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Panda Express Partners with DonorsChoose to Bring Lunar New Year Celebrations to Classrooms Nationwide

The American Chinese Trailblazer will match all donations that fund teachers’ Lunar New Year projects, up to $100,000, to provide the resources needed to bring the rich history and traditions of the holiday to life

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The American Chinese Trailblazer will match all donations that fund teachers’ Lunar New Year projects, up to $100,000, to provide the resources needed to bring the rich history and traditions of the holiday to life

ROSEMEAD, Calif. /PRNewswire/ — Today, Panda Express®, the largest family-owned and operated Asian dining concept in the U.S., launches the first nationwide Lunar New Year Classroom Initiative in partnership with educational nonprofit DonorsChoose. Inspired by Panda’s free cultural curriculum “Let’s Explore!: Lunar New Year” for educators, the American Chinese restaurant brand and DonorsChoose have created a 2x donation match program to support teacher project requests dedicated to Lunar New Year celebrations on the DonorsChoose platform. Panda Express is pledging up to $100,000 to help teachers get their hands-on resources, kits and materials needed to bring lessons about the vibrant holiday to life for students. Starting December 13th, Panda invites everyone to visit the Panda Express x DonorsChoose Lunar New Year Classroom Initiative at DonorsChoose.org/pandaexpress, where they can donate directly to a classroom of their choice based on city, state and zip code.

“Lunar New Year is one of the most exciting times of the year in Asian culture, and every year, it presents an opportunity for us at Panda to create meaningful conversations around the holiday with our guests, associates, friends and families,” said Andrea Cherng, Chief Brand Officer at Panda Express. “Nearly fifteen years ago, Panda launched the ‘Lets Explore!: Lunar New Year’ curriculum to spark cultural curiosity in our local communities, and it’s grown to become such a valuable resource for educators all over the country. We’re thrilled to be partnering with DonorsChoose, inviting donors to help amplify this important initiative and foster cultural appreciation and inclusivity within our younger generations inside and outside the classroom.”

Studies* show that cultural awareness plays an important role in helping young children develop a positive sense of identity and builds self-esteem. By bringing Lunar New Year celebrations to classrooms nationwide, Panda Express and DonorsChoose are not only deepening multicultural education for today’s youth but also acknowledging the cultural significance of one of the world’s most celebrated holidays centered around universal values of community and togetherness. This partnership marks the first Lunar New Year Campaign in the history of DonorsChoose, and while the campaign is open to all teachers nationwide, special efforts will be made to target schools in Panda’s local communities and Equity Focus Schools, where the majority of students are Black, Latino, or Native American and where the majority of students come from low-income households.

“Teaching about Lunar New Year encourages our students to appreciate their own cultures or cultures that may be different from their own,” said Alix Guerrier, CEO of DonorsChoose. “Panda Express is providing educators with resources that make for a festive celebration of the Lunar New Year and for inspiring cultural learning in the classroom.”

First developed by Panda Express in 2008, the “Let’s Explore!: Lunar New Year” program removes common barriers to cultural learning by providing a simple and authentic way for educators to honor the unique traditions and stories of Lunar New Year in their classrooms. Panda’s “Let’s Explore!: Lunar New Year” program is a free interactive curriculum that any educator can sign up for at community.pandaexpress.com/lets-explore-lny. In 2022 alone, more than 3,140 teachers and nearly 300,000 students across 28 states participated in the program.

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Designed for in-classroom and distance learning for students grade Pre-K through 5th, the “Let’s Explore!: Lunar New Year” program features eight interactive activities that delve into the key components of Lunar New Year celebrations, including the origin of the holiday, the meaning behind lucky foods eaten during the 15-day long celebration, the symbolism of lucky red envelopes and red lanterns, and more. Special Lunar New Year activity booklets will be sent out to participating classrooms and youth serving organizations.

