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 $86 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, it’s impossible to ignore the reality of the need for food. Nearly 42 million people, including 13 million children in the United States are at risk for hunger. That means one in eight individuals and one in six children live in households without consistent access to food.
To help, we proudly partner with Feeding America, and in 2017, the Foundation provided $1.7 million to support Feeding America and its member food banks across all 50 states. For every dollar donated, Feeding America can supply 11 meals to people in need – meaning our financial support helped donate 18.7 million meals.
These efforts go hand-in-hand with our Harvest program. Each day, across every one of our restaurants, we collect surplus, wholesome food that isn't served to guests and, rather than discarding the food, we prepare it for donation to local nonprofit partners. Through a partnership with Food Donation Connection, which coordinates donations across the county, the food is then served at food banks, shelters and other charitable organizations.
Since its inception, more than 100 million pounds of food – totaling more than 83 million meals – have been donated through the Harvest program.
Watch the Harvest program spotlighted on NBC News.
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.