2018 Restaurant Neighbor Award

State Winners

ALABAMA


LBA Hospitality
Before Camron Stokes took on the roll of director of food & beverage at the Garden Bar and Grille, he served in the U.S. Army.  As a veteran himself, he is aware of the issues facing many former military men and women.  To address this need, he started a program that uses restaurant facilities and staff volunteers to prepare and “sell” fresh, high-quality meals to displaced veterans, as well as the Alabama center for child abuse and other worthy causes.  Camron is very strict with his team about collecting the fees for these meals.  Every staff member must return with at least five hugs and as many smiles as they can get as payment.  Camron and his team also team up with other restaurants to participate in the Making Strides breast cancer walk to benefit the Breast Cancer Society of America, and they partnered with ASE credit union to provide over $10,000 in meals and lodging for more than 350 residents displaced by hurricanes. 
 

Rojo (Lopez-DeJonge Inc.)
In the fifteen years since Rojo opened, they have found many, many ways to serve their customers and community.  They hold ‘10% Tuesdays’ every week, typically raising $400-$600 for nonprofit organizations.  They have underwritten the local NPR station for 14 years, hold art shows for local artists, and conduct Sidewalk Salons to discuss filmmaking as part of the Sidewalk Film Festival.  They often allow nonprofits, including the Citizens' Climate Lobby, to freely use Rojo’s side room as a meeting place or to hold fundraising events, and the team participates in citywide fundraisers like Dining Out for Life for AIDS Alabama, Sweet on a Cure and REV Birmingham.  Rojo frequently donates gift certificates and food to nonprofits, gives food to neighbors in need and donates food each winter to warming stations for the homeless.  During the holidays, they offer free enchiladas in exchange for donations to support local homeless shelters.


ARIZONA


Wildflower Bread Company
Wildflower Bread Company’s guiding purpose is to change lives, create traditions, build community and feed the soul with passion.  They know it takes more than great food to nourish a vibrant community, that’s why they created the Wildflower Cares Foundation.  Since it was established in 1996, the foundation has proudly supported local organizations through volunteerism, events, fundraising and giving.  In 2017, the team raised more than $54,500 to help alleviate childhood hunger.  This translates to over 545,000 meals for kids in need.  They partner with Loyola Academy, a college preparatory program for boys, to provide daily breakfast for every student, serving more than 76,600 breakfasts since 2011.  Since 2003, they have donated more than $4.4 million in baked goods to those in need.  They also partner with Share Our Strength | No Kid Hungry to raise funds and awareness to help end childhood hunger, providing nearly 1,874,000 meals over seven years.
 

Chompie's
For nearly 40 years, family-owned Chompie’s has been dedicated to helping the Phoenix community grow and thrive by giving back to nonprofits who are doing incredible things for the less fortunate.  Since 1979, they have partnered with numerous nonprofit organizations to raise thousands of dollars for various causes, including anti-bullying, disaster relief, religious freedom and more.  Chompie’s is a major supporter of Singleton Moms – a local organization dedicated to lessening the burdens of single parents with cancer.  Throughout the year, Chompie’s donates a portion of the proceeds from their Kids Menu to the group.  They also create special monthly menu inserts, donating a dollar from each item to Singleton Moms.  Chompie’s hosts supply drives several times a year in all five restaurants to collect essentials for the families, and team members volunteer at community events, most recently manning a booth at a pediatric cancer run.

 
The Refuge Café
The team at the Refuge Café likes to think locally and globally.  Owned and operated by Catholic Charities Community Services of Phoenix, the team believes in using local products, helping local philanthropies and serving their local community.  They host fundraisers, food drives, school supply drives, and much more.  They also champion their global community.  Their private label coffee, called Refuge Coffee, is a proprietary blend from Central and South America.  They sell handcrafted art made by refugees from around the world, with 75 percent of profits going to the artisan and the other 25 percent going back into the program.  Refuge Café also operates a vocational training program that teaches international refugees, returning veterans and at-risk youth the basics of restaurant operations and customer service.  The program features 100 hours of vocational training, life skills classes, and assistance in each participant’s permanent job search.
 

ARKANSAS


Eureka Pizza
The Eureka Pizza team is known locally for their generosity, donating countless free meals to local nonprofits, Eagle Scout projects, local schools and more.  Owner, Rolf Wilkin, has a personal mission – championing education for local school students.  Each year, he visits schools in his area to give a motivational talk about the importance of reading and working toward a goal.  He tailors his presentations to needs of each group.  If the need is reading, he visits the school librarian to find out what books the students like.  If the need is math, he creates a presentation to show how important math is for their future.  Students are energized by his enthusiasm.  They have set up schoolwide recycling, organized a buddy reading program and created reflections on self-improvement.  Best of all, Rolf always issues a timed reading challenge to encourage kids to read.  When the goal is met, Rolf personally delivers free pizzas for a party.
 

CALIFORNIA


Hofman Hospitality Group
Hofman Hospitality Group operates four restaurant brands in many areas.  In addition to its companywide programs, Hofman empowers its local restaurants to seek out the needs of their own communities.  In turn, Hofman provides them with the resources they need to give back, whether it is gift cards and retail items for auctions, food sponsorships or events volunteers.  In honor of Military Family Month, all Hofman restaurants offer 20 percent off to active duty and veteran military personnel for the entire month of November.  In addition, through Round It Up America, they have raised over $15,000 for Operation Homefront toward holiday meals for military families, as well as over $20,000 for Autism Speaks and other initiatives.  Over the past year, Hofman has contributed over $150,000 in cash, as well as countless in-kind donations, including food, gift cards and retail items, to nonprofits, schools, churches, hospitals, and business groups. 
 

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews
Under the guidance of regional operations director Andrew Mulz, the Red Robin team participates in a variety of community service activities, including backpack and canned food drives among many other opportunities.  But there are two organizations that get their special attention:  Calicinto Ranch and HomeAid.  Calicinto Ranch assists children of incarcerated parents.  The Red Robin team supports the ranch throughout the year by providing food for their summer golf tournament, helping maintain the ranch grounds, providing them with kitchen equipment and donating food, volunteer hours and gifts for their holiday celebrations.  To support HomeAid, an organization that assists the homeless in the Inland Empire, Red Robin has donated backpacks, school supplies, clothing, food and time as well.  Each year, Red Robin donates over 4,000 meals to Calicinto Ranch and HomeAid, and contributes a portion of burger sales to the tune of about $15,000.


Bravo’s Soup & Sandwich Shoppe
Bravo’s, a farm-to-fork restaurant, is often referred to by locals as the "David & Goliath" of the area for the small shop’s herculean efforts to support local farmers, champion healthy eating with their fresh menu, and give back to their community.  The Bravo’s team is involved in local school and Girl Scout projects, sponsorships to local sports teams, feeding the homeless, and working with organizations like Make-a-Wish to promote healthy eating.  They host an annual “Sunday Supper at the Ranch,” a seven-course outdoor dinner for 100 guests, featuring local chefs serving their favorite dish from the local harvest.  The 2017 event raised $15,000 for “Horse Healing Heroes,” a nonprofit using horses as therapy animals for people suffering from PTSD.  Every other Sunday, they donate soup meals to their city’s homeless citizens.  They nurture budding future chefs from local high schools by mentoring and training them in a real commercial kitchen.
 

Kyle's Kitchen
Kyle Ferro was born with a brain injury.  Through hard work, perseverance and the support of his family, 15-year-old Kyle has overcome many obstacles to become a full-time student.  When Kyle’s parents opened their first restaurant, Kyle’s Kitchen, they decided their mission would be to raise awareness and funds for this important issue.  The restaurant dedicates each month to a new organization that focuses on a related cause, and they give a portion of their total profits to local special needs organizations to help other families like theirs.  Since the restaurant opened in 2015, Kyle’s Kitchen has donated over $100,000 to special needs organizations in Santa Barbara, including the Autism Society of Santa Barbara, Special Olympics Southern California and The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential.  Kyle is the perfect champion for the cause.  He loves to visit his restaurant, meet new people, and help raise awareness for mental disabilities issues. 
 

Old Town Family Hospitality Corp
Chuck and Gail Ross, owners of Old Town Family restaurants, are proud of San Diego’s rich history.  So proud, they count their business’ contributions to sustaining and sharing that history as one of their company’s factors of success.  They have worked tirelessly to ensure that Old Town San Diego Historic Park remains an exciting educational resource for the whole community, helping to enhance funding to be used for historic interpretation in the park, keeping museums open, conducting educational tours and producing important events.  They also support hundreds of local charities and fundraisers each year through in-kind donations, and sponsor Teatro Máscara Mágica, a multicultural theater production company bringing live theater to disadvantaged families.  All three Old Town restaurants participate in Round It Up America, generating more than $18,000 per year to fund living history programs in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
 

COLORADO


Carmine’s on Penn
In 2009, Carmine's on Penn launched a program that allows them to support local nonprofits one at a time.  Every year, organizations submit applications for consideration.  The applications are reviewed by a team of Carmine’s employees, who select a program or programs for that year.  Partners are selected based on specific criteria, including local impact, ability to make a difference and efficiency of donation usage.  The team selected one partner for 2017, Project Pave, a well-organized effort working to reduce violence among area youths.  Carmine’s held a private dinner for Project Pave to entertain significant donors, and they staged a Battle of the Chefs between Carmine’s owner and another restaurant owner.  Both events raised significant funds.  Other charities Carmine’s supports include The Delores Project (women's homelessness), as well as local schools, youth programs and counseling centers.  Over 10 years, donations to local nonprofits have exceeded $250,000.
 