To learn more about how you can support the Panda Express x DonorsChoose Lunar New Year Classroom Initiative visit DonorsChoose.org/pandaexpress, and to sign up for Panda’s “Let’s Explore!: Lunar New Year” free interactive curriculum, visit community.pandaexpress.com/lets-explore-lny.

*Sources: Science DailyThe Early Childhood Team of Nebraska Extension

About Panda Express®
On a mission to inspire better lives, Panda Express® is the largest Asian dining concept in the US. Family-owned and operated since 1983 by Co-Founders and Co-CEOs Andrew and Peggy Cherng, Panda Express is best known as a trailblazer for creating a wide variety of industry-first recipes, including its best seller the Original Orange Chicken® and award-winning Honey Walnut Shrimp, which have defined the category of authentic American Chinese cuisine. Each dish at Panda Express is thoughtfully crafted with quality ingredients and inspired by bold Chinese flavors and culinary principles. The restaurant brand has more than 2,500 locations and has introduced American Chinese cuisine to 12 international countries.

Powered by a global family of associates, Panda Cares®, Panda’s philanthropic arm, has raised more than $282 million and has dedicated countless volunteer hours in bettering the health and education for over 13 million youth, as well as supporting communities in need since 1999. In 2021, Panda Express established the Panda CommUnity Fund — a five-year, $10 million community investment and response program that supports immediate and sustainable solutions from national and local organizations to uplift diverse groups, including people of color and other marginalized communities. For more information about Panda, visit pandaexpress.com, or find us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

About DonorsChoose
DonorsChoose is the leading way to give to public schools. Since 2000, 5.6 million people and partners have contributed $1.3 billion to support over 2 million teacher requests for classroom resources and experiences. As the most trusted crowdfunding platform for teachers, donors, and district administrators alike, DonorsChoose vets each request, ships the funded resources directly to the classroom, and provides thank yous and reporting to donors and school leaders. Charity Navigator and GuideStar have awarded DonorsChoose, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, their highest ratings for transparency and accountability. For more information, visit www.donorschoose.org.

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SOURCE Panda Express

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Activism

Claudia Bartra Teams Up With Fusion Academy to Promote Anti-Bullying Initiative

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Local entrepreneur and philanthropist teams up with Fusion’s three Florida campuses to stand up against bullying.

OCA RATON, Fla. (Newswire.com) – Businesswoman and philanthropist Claudia Bartra and Fusion Academy in Miami, Boca Raton, and Palm Beach Gardens are teaming up to prevent bullying in their schools and communities. 

“We’re excited to have Claudia on board,” said Christina Seamster, Ph.D., Area Head of School. “She is a great community partner and we’re thrilled to be teaming up with her for our zero-tolerance bullying initiative.”

Bartra is actively involved in the community, notably with La Granja, her successful chain of award-winning Peruvian restaurants. Her philanthropic contributions include her work with ASPIRA, a youth organization for Latin American children, providing scholarships to students attending Palm Beach State College, and being honored for her support of children’s education both in the United States and her home country of Peru. Bartra deeply values the power of education, and her collaboration with Fusion Academy is no exception. 

Founded in 1989 in Solana Beach, California, Fusion Academy has 80 campuses across the U.S., including three in Florida: Boca Raton, Miami, and its most recent addition in Palm Beach Gardens. With one-to-one classrooms and personalized instruction, Fusion Academy can center every student’s needs while providing opportunities to interact with other students. During “Homework Cafe” time, students can work on homework collaboratively, play games, and eat snacks together. A student’s five-hour day at the school is built for their needs and encourages them to be the full version of themselves. Fusion campuses operate between 7:30 A.M. and 7:30 P.M. which gives students flexible learning opportunities that best fit their schedules. 

Every Fusion Academy location ensures each student experiences both academic and social-emotional core learner outcomes: being resourceful, critical thinking, self-awareness, and inclusivity. 

