California Restaurant Association recognizes winners of 2014 Restaurant Neighbor, Faces of Diversity awards
The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) developed the Restaurant Neighbor Awards 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. The Faces of Diversity American Dream award is given to diverse members of the restaurant industry who have, through hard work and perseverance, achieved the American Dream.
The Restaurant Neighbor Award winners – who are national finalists – are:
Rio Grill (Carmel): Established the Rio Grill Resolution Run 23 years ago, which has raised more than $500,000 for · various causes, most recently the Natividad Medical Center Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Cohn Restaurant Group (San Diego): For more than 30 years, Cohn Restaurant Group has supported Balboa Park Foundation, Promises 2 Kids, San Diego Zoo, Project Wildlife, Epilepsy Foundation and UNICEF, among others. In 1996, the Cohns co-founded the Garfield High School Foundation, which raises funds for the alternative continuation school’s culinary arts ProStart program.
Maria’s Italian Kitchen (Los Angeles): Supports dozens of regional events and organization, including several dedicated to helping children with disabilities, as well as the Los Angeles County Education Foundation and its Probation Youth Committee.
The Habit Burger Grill (Irvine): Raised more than $100,000 in 2013 among its 80 locations, funds went to support a variety of charitable organizations, including the Boys & Girls Clubs, the American Red Cross and local high school programs, as well as the CRA Educational Foundation.
Panda Restaurant Group (Rosemead): Through its GIVING branch, the company raised nearly $30 million over the past three years for health and education programs targeting underserved children, including the Children’s Miracle Network. In 2013, the company donated more than 55,000 meals and more than 7,000 volunteer hours.
Jamba Juice (Emeryville): Raises nearly $2 million annually to support the American Heart Association through various campaigns.
“Restaurants across California give back to their communities every day, and we are thrilled to honor just a few of those who go above and beyond in their efforts and are making a big difference,” CRA President + CEO Jot Condie said. “In addition, it’s inspiring to find examples of leaders who are truly living proof that the American Dream can be found through careers and entrepreneurship within the restaurant industry.”