Marco's
Year after year, the Colorado Springs community votes Marco's number one in the Philanthropic Business category of their annual "Best of the Springs" awards.  Marco’s team has a full calendar of fundraising events year-round to raise funds for medical access, homeless and other community support, food banks, wounded warriors, and many more.  Marco's also provides food for the hungry, as well as for volunteers who are working on community service projects.  Charities are often given free use of their meeting room to hold education and recruiting sessions, volunteer meetings and other events.  After a local wildfire hit the area, Marco's organized a fundraiser and first-responder appreciation event that attracted more than 600 people and raised much needed funds for victims and firefighters.  Marco's has an active education program, visiting local schools to teach kids about good nutrition, as well as Italian language, culture, art and history.

 
DELAWARE


Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
As a regional chain, Iron Hill Brewery is committed to giving back to the many communities where they operate, and has implemented a number of programs that allow each of their 12 restaurants to make a contribution.  For their Triple Chocolate Hill program, each restaurant donates a portion of the sales of the decadent dessert to a local charity of their choice, with another portion going to support children's cancer research.  Each restaurant hosts several Give 20 events each year, donating a portion of sales to local charitable fundraising efforts.  Iron Hill also brews specialty beers, names them after local charities, and donates $1 per pint to that charity.
 

SoDel Concepts
SoDel founder Matt Haley was committed to helping those in need, particularly children, the elderly, at-risk youth and those re-entering society after prison.  When he died unexpectedly, it was left to vice president Scott Kammerer to keep the company going and take care of its employees.  After he was able to buy the company, he turned to finding a way to continue helping the charities that had meant so much to Matt.  He established the SoDel Cares foundation to help support small local nonprofits, including the Harry K. Foundation, which has opened 11 food pantries in county schools and provides kids with backpacks filled with food for the weekend.  Another is Pathways to Success, which provides mentorship, tutoring and college and career counseling for at-risk teenagers.  Three former Pathways kids are working in SoDel restaurants as they attend college, and 20 current Pathways students recently attended the program’s first company leadership retreat.
 

FLORIDA


Anna Maria Oyster Bar
There is hardly a fundraiser for a nonprofit or civic organization in their community that does not include a gift certificate donation, auction item or sponsorship from the Anna Maria Oyster Bar.  But the main focus of their fundraising and volunteer activities is education.  Each store partners with a local school to assist with special projects, fundraisers and student incentives.  Anna Maria has hosted the entire staff of over 20 local schools for a Christmas dinner and partners on the Angel Tree program to ensure that the children have a gift to unwrap on Christmas morning and food on the table.  Four years ago, they established the Anna Maria Oyster Bar/Air & Energy Scholarship Fund to provide over $250,000 to enable adults to return to college at three local higher education institutions.  For over a decade, the Anna Maria Oyster Bar golf tournament has raised over $500,000 for local educational and children’s organizations.
 

Burger King McLamore Foundation
The Burger King McLamore Foundation helps people create brighter futures through education and emergency relief.  As the charity of choice for the Burger King brand around the world, the foundation has helped more than 700,000 in-need children and families.  Its education initiatives provide scholarships and raise funds for literacy projects and building schools and libraries in all of the brand’s communities.  The foundation has published seven local language children's books for students in South Africa, Cambodia, and Sri Lanka.  In the U.S., they have provided more than 30,000 college-bound students with financial support through the Burger King Scholars program.  The foundation hosts two signature events to raise funds for education.  Bright Futures Weekend is an annual two-day golf tournament that raised more than $200,000 in 2016 alone.  The BK Beach Run is a signature 5k/10 event with more than 2,500 community supporters. 
 

Tijuana Flats
To help make a real difference for those who need and deserve help most, Tijuana Flats established the Tijuana Flats Just In Queso Foundation® in 2007.  Through JIQ, Tijuana Flats hosted a fundraising campaign to benefit the victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas by matching patron donations up to $15,000.  Tijuana Flats later donated 10 percent of all proceeds from each of its locations during a weekend in September to benefit Hurricane Irma victims in Florida.  Since 2007, JIQ has raised over $3,500,000 and donated countless volunteer hours – more than 2,300 hours in 2016 alone – to causes including Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Charlie relief, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, No Kid Hungry, Building Homes for Heroes, Children’s Cancer Center, Breast Cancer Research Foundation and Pediatric Cancer Charities.  Tijuana Flats awards $1,500 scholarships to five employees through the Tijuana Flats Hot Scholar program, which JIQ also helps fund.
 

TooJay's Deli and Restaurant
At TooJay’s, they pride themselves on serving their community from the heart.  Each TooJay's has their own budget for donations within their community, allowing them to get involved at a local level.  To create unity across the brand and make a bigger impact, TooJay’s launched a partnership with Feeding Florida, a subsidiary of Feeding America, which is committed to eliminating food insecurity across Florida.  Feeding Florida has 14 member food banks in local communities, allowing TooJay’s team members to plan local events and work hands-on with them to donate money and time.  Throughout September, guests and team members supported Feeding Florida in a number of ways.  For every Peach Tea or Strawberry Lemonade sold, TooJay’s donated $1.  Guests were also encouraged to round up their check, with every $1 donated providing 11 meals.  This initiative raised $16,700, providing 183,700 meals through the Feeding Florida network.
 

Roque Pub
The Roque Pub may be small, but its impact on the community is enormous.  The entire Roque team is active in charities on a local and national level, often volunteering 20-25 hours a week at off-site events and functions.  In addition to providing in-kind donations – including food, beverages, sponsorships and auction items – they donate considerable time and energy to support local nonprofit organizations, schools and community enrichment programs.  Roque is an integral member the National Main Street Program and has helped spearhead local initiatives to energize the economy by revitalizing historic commercial districts.  As Partners in Education, they support area schools by providing meals and supplies for fundraisers and functions, sponsoring sports and extra curricular events, and participating in food and toy drives.  In 2017, the team helped fill and distribute over 200 bookbags filled with school supplies for in-need students.
 

GEORGIA


Marlow's Tavern
When the team at Marlow's Tavern is not cooking, they are connecting with the people and causes that are closest to their communities.  Throughout September, all Marlow’s Taverns participate in the Dining Out For No Kid Hungry campaign, rewarding guests with a $5 Marlow’s gift card in return for their donations.  The campaign raised nearly $38,000 for children in need.  The team also hosted its annual Special Olympics Georgia golf classic and silent auction dinner. The day’s efforts were responsible for a 2017 donation of almost $130,000.  A proud partner of SOGA since 1999, Marlow’s latest donation pushed their fundraising total to over $900,000.  Marlow's Tavern participated in The Giving Kitchen's inaugural Dining with Gratitude event and donated $7,000 to the organization.  As part of their commitment to give back to their neighborhoods, the team donates gift cards, participates in nonprofit events and supports those in need any way they can.
 

Southern Proper Hospitality
Southern Proper Hospitality partners John Piemonte and Chris Hadermann are huge proponents of supporting nonprofit organizations like the American Red Cross, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, New Story Charity, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and No Kid Hungry Campaign, as well as schools near their restaurants.  In the past year, thanks to the collective efforts of staff and customers, SPH has donated more than $32,000 to these causes and more.  Golfers were invited to get into the swing of things at a golf tournament at Cumming’s Polo Golf & Country Club, where players enjoyed a round of golf, a wide variety of event prizes, hot lunch and an awards reception dinner.  The tournament raised $6,000 for New Story Charity, an organization that builds homes for impoverished families in the developing world.  SPH partnered with Tito’s Handmade Vodka to match $1 each per Tito’s cocktail sold, raising $4,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.


Murphy's | Morningside Kitchen | Paces & Vine
Tom Murphy has wanted to be in the restaurant business since he was a kid.  He started as a hot dog vendor at 12, and at 21 opened his first restaurant, Murphy’s.  Over the next 25 years, Tom learned that many people battling serious illness have little or no resources or access to nutritious food.  In 2005, Tom launched Good Measure Meals, a meal delivery service to benefit Atlanta’s poor.  The service was eventually “donated” to Project Open Hand, a nonprofit that helps people better manage chronic disease through comprehensive nutrition care and healthful home-delivered meals.  Tom continues to be a major contributor to Open Hand Atlanta, which cooks, packages and delivers over 5,200 meals per day to those in the community who need it most.  Since 2005, Good Measure Meals has contributed over $4,000,000 to Open Hand, which has grown to be one of the largest providers of home delivered meals and nutrition education in the Southeast.
 

Porch Light Latin Kitchen
For Chef Andre Gomez, growing up in Puerto Rico made for many fond memories, and he recreates that warm, family-style atmosphere in his part restaurant, part lunch counter, part Latin Quarter deli – Porch Light Latin Kitchen.  In September of 2017, Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated Puerto Rico, leaving thousands of families flooded out of their homes and without power, food or clean water.  Porch Light Kitchen became a hub for Puerto Rico hurricane relief efforts.  Andre and his team stepped up in a big way to help his home country.  He called for his Georgia community to donate a range of supplies, from bottled water to battery-powered fans.  His neighbors responded with an outpouring of donations that filled the restaurant’s supply room and even its parking lot.  Andre and a team of volunteers sorted and boxed thousands of dollars of donated goods.  All in all, they filled more than 12 tractor trailers with supplies and raised more than $50,000.


Zaxby's
John Silvey and the teams at his Zaxby’s restaurants are so active in their communities, the brand’s corporate officers have referred to them as brand ambassadors.  Zaxby’s serves as a Partner in Education with 14 area schools, providing sponsorships and in-kind donations and volunteering to work with the students.  They contribute to local charities with in-kind sponsorships and financial support, including Cobb County Foster Adoptive Parents Association, My Next Big Adventure and Kamp Kizzy.  They support the Orange Duffel Bag Initiative, which provides children aging out of foster care with leadership and life skills classes in an after-school program.  When a local family created the MaGIC Fund to bring pediatric doctors from six countries together to discuss cancer treatments, John provided food for the summit.  John inspires diversity and inclusion in his team by hiring people in need of assistance, as well as those with special needs.

