ROSEMEAD, Calif., Nov. 4, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Panda Express, America's favorite Chinese restaurant, is celebrating its 30th Anniversary by helping associates pursue their dreams through the creation of a $1 million college scholarship fund and by supporting the dreams of youth and teens across the country through a special holiday partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
"Inspiring people to better their lives is at the core of our mission and what makes it possible for us to deliver exceptional Asian dining experiences," said Andrew Cherng, founder and co-CEO of Panda Restaurant Group. "As we celebrate Panda Express' 30th anniversary, we honor our mission by supporting our associates and the next generation in our communities as they create their future."
Panda's Dream Maker scholarships will help full-time associates pay for their college tuition as they pursue bachelor's or associate degrees. The program is consistent with the company's commitment to becoming recognized as the world leader in people development.
Panda Express will donate $100,000 to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America to help local Clubs across the country give youth the "Gift of a Great Future." Boys & Girls Clubs enable all young people, especially those who need it most, reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.
"The Boys & Girls Clubs of America is honored to partner with Panda Express this holiday season," said Chad Royal-Pascoe, National Vice President, Corporate Partnerships. "Panda's generous gift demonstrates their commitment to the health and educational needs of underserved youth."
40 years ago, after immigrating to the United States from China, Andrew Cherng and his father, Master Chef Ming-Tsai Cherng, opened the first Panda Inn in Southern California. Their vision was to introduce Chinese food to America by serving upscale, authentic Chinese cuisine and creating the opportunity for guests to connect over a traditional meal. Panda Inn served as the inspiration for Panda Express when, in 1983, Andrew took the opportunity to share his passion and enthusiasm for inspired Chinese cuisine. Along with his wife, Peggy, Cherng opened the first Panda Express at the Glendale Galleria in Southern California.
As Panda Express hit significant growth milestones, including opening its 100th store in 1992, 500th in 2002 and 1,500 in 2012, the company has inspired its 24,000 associates to continuously better their lives, both personally and professionally.
"Andrew and I have achieved our American dream," said Peggy Cherng, co-founder and co-CEO of Panda Restaurant Group. "Now, we want our associates and the young people in our communities to achieve their dreams."
About Panda Restaurant Group
Founded in 1973, with 1,600 locations in 46 states, Puerto Rico and Mexico, the privately-held Panda Restaurant Group is the world's leader in Asian dining experiences. The successful chain of concepts includes Panda Express, Panda Inn and Hibachi-San. Panda Express is best known for its wide variety of original recipes including their famous Orange Chicken®, Beijing Beef™, SweetFire Chicken Breast®, Honey Walnut Shrimp™ and Shanghai Angus Steak™. For more information visit, www.pandaexpress.com, or become a fan on Facebook.
About the Boys & Girls Clubs of America
For more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (GreatFutures.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, more than 4,000 Clubs serve some 4 million young people annually through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native American lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. They provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun, friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Priority programs emphasize academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 57 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more at http://www.bgca.org/facebook and http://bgca.org/twitter.
Source:PANDA Restaurant Group Inc.