Darden Gives Back to the Community
During Annual General Manager/
Managing Partner Conferences
The Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation works to bring to life a spirit of service
through its philanthropic support of charitable organizations across the country
as well as the involvement of Darden Restaurants' 200,000 employees. We strive to
have an enduring and positive influence on the communities where we live and work.
Darden Restaurants' employees live this spirit of service every day by tirelessly
giving of their time, talent and financial resources to support local communities
they serve. Here are just a few examples of the programs Darden Restaurants' employees
Educational Gift Matching
Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation’s Educational Gift Matching Program is a part
of Darden’s commitment to enhance the quality of life in those communities in which
its employees and retirees live and work. The program serves to augment the contributions
participants make to eligible educational institutions of their choice. Together,
the Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation and Darden employees have contributed more
than $2.8 million to education-related organizations across the U.S. since 1995.
One of Darden’s key goals is to enhance the quality of life and make a meaningful
difference in the communities where it does business through corporate and individual
community service. Darden’s Paid Time for Community Service program supports and
encourages employees at the Restaurant Support Center in Orlando to contribute their
skills and talents to local charities (while also providing personal fulfillment
and professional development for these employees). Darden's 200,000 employees
in its restaurants throughout the country also volunteer countless hours in the
communities they serve each and every day.
One of the many ways Darden lives up to its Core Value of "Being of Service"
is through its contributions to the Heart of Florida United Way, Central Florida’s
largest provider of funds to the region’s most critical health and human service
programs. Heart of Florida United Way impacts more people annually than any other
charity operating in our area. It partners with government, other charities, individuals
and local businesses, such as Darden, to increase awareness of local health and
human service issues and to inspire hope, provide options and create possibilities
for the people in our community. Annually each fall, Darden conducts a United Way
campaign to benefit Heart of Florida United Way and its member agencies. Since 1998,
Darden and its employees have contributed almost $7.2 million through the campaign
to organizations served by the Heart of Florida United Way.
Darden Recognized for Outstanding Giving Efforts
to United Way
United Arts of Central Florida is a dynamic collaboration of 140 businesses, eight
governments and school districts, 26 foundations, more than 30 arts and cultural
organizations, and 3,165 artists and individuals. This partnership works to enhance
the quality and variety of cultural experiences available throughout Lake, Orange,
Osceola and Seminole counties in Central Florida. Since its inception in 1989, United
Arts has invested more than $107 million in local cultural organizations and cultural
education. Donors’ dollars provide more than 2 million cultural experiences, including
609,000 for children. United Arts envisions a diverse, well-attended, fiscally sound
arts and cultural community that serves residents and visitors to the Central Florida
region. For 16 years, Darden has supported the important mission and programs of
United Arts of Central Florida through its annual Workplace Giving Campaign.
The campaign impacts arts and culture in Central Florida – both monetarily
by raising awareness and community responsibility. Every dollar donated
by Darden employees is matched dollar-for-dollar by the Darden Foundation, further
ensuring quality cultural experiences throughout Central Florida. Since 1995, Darden
employees generously donated $1,036,485, which the Foundation has matched, for a
total of $2,072,970.
Through Darden's partnership with Food Donation Connection, Darden’s 2,100 restaurants
are able to donate surplus food to local food banks, Feeding America and other worthy
charitable organizations throughout the country. Food Donation Connection provides
an alternative to discarding surplus wholesome food by linking food service donors
with surplus food
to local hunger relief agencies.
Given the growing need for hunger relief, food banks, governments and restaurant
operators are rethinking those existing systems and trying to find a better way
to redirect excess prepared food to hungry people rather than landfills. Since its
inception, the Darden Harvest Program has distributed more than 60 million pounds
Established in 1999, Darden Dimes is a source of short-term, emergency assistance
for employees facing personal hardships. Participating employees pledge at least
10 cents from each weekly paycheck to the fund, raising more than $1.5 million annually.
Darden Dimes illustrates Darden’s culture of respect and caring by fulfilling our
employees' desire to help co-workers in need. On average, 5–10 employees receive
a grant from Darden Dimes every day
to help them get back on their feet
after an unexpected emergency.