 

INDIANA


BurgerFuel
When Christopher Mason decided to open a BurgerFuel – a New Zealand gourmet burger concept – in Indianapolis, he and his team first met with area industry leaders to discuss how they could not only run a successful business but also become great community partners.  With their expert advice in mind, the flagship BurgerFuel opened a year ago to great fanfare, and immediately began to make a positive impact on the area.  The restaurant champions fun, nutritious eating by offering healthy options, including vegan burgers, organic milkshakes and many gluten-free options.  In the lead-up to the opening, BurgerFuel asked fans in New Zealand and Australia to write postcards to future fans in the US.  The postcards are presented to new customers, creating social media buzz and a few global digital pen pal connections.  BurgerFuel also launched a giving program that makes donations to three local philanthropies a month, with customers voting on where the funds go. 
 

ILLINOIS


The Vine – Martini And Wine Bar
The Vine Restaurant has been a staple in the Grayslake community for the past 11 years.  In that time, owner Michael Pruitt and and his team have helped raise between $250,000 to $500,000 a year for area organizations.  The Vine has sponsored and created numerous events that raise money for local charities while bringing the community together, including Bourbon Fest, Beer Fest, Grayslake Car Show, Blues Fest, Downtown Rib Throwdown and others to raise money for a youth center, food shelters and families in need.  They hosted a private “Molecular Dinner,” in which Top Chef contestant Chris Jones cooked for 100 people.  The event raised $10,000 for the Northern Illinois Food Bank, which used the money to feed 60,000 people.  The team also rallied the community to help get a wheelchair-accessible van donated to a local family for their disabled son, and partnered with other businesses on labor and parts to get the van into good working order.
 

IOWA


Trostel's Greenbriar
On any given day, visitors may find the 30-year family-owned and operated Trostel’s Greenbriar restaurant hosting a fundraiser, catering a community festival, or raising money for families in need.  The team hosts and participates in several fundraising events and outreach programs throughout the year, and also select one major fundraising event each year to champion.  For the past four years, Trostel’s has donated $1,000 annually to the Iowa Restaurant Association Education Foundation for a scholarship to an aspiring culinary student in honor of their late founder/owner/chef Paul Trostel.  Every year for more than 20 years, they have hosted their Top 3% Dinner to honor the top 3 percent of the graduating class of Johnston High School.  Students are encouraged to invite a teacher who has impacted their educational experience.  In 2017, they hosted a fundraiser to honor a former employee, raising $10,000 for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society.
 

KENTUCKY


Carr's Steakhouse
The team at Carr’s Steakhouse has built a culture that centers on serving people – not just their customers, but their teammates and their community.  Their philosophy is that making employees feel connected and valued fosters empowerment, loyalty and growth.  That’s why Carr’s employees are active partners in their many community service efforts.  They support organizations like No Kid Hungry, Feeding America, Empty Bowls Project, National Hunger & Homeless Awareness Week and Round It Up America.  They contribute to a number of schools, teams, clubs and charitable groups in many ways, including donating over 1,000 meals and partnering in a variety of fundraisers and charity events.  They have partnered with Graves County's Work Ready Task Force and Mayfield's Work Ready Committee to help schools put programs in place to get kids ready for jobs in the industry.  Through these efforts, and many more, the Carr’s team works together to make their community better.
 

MARYLAND


Glory Days Grill
Glory Days Grill is proud to give back to the community, and have made this one of their three pillars of focus:  great food, a love of sports and being a good citizen in their communities.  One of their primary commitments is to create a safe dining environment for members of the food allergic community – a growing population.  Not only has Glory Days Grill long provided nutritional information on their menu items, they also maintain a gluten-free menu and Allergen Wizard for guests with food allergies.  They partner with a wide variety of charities and nonprofits to champion issues from cancer treatment and support to preventing teen drug and alcohol abuse.  In addition to existing partnerships with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, The Sunshine Foundation and Life with Cancer, in 2017, Glory Days partnered with Moveable Feast, a nonprofit organization that provides food and services to people suffering from life-threatening illnesses.
 

The Embers Restaurant & Blu Crabhouse and Raw Bar
The teams of The Embers Restaurant and Blu Crabhouse & Raw Bar have been very involved in the community over the years., but they struggled to fundraise in Ocean City, a very seasonal market.  They launched a new program, Dine United OC, that makes it easy to partner with the restaurants on fundraisers.  Each restaurant that wants to participate picks how they want to fundraise, whether it is a dollar from every check or offering a special appetizer or drink, then they track the promotion through their computer system.  In turn, the company gives them free PR through their many connections with local radio, tv and print media.  The program has been such a success, the company decided to apply the concept to hotels, and introduced Stay United OC.  Over two years, both programs raised nearly $120,000, with the proceeds going to fund 80 programs that fight for the health, education and financial stability of everyone in the Ocean City community.


Blackwall Hitch Annapolis
As a ‘blackwall hitch’ is a nautical knot used as a quick connector, it should be no surprise that the founding concept for Blackwall Hitch restaurants is “connection.”  The team at the Annapolis Blackwall Hitch connect with their community through the thing they do best:  food.  They regularly host and/or provide free food for charitable fundraisers, with chef and staff volunteers on hand to offer appetizers and raise attention for the causes, including mentoring groups, domestic violence awareness and children’s groups and charities.  Blackwall Hitch also champions the ecological sustainability of the nearby Chesapeake Bay through the owner’s longtime member on the board of directors of the Oyster Recovery Partnership.  This organization is focused on improving the health of the bay by restoring and sustaining the local oyster population, revitalizing the regional seafood industry, and stimulating the economies of local waterfront communities. 
 

Cafe Mezzanotte
The team at Café Mezzanotte do a lot for their community, including hosting quarterly fundraisers and providing food for street outreach and youth programs, raising over $15,000 and over $5,000 in food donations..  But they have taken their efforts one step further.  They have aligned their charitable mission with that of UEmpower of Maryland, an organization that identifies areas of genuine need and enlists resources to create solutions.  The Café team works alongside UEmpower to raise awareness about hunger and other community issues and making it easier for good people to do the right thing by connecting them with local organizations to which they can donate or volunteer their time.  The Café also regularly involves its customers in its popular “round-up” program, adding and matching 25¢ to every check and donates the combined funds to U Empower of Maryland towards its food-focused programs, FoodBridge and The Food Project.
 

MASSACHUSETTS


The Red Raven
Going out for a meal at a restaurant is an event most people look forward to.  However, many people with special needs avoid eating out because it can be a challenging experience.  To better serve customers with special needs, including dementia, Alzheimer’s, autism, PTSD, hearing/vision or other physical or cognitive condition, The Red Raven introduced a new concept:  Purple Table Reservations.  Customers can reserve "Purple Tables" by searching on the website or via the Purple Table Reservations mobile app.  With a Purple Table reservation, customers can feel secure that the staff will provide the accommodations that work best, along with a little extra patience and attention from staff who have been trained to understand different needs and how to best accommodate them.  Red Raven has also started a Community Ambassador program so volunteers can help share the Purple Table concept and educate restaurants in their communities. 
 

Union Station
When Union Station owner Jerimia Micka’s indomitable kid sister, Stephanie, died of lymphoma, he determined to keep her name alive in a way he knew his high-spirited sister would have approved.  So, he launched Steph’s Wild Ride, as a way to raise money to fight cancer and in the most fun way possible – because that would be Stephanie’s number one priority.  The annual charity event features a motorcycle ride, raffles and dinners of all kinds, including sit down dinners, pig roasts, clam and seafood bakes, and a Slovakian feast.  The first event in 2008 raised almost $15,000, with two-thirds of the proceeds going to the Children’s Miracle Network and the purchase of two IV pumps for Cooley Dickenson Hospital Children’s Unit.  From that first event, Steph’s wild ride has grown.  Today, to ensure that proceeds are used in the best possible way, a grants coordinator manages the distribution of donations to worthy organizations and individuals.

 

MICHIGAN


Buddy's Pizza
Throughout its long history, Buddy's Pizza has built strong relationships with many of the iconic venues and organizations in Detroit, including the Motown Museum, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Zoo, Henry Ford Museum, Michigan Humane Society, Alliance for the Great Lakes and Karmanos Breast Cancer Research.  They created specialty pizzas for each and have donated a portion of the proceeds to each organization.  As part of their 21-year partnership with Detroit Public Television, Buddy’s participates in a challenge grant, matching pledges made during their charitable giving telethon.  Buddy's employees from several locations and the corporate office volunteer their time to man the telephones during each telethon.  Buddy’s also contributes to the greater community by providing in-kind donations to countless area schools, churches, school sports teams and local charities, providing approximately $175,000.00 in food donations over the years.


Wagon Wheel American Grill
It is a rare month that Wagon Wheel American Grill isn’t hosting some kind of fundraiser.  Their regular schedule of events includes wine tastings, wine and beer dinners to benefit local hospitals, and comedy nights to benefit local charities and nonprofits.  The Wagon Wheel team serves more than 600 free meals annually to local high school sports teams when they have homecomings or win a district or regional event.  Owners Terry and Jonda Schrauben allow the Portland Youth Baseball League to operate two baseball diamonds on the property behind the Wagon Wheel for regular season practices and games, as well as multiple weekend tournaments.  Last year, they introduced ‘20% Back’ events.  Wagon Wheel provides nonprofits with customized coupons they can distribute in advance of their scheduled event date.  On that date, customers can present the coupon to their server to participate, with 20 percent of all of these sales going to the nonprofit.
 

