Communities In Schools Receives $2.5M Charitable Donation from Philanthropic Arm of Panda Express
Communities In Schools® (CIS®), the national organization that ensures every student, regardless of race, zip code, or socioeconomic background, has what they need to realize their potential in school and beyond announced that Panda Cares, the philanthropic arm of Panda Express®, has awarded the organization $2.5M to help meet the health, social-emotional, and education needs of underserved youth in the CIS network.
Panda Cares’ $2.5M investment builds upon an existing partnership focused on ensuring students in our shared communities have access to high-quality, evidence-based, social-emotional learning (SEL) supports and programming. This investment will enable us to continue our partnership with Panda Cares across eight states, including 16 CIS affiliates within 103 sites.
“Social-emotional learning is a key element of the Communities In Schools model. Our approach is designed to ensure that every student across the network has the support of a site coordinator, committed to building relationships with students and their families and connecting them to the resources and supports they need to thrive,” said Communities In Schools President & CEO Rey Saldaña. “With continued support from partners like Panda Cares, CIS affiliates can connect students across the country to integrated student supports and resources.”
Thanks to Panda Cares' support and under the leadership of their new Learning and Development Manager, all CIS of Los Angeles school sites began facilitating SEL groups to address CASEL (Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning) framework competencies. Student groups received at least one hour of SEL content per month addressing CASEL competencies to improve their self-esteem and build their skills. Moreover, group content used data-informed curriculum to help the group achieve a supportive and constructive learning environment.
Communities In Schools’ trusted model of integrated student supports enables schools across the country to deepen relationships with students and families by creating equitable learning environments where all students and adults can process, heal, and thrive.
About Panda Express®
On a mission to inspire better lives, American Chinese trailblazer Panda Express is the largest Asian dining concept in the U.S. Family-owned and operated since 1983 by co-founders and co-CEOs Andrew and Peggy Cherng, Panda Express is best known for creating a wide variety of industry-first recipes, including its best seller the Original Orange Chicken® and award-winning Honey Walnut Shrimp, which have defined the category of authentic American Chinese cuisine. Each dish at Panda Express, including the Wok Smart® selections, is thoughtfully crafted with quality ingredients and inspired by bold Chinese flavors and culinary principles. The restaurant brand has more than 2,400 locations throughout the U.S. and has introduced American Chinese cuisine to more than ten international countries. Powered by this global family of associates, Panda Cares, the organization's philanthropic arm, has raised more than $329 million and countless volunteer hours in bettering the health and education for over 13 million youths as well as supporting communities in need since 1999. In 2020, Panda established the Panda Cares Scholars Program to provide the necessary funding, academic support and leadership development to help high school and college students learn, lead and thrive towards a bright future. For more information about Panda, visit pandaexpress.com, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.