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Claudia Bartra and Fusion Academy want to confront the nationwide problem of bullying and provide a resource for students where they can feel comfortable in addressing their concerns to their parents and teachers. Bullying not only affects the students who are being bullied, but also the school community as a whole. According to a 2019 report by the National Center for Educational Statistics, nearly 20% of students in the United States aged 12-18 reported being bullied at school.

Together, Bartra and Fusion Academy created actionable goals to prevent bullying in the school community and beyond:

  1. Making every parent a partner in their child’s education and socio-emotional development. 
  2. Providing holistic socio-emotional learning experiences. 
  3. Being proactive and positive (for both teachers and students).
  4. Provide safe spaces and teacher mentors for each student. 
  5. Encourage peers to come to a common resolution with openness and inquiry. 
  6. Inspire positive change to be a more reflective person.
    7. Identify individual biases and prejudices to become more self-aware and diffuse tense situations. 

Both Bartra and Seamster look forward to implementing the new initiative in 2023. Visit Fusion Academy for information, and to learn more about Claudia Bartra, go to www.claudiabartra.com

Source: Fusion Academy

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Community

Urban League of Portland is Recipient of OnPoint’s Membership Campaign

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OnPoint’s Refer a Friend campaigns have raised more than $296,250 for six non-profit organizations since 2018

PORTLAND, Ore. /PRNewswire/ — OnPoint Community Credit Union today kicked off its Refer a Friend non-profit campaign to benefit one of the region’s oldest civil rights and social service organizations.

OnPoint selected Urban League of Portland for the campaign that runs February 1 through March 31. Refer a Friend provides members with the opportunity to support local community organizations while introducing friends and family to OnPoint’s full range of financial services.

Urban League of Portland is recipient of OnPoint’s membership campaign

Founded in 1945, the Urban League of Portland invests in and provides programs for areas that affect the social and economic security of Black families in Oregon and SW Washington. Those include:

“Our programs have played a crucial role in improving the civil rights and social justice for Oregon and Southwest Washington’s Black community since our founding,” said Julia Delgado, Vice President, Urban League of Portland. “The support from OnPoint and its members will enable us to build upon our work and continue providing services and programs to help our region’s Black community achieve equality in education, employment, health, economic security and quality of life.”

$50 for referring members, $50 for new members, $50 for the Urban League

OnPoint’s Refer a Friend incentivizes OnPoint members year-round to recommend the credit union to their friends, family or business associates by giving $50 to both the new and referring member when an account is opened. At select times throughout the year, OnPoint donates an additional $50 to local non-profits for each new account opened through Refer a Friend.

“We must continue to come together to remove barriers and actively create opportunities for underrepresented communities,” said Jo Davis, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Program Manager, OnPoint Community Credit Union. “We are proud to build on our support of the Urban League of Portland through our Refer a Friend program and advance its critical work in our fight for racial equity in Oregon and Southwest Washington.”

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OnPoint’s last Refer a Friend campaign, held in September/October 2022, raised more than $33,850 for JoyRx | Children’s Cancer Association. Since the beginning of the Refer a Friend program in 2018, OnPoint has donated $296,250 to six organizations through eight different campaigns. OnPoint members who are interested in learning more can visit www.onpointcu.com/rates-rewards/refer-a-friend/, or stop by their local OnPoint branch.

In November 2022, OnPoint announced donations of $2.3 million to more than 377 non-profits in Oregon and Southwest Washington, with more than $695,000 pledged to organizations focused on diversity, equity and inclusion. Visit www.onpointcu.com/community-giving to learn more about OnPoint’s support of local organizations like the Urban League of Portland.