MINNESOTA


Alma Group
For nearly 20 years, the staff at Alma has worked as a team, whether they are developing a new seasonal menu or finding meaningful ways to support their community.  Alma’s involvement with Minneapolis public schools has been substantial, and their activities and in-kind donations support their philosophy on nourishing people.  They feed 34,000 children a day, and through relationships with local farmers, they organize taste testings and focus groups so kids can taste new recipes they’re working on.  Since launching Alma’s Giving Program in early 2014, the team has worked with roughly 20 local non-profits.  They participate in The Junior Iron Chef Competition to raise awareness for Minneapolis Public Schools’ commitment to healthy, fresh food.  They also actively promote Youth Farm, an organization that provides year-round programs that educate and cultivate leadership for youths aged 9 to 24 by helping them plant, grow, prepare and sell fresh, healthy foods.
 

Commonwealth Properties, Inc.
Commonwealth Properties has never wavered in its commitment to supporting the community.  As a small, independent operator, the owners give back quietly and generously, donating significant funds, time and services to hundreds of worthwhile charities and nonprofits, including those for children and seniors, food and homeless support, health services and research, and educational and civic organizations.  In addition, they tirelessly offer their time and resources to good causes, and they lead by example, inspiring their staff to be active and allowing them to use company spaces for charitable events.  In 2017, the team hosted a "Still Kickin'" fundraiser to benefit local families struggling with cancer or other rare illnesses, using the space and instructors of the Saint Paul Athletic Club, provided free by the owners.  In 2018, CPI plans to expand their service activities even further by establishing a volunteer committee consisting of Commonwealth employees from their properties.
 

Pub 500
In the 14 years since Pub 500 opened its doors, the team has built a reputation for generosity and for honoring diversity by being a safe and welcoming gathering place.  Their philosophy is, "If it's good for all of us, then it's good for all of us."  Their Pub Bucks fundraiser program donates more than $20,000 in gift cards each year to deserving local organizations who can sell the cards and keep 100  percent of the proceeds.  Nine years ago, they created a Fund Raising Letter that outlines the many ways charitable groups can fundraise at Pub 500, including restaurant promotions, Pub Bucks, in-kind donations and large fundraising events.  They support people in need by paying medical bills, buying anonymous gifts for Santa's Little Helpers, boosting the Big Brother/Big Sister program, donating to the Greater Mankato Diversity Council, supporting the LGBTQ community, hosting their annual PRIDE Fest activities and much more.
 

MISSISSIPPI


The Shed BBQ & Blues Joint
The team at The Shed BBQ & Blues Joint keep very busy with their many community service activities.  Over the past 15 years, they have hosted more than 200 fundraisers, and support other local, regional and national fundraisers and outreach programs by contributing funds, food and other in-kind donations.  The Shed team has a special partnership with Operation BBQ Relief, a nonprofit organization of nationwide volunteers who gather together to cook and serve hot meals to those affected by natural disasters.  The Shed serves as a staging headquarters for OBR donations year round, and The Shed BBQ team helps cook and serve meals during OBR deployments.  Since OBR’s inception in 2011, The Shed and its many volunteers have cooked and served over 1.3 million hot meals to tornado, hurricane and fire victims in affected areas across the country, including Missouri, New York, New Jersey, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, California and Texas.
 

Ward's Fast Foods of Carthage
Ward’s Fast Foods has made it their mission to support their schools and show their appreciation for law enforcement organizations in their area.  They not only provide considerable funds and in-kind donations to show their support, they also host a number of fundraising events throughout the year.  Owner Michael Sellers is very involved in every event.  He has donated money, food and time to the schools and after school programs.  To raise funds for the school district’s beta club, Michael donated and personally spent days preparing 350 hamburgers for students to sell at a sports event for 100 percent profit.  For over a decade, Michael and his team have hosted a holiday dinner for highway patrol Troop H.  Michael rents the facility, donates and prepares the food, including ‘top shelf’ steaks, and serves hundreds of highway patrolmen and their families, as well as single patrolmen who don’t have a family to come home to on Christmas
 

Zachary's
Doug Pellum always dreamed of owning a restaurant.  When he opened Zachary's, he wanted charity to be the focus of its culture, but he never expected it would become a fundraising hub for the city.  Doug and his team hold countless events to raise funds for worthy causes, including $4,500 towards Hurricane Harvey Relief, $1,250 for the Susan G. Komen Cancer Walk, and $1,000 for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.  The military and police are a special focus of their generosity.  Police officers who come to Zachary's in uniform receive a 50 percent discount.  Since 2014, Zachary's has partnered with the chamber of commerce to host classes for 160 incoming Air Force Pilots.  In 2017, when a beloved local musician passed away unexpectedly, Zachary’s assembled sponsors, partners and a roster of bands to create a unique, family-friendly music festival to honor him and provide his young widow with over $36,000 to help provide for her children.
 

MONTANA


Glacier Restaurant Group
The Glacier Restaurant Group applies their Have It All philosophy to everything they do.  Across all their restaurants, they believe that their guests, their franchise partners, their more than 2,500 team members and the communities they serve should Have It All.  The community service that the restaurants provide is as unique and personal as the opportunities they support.  Since forming Glacier Restaurant in 2007, the company has awarded millions of dollars to support efforts in its communities, and has contributed more than $500,000 in philanthropic support in the past year alone.  Whether it’s the more than $27,000 raised last year for the Special Olympics Montana, more than $11,000 raised last year for the Montana Wildfire Relief Fund, more than $45,000 raised for local Boy & Girls Clubs in the Midwest, and numerous school fundraisers and other worthy events, Glacier teams consistently step up to ensure that their communities Have It All.
 

NEBRASKA


Southern Hospitality Ventures, Inc.
When Jennifer and Justin Jones opened their Raising Cane’s franchise in 2006, they had one goal:  not to be just another restaurant in the community.  They wanted to be THE community restaurant.  This led them to create many programs over the years to support the communities in which they operate.  In 2009, they partnered with Cell Phones for Soldiers, a nonprofit organization that funds free communication tools for active duty military members and veterans by recycling old cell phones in exchange for calling cards.  They started collecting phones from customers in exchange for a free meal with purchase offer.  In all, they raised over 713,000 calling card minutes and provided over $27,000 in free meals.  In 2013, they added a round-up feature to the campaign, inviting customers to add to the total on their check.  These funds are made available to soldiers, veterans and families in crisis in the form of a grant or gift cards ranging from $250 to $500.
 

NEVADA


Count's Vamp'd
Celebrity brings many benefits.  For Danny Koker, star of The History Channel TV show, Counting Cars, and owner of Las Vegas rock venue, Count's Vamp'd, the greatest benefit is the visibility it affords him as he works to help worthwhile charities in his community.  In the eight years that Count's Vamp'd has been in business, Danny and his team have given back to their community at every possible opportunity.  They sponsor and support several charity fundraiser rides, the most recent being a ride to raise much needed funds for veterans led by celebrity Randy Couture.  In 2017, they held a three-day fundraiser called #fillthedrum to help the victims of the tragic shooting at the Route 91 concert.  The three-day event’s proceeds, including Count’s Vamp’d staff members’ personal donations and the value of the restaurant’s food sales for the week, raised over $10,000 for the victims and their families.
 

Crazy Pita Rotisserie & Grill
Mehdi Zarhloul, owner of Crazy Pita restaurants, is known for his passion for giving.  He supports and sponsors many charities and nonprofits, including the Nathan Adelson Hospice, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the Cultural Diversity Foundation, as well as a variety of local school fundraisers.  The team members of Mehdi’s three restaurants happily join him in his efforts, volunteering their time and helping host fundraisers.  During the holiday season, they will frequently grill a home-cooked meal for children living at St. Jude's Ranch.  In 2017, they donated 100 turkeys to Three Square food bank for Thanksgiving.  All Crazy Pita restaurants participate in their very popular Be Kind program, selling Be Kind apparel, with 100 percent of proceeds donated to the Josh Stevens Foundation.  If employees catch a kid being kind, he or she is awarded a green Be Kind bracelet with a card that says, “You've Been Caught Being Kind.”
 
 
Nico'Z Catering & Eatery
After more than a decade of studying and working in the restaurant business, Nicole Booth moved home and shared her ideas with local restaurants.  They told her her ideas would never work.  Nicole’s response was to open her own restaurant, Nico'Z Catering & Eatery, where she has successfully implemented her ideas and promoted healthier eating for more than eight years.  Nicole is equally passionate about her community.  She serves as a Partner in Education for the eighth grade class at Bishop Hogan Memorial School, donating funds and pizzas and leading student discussions about owning a business.  She and the Nico’Z team work with Beta Sigma Phi to raise funds for local breast cancer patients, trading advertising for $100 donations and hosting the annual Sassy & Classy Affair fundraiser, which has raised over $8,000.  The team supports the local animal shelter by contributing donated pet supplies and personal funds, as well as a portion of sales.
 

Reno Local Food Group
Mark Estee, owner and chef of Reno Local Food Group restaurants, is a leader in his community’s local food movement and has had a tremendous influence in bringing a thriving food culture to the Reno area.  As president of the board of DROPP (Distributors of Regional, Organic Products and Produce), Mark has helped develop a platform that allows local farmers and ranchers to more easily connect with local chefs, restauranteurs, grocery stores and even individual buyers to sell their goods and services.  Mark practices what he preaches in his own business, buying directly from local farmers and ranchers and using their products in all of his restaurants.  He makes sure to credit local sources on his menus and champions them at every opportunity.  His tireless work ensures the effectiveness and longevity of the program, fosters economic stability for the suppliers, and makes sure his neighbors have access to the freshest local and seasonal foods.
 

