Panda Express, the largest family-owned and operated Asian dining concept in the U.S., was built on a foundation of bridging cultures—and flavors— to bring people together. Having always had deep relationships in the diverse communities it serves, Panda launched the Panda CommUnity Fund — a $10 million community investment and response program that supports immediate and sustainable solutions from national and local organizations to uplift diverse groups, including people of color and other marginalized communities. This Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, Panda kicks-off the Panda CommUnity Fund, with a $1.5 million pledge to AAPI organizations dedicated to offering critical aid, as well as promoting cultural understanding and acceptance. The Fund will continue to allocate resources across various initiatives over the next five years to help foster a more respectful and inclusive society for tomorrow.
“We are proud of our multicultural heritage and have always believed that this identity connects us to the best of American culture. Because of the duality in who we are, Panda champions a greater sense of belonging and supports engagement efforts that reflect the diversity of our guests, associates and communities,” says Peggy Cherng, co-founder and co-CEO of Panda Express. “Following a year of hardship and civil unrest, it has become more apparent that the responsibility is on each of us to come together to create meaningful change. And that is why we are making the commitment to put forth the resources and platforms needed to continue energizing community organizations on the ground.”
As an American-born company founded by Chinese immigrants, Panda values the grit and resilience required to overcome adversity on the path to success; in the same breadth, it recognizes the unsettling reality that there is still a long journey ahead to dismantling systemic racism, which is one of the driving forces behind this $1.5 million pledge. In its first phase of grant-making, Panda has committed to organizations that are combating anti-Asian racism and strengthening the community physically, mentally and emotionally, including Asian American Advancing Justice Chapters, GoFundMe.org AAPI Community Fund, Welcome to Chinatown, and Asian Mental Health Collective. Additionally, the Panda Community Fund will support initiatives focused on education and empowering representation across various verticals through partner organizations, such as Gold House and The Asian American Foundation. Beyond its monetary commitment, the American Chinese brand will continue to leverage its national platform, resources, and influence to amplify AAPI voices and organizations.
With respect to all differences in life, across unique backgrounds, experiences, thoughts and ideas, Panda’s commitment to DE&I was created to embrace and uplift the needs of the underrepresented, helping to reinforce a greater sense of compassion, inclusion and belonging in our greater communities. Intended to amplify Panda’s mission to inspire better lives, the Panda CommUnity Fund partners with 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations on DE&I related initiatives that help shatter the perception of a monolithic America and embrace the diverse identities that represent the American people. While grant proposals are by invitation only and unsolicited proposals will not be accepted, each organization will be thoughtfully vetted based on its mission and direct impact on the communities it serves.