ABOUT ONPOINT COMMUNITY CREDIT UNION

OnPoint Community Credit Union is the largest credit union in Oregon, serving over 500,000 members and with assets of $9.1 billion. Founded in 1932, OnPoint Community Credit Union’s membership is available to anyone who lives or works in one of 28 Oregon counties (Benton, Clackamas, Clatsop, Columbia, Coos, Crook, Curry, Deschutes, Douglas, Gilliam, Hood River, Jackson, Jefferson, Josephine, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Morrow, Multnomah, Polk, Sherman, Tillamook, Wasco, Washington, Wheeler and Yamhill) and two Washington counties (Skamania and Clark) and their immediate family members. More information is available at www.onpointcu.com or 503-228-7077 or 800-527-3932.

ABOUT URBAN LEAGUE OF PORTLAND

Empowering Black communities in Oregon and Southwest Washington since 1945. Urban League is one of Oregon’s oldest civil rights and social service organizations, empowering African-Americans and others to achieve equality in education, employment, health, economic security and quality of life. We do this by investing in stable housing; through workforce development; community health; education and well-being; for our youth, adults and seniors. Our culturally specific programs and services, combined with our powerful advocacy and civic engagement, empowers Black communities to thrive across Oregon and SW Washington.

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SOURCE OnPoint Community Credit Union

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Business and Finance

FACE teams up with TD to launch the “Propelling Black Entrepreneurship Program” with 50 grants to support Black entrepreneurs

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he program will support Black business owners in the creation of critical business and financial documents to help improve access to financing

MONTREAL /CNW Telbec/ – The Federation of African Canadian Economics (FACE), a nonprofit organization offering the first-of-its-kind Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund has collaborated with TD Bank Group (TD) to deliver its new “Propelling Black Entrepreneurship Program” and offer 50 grants ranging from $2,500 to $5,000 to Black entrepreneurs across Canada. This program has been developed to support Black entrepreneurs in the creation of their business and financial documents, including business plans, financial statements, and tax filings to help improve access to financing

Participants in the program will receive training, tools, best practices, and mentorship opportunities related to managing and presenting financial documents and have access to FACE’s regional partners and corporate service providers, spanning leading financial and consulting firms. Business owners will also have the opportunity to partake in quarterly virtual and/or in-person sessions focused on preparing a strong business case for financing from lenders. The program has been designed to help Black business owners through the different stages of their entrepreneurial journey, so they can successfully access capital and scale their businesses.

FACE teams up with TD to provide 50 grants to support Black entrepreneurs

“There are many challenges for entrepreneurs as they pursue their business ventures, including navigating financial processes and paperwork. These challenges are accentuated for Black entrepreneurs who often also face bias in the financial system,” says Tiffany Callender, Chief Executive Officer of FACE. This program addresses some of these barriers by providing them with tools and advice so they can best manage and present their documents. Our sponsorship by TD helps support these applicants to be able to submit financially strong applications, thereby significantly increasing their chances of securing funding. Moreover, this program is open to all Black business owners interested in applying for loans, even if they have not worked with FACE before.”

“We are extremely proud to support “Propelling Black Entrepreneurship” through the TD Ready Commitment, the Bank’s corporate citizenship platform,” said Alicia Rose, Associate Vice President, Social Impact – Canada, TD Bank Group. “We know the value that entrepreneurs bring to our communities and to our local economies. Through these 50 grants, our aim is to help remove the barriers and potential bias that limit Black entrepreneurs from accessing financing to help fund their ambitions.” 

Since its inauguration in 2021, FACE has raised $160 million in capital, including $130 million from Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), and disbursed $21.7 million, cementing itself as a catalyst for Black generational wealth creation and empowering Black Canadian entrepreneurs.

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The Propelling Black Entrepreneurship program will launch in April 2023, the details for participating in this program will be available on FACE’s website at https://facecoalition.com/

About FACE

The Federation of African Canadian Economics is a coalition of Black-led organizations dedicated to stimulating economic growth and creating generational wealth for Canadians of African Descent. In 2021 FACE was launched to address the needs of Black business owners and entrepreneurs who were economically devastated during the pandemic.

SOURCE The Federation of African Canadian Economics

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