Rounds Bakery
The team at Rounds Bakery has made it their mission to be a socially responsible community partner.  From day one, the restaurant’s policy has been to donate all excess food to local charities.  Through many recent tragedies, including natural disasters, Rounds Bakery has responded to make a positive impact on the people who need help.  The team held an emergency food and clothing drive then flew to Texas to personally deliver the items to families affected by last year’s hurricane.  They make sure homeless shelters have more than enough food, and have put on clothing and pantry drives to help victims who have lost everything.  When the bakery supports a worthy cause, the employees proudly make it their own, whether donating tips, collecting supplies or providing a venue for a charity event.  Over the last year, the team has donated over $200,000 to local nonprofits and given over five tons of food to the Reno/Sparks Gospel Mission 2017.
 

South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa
Many people with severe food allergies avoid eating in restaurants for safety reasons.  Keith Norman, assistant executive chef and food safety manager at the South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa, has dedicated himself to changing that.  For nearly a decade, he and his team have developed allergen-friendly menu items and served over 3,000 allergen-safe meals a year.  More than 300 of the hotel’s food and beverage team members have received mandatory allergen training and certification.  To help increase awareness of the issue, Keith has shared the allergen awareness procedures his team has perfected with other chefs, who have, in turn, implemented the steps, known as the South Point Program, in their restaurants.  The hotel has hosted conferences for the Food Allergen Bloggers and the Food Allergen & Anaphylaxis Connection Team.  Keith has presented at a number of food safety conferences, emphasizing on allergen awareness and the South Point Program.
 

Squeeze In
Shila Morris, president of Squeeze In Restaurants and Squeeze In Franchising, has fostered a corporate culture around investing in others.  In her day-to-day role, as well as a board member in the Nevada Restaurant Association, she leads by example, requiring that all new franchise partners select a local nonprofit to support before they even open their doors.  Squeeze In locations donate over 600 meals each year to support worthwhile organizations, including the Northern Nevada Humane Society, local sports teams, the Tahoe Trails and Vistas organization, the annual Historic Haunted Tour in Truckee and the Great Reno Balloon Races.  Every year, Shila coordinates a massive effort at all Squeeze In locations to thank veterans for their service by offering them free meals on Veterans Day, serving over $7,000 in free meals annually.  In 2017, the program was expanded to two days and offered to anyone who has or is currently serving in the armed forces.
 

NEW HAMPSHIRE


Great NH Restaurants
Locally owned and operated for more than 30 years. Great NH Restaurants has long counted care and charitable giving among its most important core values.  Over a decade ago, the team began to look for ways to expand their service activities, and their fundraisers evolved and grew to become something that has truly made a tremendous impact.  This success inspired Great NH Restaurants to create a charitable trust, FEEDNH.org, in 2014.  The mission of FEEDNH.org is to strengthen New Hampshire communities through philanthropic collaboration, dedicated employee involvement and volunteerism.  Through FEEDNH.org, Great NH Restaurants has disbursed more than $300,000 in cash donations in just three years to deserving nonprofits, including Families in Transition, NH Farm to School, Manchester Community Health Center, St. Josephs Community Services, Manchester Police Athletic League, Child Advocacy Centers of New Hampshire, Boys and Girls Clubs of NH and more.
 

The Common Man Family of Restaurants in New Hampshire
Now in its 46th year, The Common Man family of restaurants, has grown from one location to a 23-restaurant-strong cornerstone of their communities, and their philanthropy has grown with them.  They continually find ways to Do Good in their communities, including hosting fundraisers, donating gift cards, labor, cash and food to various fundraising events, offering nonprofit discounts and allowing employees time to volunteer for their favorite local charities.  Sometimes, the need for assistance goes beyond the borders of New Hampshire, and The Common Man teams are reading to accept the challenge.  Two such instances occurred in the late summer of 2017, when an unusually active hurricane season caused devastation in many areas of the United States and Puerto Rico.  Two fundraisers, NH Helping Houston and Weathering It Together raised a combined $72,000.  Owner Alex Ray traveled to his native Puerto Rico, where he helped cook 2,000 meals for victims.
 

Tuckaway Tavern & Butchery (1) Hop & Grind (2)
Since he opened Tuckaway Tavern five years ago, Paul Simbliaris has demonstrated his generosity again and again as a consistent supporter of local community service efforts.  Every Monday evening, Raymond Baptist Church serves dinner to over 120 in-need people.  At first, Paul supplied food for the dinner on an occasional basis.  Today, Tuckaway Tavern provides all the supplies necessary for the dinner every week.  Over the past year, these contributions have amounted to over 6,000 hot meals for folks in need.  Paul is also a frequent contributor to the church’s Food Pantry and the feeding programs it supports.  Each year, Paul brings a food truck to Children's Hospital at Dartmouth, serving hundreds of people at no charge.  He hosts an annual motorcycle event for CHAD and serves breakfast and lunch to participants and their families.  At Shriner's Hospital, which treats burned and disabled children, he hosts an annual picnic for the children and their families.
 

Patrick's Pub & Eatery
Patrick's is committed to being an active community leader and making a positive impact in the Lakes Region.  Whenever possible, Patrick's assists people and organizations in realizing their goals, from fundraising events to bone marrow drives and community meetings.  The team at Patrick’s delivered over 14,000 food items to the local food pantry in 2017, and they host an annual Pub Mania fundraising event to benefit the Greater Lakes Region Charitable Fund for Children.  Since its inception in 2009, Pub Mania has raised over $1,313,000.  Patrick's is also a major sponsor of the WOW Trail, a multi-use recreation trail that is being built in the city of Laconia.  The WOW Trail is currently 2½ miles of trails, built at an cost of about $2 million dollars.  The current goal is to build nine more miles, as part of a regional trail system between cities.  Allan Beetle, co-owner of Patrick's, is a founding member and current President of the WOW Trail.


NEW JERSEY


Doherty Enterprises – Applebee's
With Applebee’s locations across the country, Doherty Enterprises’ community service programs are vast.  In 2016 alone, the company sponsored and partnered with over 11,700 organizations, participated in 1,132 community events and projects, and raised in excess of $4.5 million in funds, in-kind donations and services.  The company has long been one of the largest supporters for the US Marine Corps Toys for Tots program, donating almost $4.1 million and 7,600 hours of volunteer time since 1999.  Every year, all 102 Applebee’s locations host a Breakfast With Santa fundraiser event on the first Saturday in December.  Each team turns their Applebee’s into a winter wonderland, complete with sparkling lights, ornaments and holiday cheer.  Many put their own twist on this very special day, featuring petting zoos, face painters, balloon artists and much more.  Beyond a great meal, every child leaves with special gifts and plenty of holiday cheer.  
 

McLoone's Restaurants
Lead by owner Tim McLoone, McLoone’s Restaurants puts community involvement and support at the forefront.  Since 1993, the company has partnered with another of Tim’s enterprises, Holiday Express, whose mission is to deliver music, food, gifts, financial support and friendship to those with the greatest need of the gift of human kindness during the holiday season and throughout the year.  Fundraising efforts span the entire year, with the height of the season being November and December.  Each McLoone's Restaurant adopts a giving partner and raises money to fulfill items on their partner’s wish lists.  Select locations also supply food and volunteers to soup kitchens serving hot meals to those in need during the holiday season.  In the off season, January-October, McLoone's works hand in hand with Holiday Express to host many of their fundraising events, including the annual Clam Bake, which this year raised a record setting $150,000.

 

NEW MEXICO


Frontier Restaurant / Golden Pride
Dorothy and Larry Rainosek have been valued members of the Albuquerque business community for 46 years.  They have contributed to their community in many ways over the years, but they have a special passion for education.  Every year, they give two Frontier/Golden Pride scholarships to culinary students through the NMRA.  At the University of New Mexico, they have established an endowed scholarship for the Presidential Scholarship Program and three scholarships for the Architecture, Planning and Landscape College.  They were also instrumental in the creation of UNM’s biggest fundraising event, Howl of a Good Time Austin, which raises over $100,000 annually for student athlete scholarships.  As longtime supporters of Central New Mexico Community College, they established an Endowed Frontier/Golden Pride Scholarship.  They provide financial support to the Albuquerque Museum Foundation for their traveling art exhibits and educational programs. 
 

Bocadillos
Chef Marie Yniguez started her career working as a dishwasher and busser and selling burritos out of her car.  She worked long hours and learned everything she could.  Her dream was to own her own restaurant.  She got involved with a local business incubator, began working with local charter schools’ meal programs and became a member of the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce.  Today, as the owner/chef at Bocadillos, she is an inspiration to the Albuquerque Hispanic community, both for her success as a restauranteur and as an active community leader.  She competed and won on the Food Network's Chopped and has been featured on Diners, Drive-in's & Dives.  She launched and runs a project to provide meals to 1,500 in-need students at the Native American Community Academy (more than 270,000 meals per school year).  Marie recently traveled to Washington, DC, with the founder of Top Chef for Plate of the Union, a meeting with the Food & Drug Administration to discuss food policies.


