To celebrate Colonel Sanders’ birthday on September 9, the KFC Foundation granted 11 local non-profit organizations a combined total of $110,000 in Kentucky Fried Wishes grants. The chosen organizations will each receive a $10,000 grant to make a project on their wish list come true.
Kentucky Fried Wishes is a community-based grant program funded by the KFC Foundation that empowers eligible KFC restaurant employees to make a tangible impact on their local communities by nominating non-profit organizations doing meaningful work. Inspired by KFC’s famous 11 Herbs & Spices, a Kentucky Fried Wishes grant was given to 11 deserving non-profit organizations.
“We were overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness of Kentucky Fried Wishes nominations submitted by restaurant teams. Some team members volunteer with the non-profits and witness firsthand the impact these organizations make in their communities,” says Emma Horn, Managing Director of the KFC Foundation. “Our vision with this program was to encourage KFC restaurant employees to give back to the communities they serve and build lasting relationships with organizations they are passionate about.”
This year’s grant recipients have been described as integral parts of their communities and span 11 different states. One organization, the Paris Downtown Boxing Gym, was nominated by Paris, Tenn. KFC restaurant employees for the positive impact the organization has had on the youth in their community, both in and out of the ring.
The Paris Downtown Boxing Gym works closely with the juvenile court system, school counselors and the local counseling center to support youth experiencing home issues, aggression and bullying. The organization teaches these individuals to box free of charge, providing an outlet for their energy and stress and teaching many youth development skills. The Kentucky Fried Wishes grant will be used to rejuvenate the boxing gym and replenish worn-down gym equipment. The gym equipment, such as headgear and gloves, tend to wear out very quickly and need to be replaced annually.
Additional organizations to receive the Kentucky Fried Wishes grant include:
Alzheimer’s Association California Central Coast Chapter (Ventura, Calif.) is using the grant to help bring awareness and education regarding Alzheimer’s to Latino and indigenous populations.
Angel Wings Outreach Center (Mendenhall, Miss.), a domestic violence shelter, is building a new playground and sitting area to provide a private, safe and fun place for the women and children they serve to enjoy after an ice storm damaged their old playground in 2020.
Boise Hive (Boise, Idaho) is working on replacing a damaged roof that, if not repaired, will prevent the organization from hosting mental health programming for musicians and concerts for the community.
Colony Elementary School (London, Ky.) is renovating its school library with new flexible tables and comfortable chairs, local Appalachian art and more, to help instill a love of reading and increase the literacy rate among their students.
Manuelito Navajo Children’s Home (Gallup, N.M.) is building a greenhouse with solar-powered ventilation to teach the children they serve about sustainable agriculture and healthy eating.
Mimi’s House (Casper, Wyo.) is adding two new enhanced security systems to their homeless shelters for at-risk youth.
Potsdam High School Positivity Club (Potsdam, N.Y.) is developing a food pantry for local senior citizens in need, complete with an online ordering and delivery service.
Second Chance 4 Pets (Whiting, Ind.) is helping with the community’s rapidly increasing stray cat population by offering spay and neutering services to the community at no cost.
Western Sussex Boys & Girls Club (Seaford, Del.) is building a garden and greenhouse to teach youth and families about the importance of sourcing local specialty crops and healthy eating.
Wheelchairs for Kids (Tarpon Springs, Fla.) is providing wheelchairs, home, and vehicle modifications to families at no charge. Many children outgrow their equipment before a replacement is allowed by insurance, resulting in discomfort and health problems for children.
The Kentucky Fried Wishes program is one of the five charitable programs that the KFC Foundation offers KFC restaurant employees across the United States:
REACH Educational Grant Program – Helps KFC restaurant employees pursue their educational dreams at four-year and two-year colleges, including trade/vocational and graduate schools, by providing college tuition assistance.
Rise with GEDWorks – Offered in both English and Spanish, and in partnership with GED Testing Service, this free program provides KFC restaurant employees with unlimited access to GED preparation and testing.
KFC Family Fund – Provides emergency financial assistance to KFC restaurant employees who have been directly impacted by an unexpected hardship, crisis or catastrophic incident that was beyond their control.
MyChange with SaverLife – A financial wellness service available to KFC restaurant employees, in partnership with national non-profit SaverLife, that empowers restaurant employees to grow their financial know-how, build a habit of saving money and boost their savings accounts.
Operating independently from KFC Corporation and led by a board including KFC franchisees, the KFC Foundation receives the majority of its financial support from its annual donation program, a voluntary program where KFC franchisees elect to contribute a portion of their restaurant cole slaw sales to engage in and support the Foundation’s initiatives.