Industry News | April 9, 2009

Taco Bell Tries to Drop the Dropout Rate April 23

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Participating Taco Bell restaurants across the U.S. will donate 15 percent of their gross sales on April 23, 2009 to the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens, the company’s nonprofit organization dedicated to helping teens graduate from high school and prepare for college, careers, and life. This nationwide campaign aims to double the Foundation’s annual giving goal. As an added bonus, the Foundation is providing consumers a chance to win one of four $25,000 scholarships.

The one-day fundraiser is part of a $5 million annual giving goal that will directly fund teen programs at Boys & Girls Clubs across the country. Taco Bell Foundation for Teens is the largest donor to Boys & Girls Clubs of America, giving over $23 million for teen programming since 1995.

“A visit to Taco Bell offers extraordinary value on April 23rd," says Greg Creed, chief concept officer and president of Taco Bell Corp. and chairman of Taco Bell Foundation for Teens. "It’s a way for all of us to respond to the more than one million teens who drop out of high school each year.”

Scholarship Giveaway

The Foundation is underscoring the importance of education with a sweepstakes that will award four lucky customers a $25,000 college scholarship. The sweepstakes, held in conjunction with the fundraiser, invites consumers visiting participating Taco Bell restaurants on April 23 to receive a special code that must be entered on www.tacobellgraduation.com for a chance to win. Four winners will each be awarded a $25,000 scholarship to be used for tuition at an accredited college or vocational school. Winners may elect to transfer the scholarship to a current or potential student should they choose not to use it themselves.

World’s Largest High School Yearbook

The Foundation also is helping raise awareness of America’s high school dropout crisis and the national fundraiser through PSAs (public service announcements), restaurant merchandising, and a multi-platform presence on the web. This includes an interactive Facebook application where people can show support for the cause by uploading their photo onto the World’s Largest Yearbook. The Foundation’s goal is to build a Facebook Yearbook with one million “friends,” representing the current number of teens who drop out of high school each year.

America’s High School Dropout Crisis

The high school dropout rates are staggering in America, with one student dropping out of high school every 26 seconds. More than 30 percent of teens in the U.S. and up to 50 percent of Latinos and African Americans fail to graduate with their class. Dropouts are more likely than high school graduates to be unemployed, in poor health, living in poverty, in prison, or on public assistance.

“The dropout crisis is a responsibility we all share and one that seriously threatens the future of our country,” says Fulmer, executive director of the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens. “Through the support of Taco Bell employees, franchisees, and customers, we are committed to bring money, awareness and volunteers to this cause so more teens have the foundation they need to succeed.”

For more information on the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens and its national initiatives or to make an online donation to the campaign, visit www.tacobellgraduation.com.