Pecos Valley Pizza – Domino's Team Bailey
Domino’s Team Bailey regularly sponsors "Dough Night" fundraising events for local schools, promoting sales on a specific night and donating profits from those sales to the school the next day.  Since 2016, they have held more than 18 Domino's Have a Heart Day fundraising events in New Mexico and Southern Colorado, raising nearly $38,000 for families in need by donating 100 percent of profits from sales at the event locations on that day.  They have delivered countless free pizzas to deserving groups, including police and fire departments all around New Mexico in support of #StandTrue4Blue, medical centers and many others.  Domino's is a national partner with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and Team Bailey works hard to generate increased their donations to St. Jude every year.  In 2016, they and their customers donated $71,485 to the St. Jude campaign, and in 2017, Team Bailey was a local partner in the St. Jude Run/Walk to End Childhood Cancer.
 

NEW YORK


T.L. Cannon Companies / Applebee's
T.L. Cannon restaurants are committed to serving their neighborhoods every day, all year long.  Every fundraising event, community program, charitable cause and local activity is handled with passion and care.  T.L. Cannon teams take pride in all of the special programs and events they take part in every year, including serving veterans on Veterans Day, partnering with the Special Olympics or celebrating the accomplishments of area youths.  From their partnerships with Make-A-Wish and Alex's Lemonade Stand, to giving back during Tip-A-Firefighter or National Good Neighbor Day, to supporting Coaches Eat Free or A is for Applebee’s, the team embodies what it means to be a good neighbor.  Nine years ago, the company created a partnership with Make-A-Wish.  Since then, they have committed nearly $1.3 million to Make-A-Wish.  Every year, they host two major Make-A-Wish fundraisers:  one in spring, selling wristbands and one in winter, selling gift tags.
 

NORTH CAROLINA


Bitty & Beau's Coffee
Bitty & Beau's Coffee, was created by owners Amy and Ben Wright to help break down barriers for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and provide them with opportunities.  The shop is named for two of their children who have Down syndrome.  When the Wrights discovered that nearly 70 percent of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities do not have jobs, they resolved to do something about it.  Almost everyone who works at Bitty & Beau's Coffee has a disability, ranging from Down syndrome to autism to cerebral palsy.  For many of its 40 employees, it's their first job.  For many customers, it is the unique staff that makes the shop so popular.  For the Wrights, that's what it’s all about – improving the lives of their employees and expanding their customers’ view.  All the profits from the shop go to Wright's nonprofit, Able to Work USA, which helps people with disabilities find meaningful employment.
 

Golden Corral
Golden Corral has two programs they devote considerable time and resources to each year to help support military service members and their families.  For the last 17 years, Golden Corral has hosted its annual Military Appreciation Night to thank active duty and retired United States military personnel for their service with a free dinner buffet.  In its first 16 years, this event served more than 5,000,000 meals to military personnel and generated nearly $13,000,000 in guest contributions to support community-based service initiatives for veterans, including DAV (Disabled American Veterans).  Golden Corral also helps support DAV through contributions from more than 85 vendors across the country, as well as customer donations and the assistance of their restaurant teams.  Since 2011, Golden Corral has been a supporter of Camp Corral, a free, one-of-a-kind summer camp for children of wounded, disabled or fallen military service members. 
 

Dugan’s Pub
The Dugan’s Pub team gets their greatest reward from serving their community.  They donate food and water to the Lumberton food bank and the Sandhills Coalition.  They contributed to flood relief efforts in NC by sending pallets of water, along with over 1,500 pounds of food and cleaning supplies.  Each year, staff members dress as Santa, Mrs. Claus and Elves to deliver Christmas stockings to the food bank, along with refreshments for the volunteers.  Their primary project is Back Pack Pals, which provides in-need children with food for weekends, breaks and holidays.  When they entered the program 14 years ago, they served three schools and 265 children.  Today, they provide 1,125 children in 23 schools with fresh fruits, juice boxes, crackers, raisins and other ready to eat snacks.  At the Christmas holiday, they deliver special bags with new school supplies, coloring books, crayons and some Christmas treats, along with extra food for the holiday break.


OHIO


Melt Bar and Grilled
There has never been a doubt in Melt Bar & Grilled owner Matt Fish's mind about the importance of giving back to the community.  Because Melt restaurants reach a broad audience, Matt recognized that this provides a platform to educate people of all walks of life about the the need to support food banks.

While Melt donates food to many causes during the year, the company focuses much of its efforts on an annual promotion during the holiday season.  This ensures that the funds are used to make the most positive impact at a time of year when hunger is keenly felt.  One of Melt’s most effective fundraising programs is Round up for Hunger, which invites guests to round up their checks to the next dollar as a contribution to food banks around the area.  Melt increases the funds raised by matching a portion of the rounded-up amounts.  Over the last four years, Melt has donated nearly $17,000, providing more than 66,000 meals to people struggling with hunger.
 

Roosters Restaurant
Roosters Restaurants is dedicated to providing fun.  It’s no wonder their Fun Cards are such a great success.  Fun Cards are donated to local sports teams, school groups and other organizations.  They sell them for $10 apiece and keep 100 percent of the proceeds.  The Fun Card program has been around for almost 20 years and becomes more and more successful each year.  Roosters is also a proud sponsor of the Second and Seven Foundation, donating $25,000 annually to their program to support literacy.  As part of their partnership with the local Ronald McDonald House, they contributed $25,000 to help design and furnish a new playroom, and they provide Roosters bucks throughout the year to help support the families that stay there.  All proceeds from their annual Charitable Golf Outing goes directly to the Buckeye Cruise for Cancer benefitting the Urban and Shelley Meyer Fund for Cancer Research at The James.  In 2017, the outing raised $127,500.


La Soupe
Three years ago, Suzanne DeYoung, a third generation chef with over 30 years experience as a boutique caterer and restaurant owner, sold her business so she could take on a new challenge.  She saw children in her city going hungry, while massive quantities of unused food ended up in a landfill.  Suzanne opened La Soupe, a nonprofit restaurant that uses grocery and farm overages to create nutritious soups and meals for kids living in food insecurity.  Every month, 300 volunteers salvage an average of 25,000 pounds of food and transform it into 15,000 soup meals.  Roughly 15 percent of the soup is sold to support the 85 percent that is donated.  They also supply many food pantries with produce directly from their rescue partners.  To further benefit hungry kids, Suzanne created Cincinnati Gives a Crock, an after-school program, now in seven schools, that gives in-need children a crockpot and teaches them how to prepare healthy meals at home. 
 

Paxton's Grill
For 11 years, the Paxton’s Grill team has held an annual charity golf outing for the benefit of CancerFree KIDS, a local organization that champions pediatric cancer research.  To date, the popular golf event has raised nearly $150,000 for CancerFree KIDS.  Paxton’s also supports the Loveland Food Pantry, raising nearly $150,000 in much needed funds and donating nearly 500 meals to neighbors in need.
 

OREGON


Greg’s Grill on the Deschutes
With just 60 employees and one location, the staff at Greg’s makes a big impact in their community. Every month, they choose a different charity and donate $1 for every glass and $4 for every bottle purchased of their selected wine sold. Last year, they raised $5,000 to support local community groups. In addition to the wine sales, Greg’s hosted the first ever Charity Chowder Cook-off in March to support the High Desert Food & Farm Alliance and donated proceeds from the sale of Mint Juleps on Derby Day to Healing Reins Therapeutic Riding Center.


Skyland Pub
As president of the local chamber of commerce, Stayce Blume sets the pace for her Skyland Pub team in being active in their community.  To benefit Oregon veterans, the team holds an annual golf tournament that has raised more than $43,000 over five years.  In 2017, they presented Forward Assist, an Oregon-based, volunteer-run organization that serves Oregon veterans, with a check for over $11,000.  During the holidays, they hold an annual Giving Tree event, partnering with customers to buy gifts for 30-45 in-need children.  Over eight years, the value of the gifts has been around $22,000.  For seven years, they have donated enough food to the Multnomah County Sheriff's Department run for Special Olympics to feed 750-850 police officers, volunteers and Special Olympics athletes.  Every year, Skyland Pub matches customer donations to the local Polar Plunge to support Special Olympics.  Some team members participate in the Plunge itself!
 

Three Creeks Brewing
Cancer is a disease that touches nearly everyone, and the Three Creeks team is no exception.  To support those affected by this disease, they launched a number of programs.  They created a Chile beer and celebrated with a three-day event featuring a chili cook-off, games and the chance for people to taste the new beer.  Three Creeks donated over $1000 in proceeds to The American Cancer Society.  The event turned into the Three Creeks Brewing Company Fresh Hop Festival, which has proved to be so successful the 2016 and 2017 festivals generated $15,000 for lifesaving cancer research and local programs like Road to Recovery, Look Good Feel Better, and a 24-hour resource line.  In addition to these programs, Three Creeks donates hundreds of cases of beer and thousands of dollars’ in gift cards to the Big Sister/Big Brother Foundation, Mountainstar Family Relief, Episcopal Church Art Show, Cascade Academy, Oregon Adaptive Sports, 3 River Counsel, and more.
 

PENNSYLVANIA


Hoss's Steak & Sea House
Hoss's helps support local organizations by holding Community Night events, donating at least 20 percent of qualifying sales to the participating organization.  Since the start of the Community Night program in 2005, Hoss's has donated over $4,126,000 to organizations and clubs throughout its communities.  Hoss's is also an avid supporter of youth sports teams, local high schools, and civic and charitable organizations, including Junior Achievement, local chambers of commerce, the Multiple Sclerosis Society , the American Cancer Society and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.  As a former Future Farmers of America (FFA) member, Hoss’s founder and CEO Bill Campbell feels a special loyalty to kids in the farming community.  Each year, Bill and other representatives from Hoss's attend the Pennsylvania Farm Show as well as more than 40 county fairs throughout Pennsylvania and West Virginia, to purchase livestock in support of 4H and FFA kids. 
 

