The nation’s nearly one million restaurants are encouraged to apply for the National Restaurant Association’s 2011 Restaurant Neighbor Award for a chance to be recognized for community service contributions. The annual award, given to restaurants that exemplify the industry’s community support and philanthropic spirit, will honor four national winners with $5,000 contributions to their charitable projects. Restaurants may apply online at before Jan. 11, 2011.

“We have encouraged America’s restaurants to share their community service stories with us through the Restaurant Neighbor Award program for more than a decade, and each year brings new inspiration,” says Dawn Sweeney, National Restaurant Association president and CEO. “Restaurants are making a difference in communities across America. Restaurants nationwide contribute nearly $3 billion annually to charitable causes and we are honored to recognize them for it.”

Restaurants may apply on their own behalf, and employees, patrons, and other members of the community may work with a local restaurant to apply for the award. The four national winners will be presented the awards in March in Washington, D.C. Both national and state winners will be recognized on the National Restaurant Association website.

The Restaurant Neighbor Award honors charitable contributions in four categories (small business, mid-size business, large business/national chain, and Cornerstone Humanitarian). Each participating state restaurant association will select winners in their respective states that will be in the running for the national award.

The National Restaurant Association and Restaurant Neighbor Award founding partner American Express developed the award to raise awareness about the restaurant industry’s contributions in local communities across the country and to inspire other restaurant owners and operators to showcase their enormous contributions in their communities.

Charitable Giving, News