risk youth to date. Teenage students that are considered high risk for dropping out learn culinary skills to prepare them for future careers in the restaurant industry. The foundation’s annual Thanksgiving fundraising luncheon, run by the students under the guidance of Cohn Restaurant Group’s chefs, has raised more than $300,000 over the past 16 years to benefit the program and staff have volunteered more than 4,000 hours.                                                                                                       
  • Panda Restaurant Group (Rosemead, Calif.): Panda Restaurant Group and its 25,000 associates are committed to giving their time and resources to support the communities they have the honor of serving. Established in 1999, Panda Cares promotes the spirit of giving by serving the health and education needs of underserved children. More than $41.5 million has been raised for charities and causes, including natural disaster relief in the United States and internationally. Panda Cares works with organizations across the U.S. to provide meals and raise funds in its close to 1,700 restaurants, which includes Panda Express, Panda Inn and Hibachi-San. Additionally, Panda is committed to developing future leaders in the public school system through its “Leader in Me” program. Since, 2007, this program has served over 150,000 students in 250 public schools in the United States.