Lehigh Valley Restaurant Group
Being a great neighbor lies at the core of the Lehigh Valley Restaurant Group’s mission and corporate identity.  When recruiting team members, they look for people who understand the importance and joy of giving.  As an army of over 2,000, whether they are assisting individuals or raising funds for major charities, their goal is to aid the less fortunate, put smiles on people's faces and do their best to help their communities.  In 2017, they raised over $122,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, where 81¢ of every dollar goes towards research, patient information and patience assistance through programs like free co-pays.. Since 2010, they have raised over $600,000 for LLS.  A similar program raised over $52,000 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) in 2017, and over $204,000 since 2012.  Every year since 2006, they have prepared and served $5,000 worth of food at the annual Women's 5K Classic, a local Breast Cancer charity event.
 

Metz Culinary Management
The unwavering commitment of the team at Metz Culinary Management is to provide unsurpassed hospitality for each and every guest by taking the time to learn their needs.  They take the same approach to their community service efforts.  In one year alone, the company raised nearly $30,000 for a local charity, Dinners for Kids, which provides nutritious dinners for children in need.  In 2017, when disaster hit communities nationally with hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, the company created a one-time-only cherry lemonade that they sold at their TGIFridays in Pennsylvania and New Jersey in September.  The promotion raised over $5,200 for the Red Cross of Northeast Pennsylvania, with 100 percent of the proceeds going directly to those affected by the hurricanes.  Team members and managers in Melbourne, Florida, cooked and served meals to first responders of Hurricane Irma and for the Pulse Nightclub shooting first responders in Orlando.
 


SOUTH CAROLINA


Blue Marlin
Bill Dukes is passionate about his restaurant, Blue Marlin.  Over a decade ago, he discovered a new passion when he took his father, a veteran, on a trip to see the National World War II Memorial in Washington, DC.  The trip was so emotional and cathartic for his father that Bill vowed to recreate the meaningful experience for as many veterans as he could.  In 2008, he founded Honor Flight SC to recognize veterans with a day of honor, remembrance and celebration by sending them on a one-day, all-expenses paid trip to Washington, DC to visit the WWII and other memorials honoring their service and sacrifice.  In the decade of its operation, Honor Flight SC carried more than 2,000 veterans on 21 flights to see their memorial.  Honor Flight SC, bolstered by donations, sponsorships and community support, arranged private chartered flights, accommodated special medical needs, and ensured they received a hero’s welcome in our nation’s capital.
 

TENNESSEE


Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc.
Cracker Barrel has supported military-focused organizations for many years, including the USO, Fisher House, National Military Family Association, Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation, the National Museum of the United States Army and The Legion Fund.  In 2016, Cracker Barrel announced their new flagship nonprofit partnership with Operation Homefront, whose mission is to build strong, stable and secure military families so that they can thrive in the communities they have worked to protect.  The partnership features a $100,000 company commitment and a $100,000 grant from the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Foundation.  The program far exceeded initial expectations, helping direct $430,000 in contributions, grants and in-kind donations in the first year to support Operation Homefront's mission, well above the initial $200,000commitment.  Their “Flip It Forward” event donated 20 percent of sales from select products to Operation Homefront.


The George Jones
The George Jones truly cares about its community.  From donating a percentage of sales to Hurricane Relief to putting on toy and food drives, The George Jones team is ready to serve their community wherever possible.  One of their greatest successes is the Hurricane Relief Challenge.  The George Jones, which is strategically located off of Broadway, challenged every vendor and restaurant on its street to donate 15 percent of their sales on a certain day to hurricane relief.  The Challenge received a lot of social media attention, which encouraged more restaurants and other businesses in the area to get on board.  As a result, the Hurricane Relief Challenge generated over $5,000, which was donated to One America Appeal to assist those impacted by the 2017 hurricanes in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the American Virgin Islands. 


Flying Squirrel
The Flying Squirrel team has two core values that they say motivate and inspire them every day.  One is that they will give back to the communities they serve.  The second is that they will seek profit not for its own sake but because it gives them the opportunity to make the world a better place.  With this in mind, they devised their fundraiser nights program.  On average once a week, they partner with a nonprofit to co‑brand and market an evening of eating and drinking for the group’s benefit.  The nonprofits not only gain increased awareness for their cause, they also receive 10 percent of the total sales for the evening.  Since 2013, the Flying Squirrel has held 200 fundraiser nights and donated over $102,000 to benefit more than 130 local charities and nonprofits, as well as national efforts like the American Cancer Association.  In 2016, they went one better, recruiting a partner sponsor, Lamp Post Group, which matched almost $24,000.
 

TEXAS


DRG Concepts
Whenever there is a need in their community, DRG Concepts CEO Nafees Alam can be counted on to rally his team to help with care and kindness.  They have provided hundreds of meals for victims, first responders and those in need and support relief centers, homeless centers, centers for at-risk youth and those affected by natural disasters and crimes.  One special project is Thank you, Mom, for Hope, a special night at Wild Salsa Fort Worth for the clients of Hope Farm.  Co‑hosted with the Fort Worth Police, the evening consisted of a ‘date night’ for the young men of Hope Farm and their mothers, a special way for sons to thank their mothers at a dinner just for them.  Nafees is developing an initiative in his home country of Bangladesh to provide restaurant industry training and coaching to underprivileged youth.  He has provided the capital and investment for a training kitchen in Dhaka where youth can learn new skills and prosper.
 

Gringo’s Mexican Restaurant / Jimmy Changas
When Russell Ybarra opened Gringo’s Mexican Restaurant and Jimmy Changas, he made sure the core values he instilled in his team included the commitment to give back and invest in the communities in which they operate.  His teams embrace this wholeheartedly and dedicate considerable time to championing good causes through fundraisers, donations, sponsorships, gift certificates and more.  As a strong advocate of US troops, Gringo’s donated $250,000 to the PTSD Foundation of America Camp Hope.  They participated in Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, providing time, food and financial assistance, and ‘adopting’ an evacuated family by providing them with a home, car and funds for a year.  They held a fundraiser that raised $100,000 for the Storm Relief Fund for the City of Houston.  They showed their support for law enforcement by hosting a #backthebadge event that provided over $100,000 in free meals to police officers and their families.
 

Urban Bricks Pizza Co.
When Hurricane Harvey hit Corpus Christi, TX, on August 17, 2017, it devastated the area and left thousands without power or, in many cases, homes.  When Sammy Aldeeb saw that his Urban Bricks Pizza in Corpus Christi was not seriously damaged and could still operate, he went to work to open the store for local residents.  It took 10 hours of prep the day before, driving about a dozen cars and trucks loaded with supplies and stock from San Antonio to Corpus Christi to get the job done.  But Urban Bricks Pizza opened on August 19th at 11 a.m. and served free pizzas to guests until the pantry went dry – the only food many people had that day.  The team ended up serving more than 700 pies and delivered 200 more to first responders.  As soon as the Houston area Urban Bricks Pizza location had power, Sammy did the same thing there.  Urban Bricks Pizza employees volunteered their time during these giveaway days, and came from all across Texas to help out.


UTAH


Even Stevens Sandwiches
Community and giving back are the cornerstone upon which Even Stevens Sandwiches is built.  True to their Eat to Give mission to aid their community’s most vulnerable members, for each sandwich purchased, a sandwich is donated to the food insecure population of that area.  Over 3½ years, they have donated 2,066,252 sandwiches valued at over $1,000,000.  They are also committed to buying locally.  From offering locally sourced coffee, drinks and baked goods, to decking interiors with murals and decor by local artists, to showcasing area musicians, their shops reflect the unique culture of the neighborhood.  Even Stevens hires people who are passionate about giving back and gives them the opportunity to support partner nonprofit organizations that are beloved by the community.  Each location partners with four nonprofit organizations to donate prepared foods to those in need, including homeless, seniors, crime victims, recovering addicts and more.
 

Salt Lake Brewing Co. dba Squatters Craft Beers and Wasatch Brewery
Since the inception of Wasatch Brewery in 1986 and Squatters Craft Beers in 1989, the Salt Lake Brewing Company has been dedicated to making people happy through its many community service activities.  Since 2014, they have provided an annual $5,000 in-kind donation to support the city's Green Bike program.  For eight years, their Squatters and Wasatch Annual Golf Tournament has raised over $40,000 for local charities.  Squatters and Wasatch have been a beer sponsor for "Zoo Brew" for the past two years, helping Salt Lake's Hogle Zoo raise $250,000 for animal conservation.  One of the company’s most popular programs is the annual Guilt Free Dessert campaign.  Squatters and Wasatch Pubs create a ‘guilt free dessert’ that is sold in all restaurants for one month, raising money and awareness for worthy causes.  The company matches the donation of the winning store.  Last year's efforts raised almost $24,000 for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.
 

Utah Del Taco Franchisee
Being an active member of the community is a long tradition at Del Taco, and few franchisees take this as much to heart as Paul Hitzelberger and his business partner and wife of 51 years, Jane.  Three of the charitable initiatives the Hitzelbergers are passionate about are the Utah National Guard Charitable Trust, which supports Utah’s military families; the Madeleine Choir School Scholarship Fund, whose young members perform throughout Europe; and the National Ability Center, which provides athletic opportunities to children and adults who have orthopedic, spinal cord and neuromuscular injuries.  Nine years ago, with the support of Utah Del Taco, the NAC expanded its ability to reach more wounded military members around the nation through the Wounded Warrior Project.  Paul and Jane’s restaurants also support the Utah National Guard Charitable Trust and the Wounded Warrior Project, providing more than $661,000 in contributions in just the last few years.
 


