Reporter's Notebook

Chili's surpasses $50 million goal in fund-raising


Chili's passes $50 million fund-raising goal for St. Jude two years earlier than hoped.


The restaurant industry has long been known for its philanthropic works, but Chili’s Grill & Bar reached a milestone on Friday, reaching its commitment to raise $50 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

I attended the event in 2006 on the hospital campus when Chili’s parent Brinker International made the goal of reaching $50 million in donations for the facility. This year, it surpassed that goal, with $50.8 million, two years earlier than the original 10-year plan.

Wyman Roberts, Brinker’s chief executive and president, and Kelli Valade, chief operating officer of Chili’s, presented a trophy check to the hospital at an event at a Chili’s unit in Dallas on Friday.

Roberts said in a statement, “I could not be more proud of our restaurant team members and more appreciative of our guests whose generosity … helps the hospital continue its lifesaving work and provides more than $50 million worth of hope to St. Jude patients and families.”

Every September, Chili's restaurants across the country as well as in Puerto Rico offer in-restaurant and online giving opportunities designed to raise funds for St. Jude.

Throughout the campaign's history, guests and team members have colored about 16.3 million signature chili-pepper shaped sheets, designed more than 550,000 ready-to-color T-shirts; and bought more than 465,000 campaign wrist bands to show support for St. Jude.

Chili’s has nearly 1,600 restaurants systemwide.

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Reporter's Notebook is NRN's newsroom blog, where our editors give their points of view on news happening in the restaurant business.


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