The Darden Foundation
Darden’s definition of service extends beyond the four walls of our restaurants and into the communities we serve. The Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation works to bring to life this spirit of service through its philanthropic support of charitable organizations across the country. The Foundation does this by focusing its philanthropic efforts on programs that enhance the communities where our team members and guests live and work.
Since 1995, the Darden Foundation has awarded more than $90 million in grants to non-profit organizations such as Feeding America, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) and American Red Cross.
Aiding the Fight Against Hunger
As a restaurant company, we believe we are uniquely positioned to make a meaningful difference by helping in the fight against hunger. Even before the pandemic, food insecurity affected one in nine households in the United States. As a result of COVID-19, unemployment has soared and food insecurity is on the rise. In fact, more than 54 million people may face hunger this year because of the pandemic.
This year, more than ever, reinforced the importance of our 10-year partnership with Feeding America as well as our Harvest program that was established in 2003. This year, the Darden Foundation provided $2 million to support member food banks across all 50 states. For every dollar donated, 10 meals are provided to people in need — meaning our financial support was the equivalent of 20 million meals
These efforts go hand-in-hand with our Harvest program. Each day, in every one of our restaurants, we collect surplus, wholesome food that is not served to guests and we prepare it for donation to local nonprofit partners. In fiscal 2020, our brands donated more than 6.3 million pounds of food, the equivalent of more than five million meals.
Since its inception, more than 120 million pounds of food – totaling more than 100 million meals – have been donated through the Harvest program.
View the video below to learn more about Darden’s efforts to help in the fight against hunger.
Training the Next Generation
Our funding helps support the NRAEF ProStart program, a national high school program that introduces students to career opportunities in the restaurant industry and provides them with an industry-driven curriculum on topics ranging from culinary techniques to management skills.
Lending Support During Disaster Recovery
Darden is a member of the American Red Cross’ Annual Disaster Giving Program which enables the Red Cross to respond to the needs of individuals and families impacted by disasters anywhere in the United States. Additionally, our restaurants regularly donate meals to feed first responders and victims of natural disasters.