Panda Express, the nation’s largest family-owned and operated dining concept, kicks off the first phase of its $10 million community investment program in time for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month.
The program, Panda CommUnity Fund, will help national and local organizations support members of diverse and marginalized groups, according to Panda Express
For the first phase of the program, Panda Express has pledged $1.5 million to AAPI organizations dedicated to “combating anti-Asian racism and strengthening the community physically, mentally and emotionally.”
Organizations include the Asian American Advancing Justice Chapters, GoFundMe.org AAPI Community Fund, Welcome to Chinatown and Asian Mental Health Collective.
Panda CommUnity Fund will also support initiatives through partner organizations, one of them being Gold House, a nonprofit collective that included Panda Express in its A100 list
In a recent Instagram post
, Panda Express acknowledged AAPI Heritage Month, calling it “a celebration of progress and inspiring better.”
“As a proud American-born company founded by Chinese immigrants,” the post’s caption states, “we are celebrating our multicultural heritage all month long.”
Founded by Andrew and Peggy Cherng, Panda Express opened its first branch in Glendale, Calif., in 1983. There are now over 2,200 branches in the U.S.
“Because of the duality in who we are,”
Peggy Cherng said
, “Panda champions a greater sense of belonging and supports engagement efforts that reflect the diversity of our guests, associates and communities.”
“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.”