VIRGINIA


Firebirds Wood Fired Grill
Since 2012, Firebirds Wood Fired Grill has been a partner to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, a national childhood cancer foundation that is dedicated to raising funds for research into new treatments and cures for children battling various cancers.  Year-round, Firebirds donates $1.25 per glass of freshly squeezed lemonade sold at all of its restaurants to ALSF, generating contributions surpassing $1,000,000 to date.  Starting in 2013, Firebirds also began participating in ALSF’s Alex’s Lemonade Days, putting a lemonade stand outside each of its restaurants for the nonprofit’s annual June fundraiser.  In 2017, donations from Firebirds to Alex’s Lemonade Days exceeded $100,000, reflecting an average of $2,326 from each of Firebirds’ 43 locations.  From these two ALSF programs, Firebirds has raised an average of $200,000 per year to help make a difference in the lives of children battling cancer.
 


WASHINGTON


Ethan Stowell Restaurants
Ethan Stowell, owner of Ethan Stowell Restaurants, and his wife, Angela, love the city of Seattle and care deeply about its growth and success.  They bring great energy and passion to everything they do, and relish in engaging people in new ways.  Every year, they donate approximately $250,000 in time, material and money toward enriching their community and the people who live there  The couple is currently serving as co‑chairs of the 2018 United Way of King County’s annual fundraising campaign.
 
Arby’s Restaurant of Spokane
Jerry Pederson, the directors and staff of his company, Arby’s Restaurant of Spokane, are deeply committed to serving their community and are active in supporting a wide range of charitable and nonprofit organizations.  Jerry serves on the boards for a number of local, regional and national charities, including Feed Spokane, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Children’s Miracle Network.  He and his team spearhead fundraising and awareness activities and then help direct the funds to where they are most needed.  They are also supporters of the Arby’s Foundation / No Kid Hungry program.  In 2017, they raised more than $21,000, $15,000 of which went to support a local weekend backpack feeding program for underserved children.
 

Mill Creek Pub
Mill Creek Pub and owner, Russell Brent, are well known for their active participation in a variety of community support efforts.  So well known, in fact, when a retired principal wanted to restart the stalled Battle Ground Education Foundation, but didn’t know how to get it done, she went to Russell.  She knew he had a longstanding reputation as a community leader with the knowledge and experience to get things done.  When she left his office, she had pages of notes and several meetings scheduled with partners who could help her get the foundation going again.  Russell and his team are also longtime supporters of Rocksolid Community Teen Center.  They have given time, talents, food, funds, and made many connections for the organization.  The Mill Creek Pub team has catered the center’s annual fundraiser event.  Russell leads the ‘cash ask’ portion of the event, and over the last five years, has helped the center raise over $350,000.
 

Mitzel's American Kitchen
Years ago, Jack Emmons, owner of Mitzel’s American Kitchen, and his wife became foster parents and eventually adopted their daughter.  Through their experience with the foster system, the Emmons realized all the things that the foster system was lacking.  They determined to use their experience to help other foster families and started a nonprofit called Foster Champs.  Foster Champs supports foster families by providing the extras that the state doesn’t cover, including school supplies, blankets, toys and funding for special events like sports, birthdays, prom and holidays.  They have even organized a monthly support group for parents in the foster program to help educate them, answer their questions, meet their needs and provide a sense of community.  Most important, the Foster Champs program has helped countless families give their foster children the priceless gift of a loving home and a sense of security.
 

The Boat Shed
Thanks to the extraordinary efforts of owner Kathy Davis Hayfield, many of her neighbors consider The Boat Shed, a 40-year Manette staple, the hub of their community.  She and her team participate in a variety of events.  In fact, Boat Shed employees are required to volunteer at one or more events per year.  Many volunteer as AVID mentors, helping prepare students for college.  Kathy is herself a Rotary mentor, spending her personal time with high school students encouraging further education and success training.  If a local organization needs a donation, a place to hold a meeting or a fundraiser, Kathy is there to make it happen, and she often applies her umatched fundraising skills to benefit community projects and events, including Race for a Soldier, ManetteFest, WinterFest Magic in Manette and The Gig Harbor Film Festival.  Six years ago, Kathy launched Music in Manette, a program that provides eight weeks of free live music in the park. 
 

WASHINGTON, DC


Belga Café/BToo
Bart Vandaele, owner of Belga Cafe and BToo and a well-known chef in the District of Columbia uses his local celebrity to support and raise awareness for a number of charities.  Bart is a major supporter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.  In 2017, for the foundation’s annual fundraiser, he auctioned off his chef's coat and apron for $2,000 and three waffle cooking classes for $6,000, donated $9,000 for a table for 10 persons, and made a personal donation of $1,100.  He and his team support and participate in many area charitable fundraisers, including the No Kids Go Hungry event, donating funds and providing food, staff volunteers and publicity.  The team co-sponsors soccer and baseball team for kids on Capitol Hill, make annual donations to DC Firefighters and DC Police, support the Logan Circle Charity and the Studio Theater, and have donated significantly to the Water.org Foundation, which facilitates water projects for African communities.
 

DogTag Bakery Inc.
Dog Tag Bakery’s mission is to serve those who have served our nation as they transition into civilian careers.  Part of the Veteran Education Program, Dog Tag offers a business and entrepreneurship fellowship that prepares service-disabled veterans, spouses and caregivers to reenter the workforce.  The innovative five-month program enables participants to learn key skills and explore a wide range of civilian careers.  They then apply those learnings in a real small business, where they gain first-hand experience in operations, staff management, customer service, marketing, and more.  Dog Tag also supports military small businesses, using and selling products like barbecue, coffee, chocolates and hot sauce produced by local veteran and active-duty entrepreneurs.  Excess produce and other items are donated to two local homeless shelters.  In operation for three years, DogTag is on course to turn a profit, with proceeds targeted to help fund veteran education programs.
 

WISCONSIN


Cousins Subs
At its core, Cousins Subs is local at heart, and each of its restaurants is committed to treating everyone like family.  With that in mind, Cousins established a nonprofit charitable organization, the Make It Better Foundation, which works to improve the communities’ overall wellbeing by focusing on three areas of interest:  youth education, hunger and health & wellness.  By giving quarterly grants to hyperlocal nonprofits, the foundation helps reach people in the most underserved segments of the community.  The foundation also hosts statewide marketing campaigns for causes that have the greatest impact on issues such as hunger, cancer and education.  Since 2013, the foundation has issued approximately $250,000 grants to 50 nonprofits.  To combat hunger, Cousins also donates emergency food supplies to Hunger Task Force and 40 pantries statewide, and supports Block Out Hunger, donating nearly $30,000 and over 10,000 pounds of food since 2015.
 

Great Dane Pub & Brewing Co.
Before Eliot Butler founded the Great Dane Pub & Brewing Company in 1994, he had planned to use his training in education and psychology to work with children.  While his plans changed, his altruistic nature did not.  He realized his business had the potential to do amazing things in the community, and he used this ideal to form his company’s values and culture.  Great Dane has created goodwill through donations and sponsorships of over $100,000 annually to support youth-related nonprofit organizations, literacy campaigns, domestic abuse prevention groups and children’s theater.  This is in addition to the vast amount of gift certificates, beer and food donated to area groups and schools.  Great Dane’s highest profile and most beloved event is the annual Adopt-A-Family program.  Each holiday season, through guest donations, staff fundraising and a corporate match, Great Dane buys and delivers over $25,000 worth of Christmas presents to in-need families.
 

Kavanaugh’s Esquire Club
Owner John Kavanaugh and his team at the Esquire Club are longtime members of the Madison Northside Business Association and play key roles in the association’s charitable activities.  One of the NBA’s most important annual events is their Pancake Breakfast.  Held the first Saturday in December, the event serves hearty breakfast favorites, and children enjoy a visit with Santa and receive a goodie bag from Santa’s helper.  The event has increased in size and scope over the past 15 years, growing from about 300 guests at the first breakfast to close to 800 guests today.  The Pancake Breakfast typically raises about $6,000 each year for food pantries on Madison’s northside, and another $4,000 is raised at a similar Easter event featuring a visit from the Easter Bunny.  Kavanaugh’s also donates hams at Easter and turkeys at Thanksgiving to community members in need who are identified by local churches, nonprofits organizations and food pantries.
 

The 75th Street Inn
The 75th Street Inn team is well known locally for its stewardship.  They help enrich their community by promoting a healthy lifestyle and providing a safe gathering place for their neighbors through their involvement in the development of local mountain bike trails and a composite mountain bike team for local kids.  Serving as the primary steward for the trail, they host biking events and riding clinics for youth and women’s groups,provide in-kind donations to sustain the bike team and the trail, and actively work to maintain the safety and sustainability of the trail.  The team volunteered over 1,000 hours in 2017 to the project and are excited by the opportunity to give back to their community.  The trail system is having a positive economic impact on local businesses, and the focus on participating in healthy team activities is creating a new energy across the community.
 

Shellattes
For 14 years, as chairperson for a March of Dimes fundraiser, Shelly Baeten was the one asking for help.  When she opened her restaurant, Shellattes, she determined that her team would have the pleasure of answering the call of those in need.  For seven years, they have assisted a wide variety of nonprofit organizations and fundraisers, responding with in-kind and monetary donations, as well as lots of time, energy and enthusiasm.  Shellattes supports national charities like Habitat for Humanity, Boys & Girls Club, Boys & Girls Brigade and Children's Hospital, as well as smaller local efforts for schools, sporting teams and in-need individuals.  They partner with St. Paul Lutheran Church four or five times a year to deliver as many as 85 multiple-course meals to neighbors in need.  As a Girls on the Run sponsor, they raise funds by selling cookbooks, donating coffee and treats for training days, and supplying hot chocolate at the run.