Panda Express Philanthropic Arm, Panda Cares Foundation, Expands Scholarship Programs with UNCF for Deserving College Students

Scholarships cover gaps in funding higher education


Panda Express®, through its philanthropic arm Panda Cares Foundation and UNCF, announce the expansion of the Panda Cares Scholars Programs to provide more than 600 low-income students with scholarship assistance to cover the unmet costs of college tuition, fees and room and board.

The multi-year expansion, like the existing Panda Cares UNCF Scholars Program, seeks to ease the financial challenges college-going students often face and will be delivered through two new scholarship programs:

  1. Panda Cares First Year Scholars Program: provides a one-time scholarship of up to $2,500 to rising college freshmen to support their first year of post-secondary education; and
  2. Panda Cares Scholars Program: provides up to three years of renewable annual scholarships up to $3,500, $5,000 and $7,000 to college sophomores, juniors and seniors, respectively. The program also provides professional development opportunities designed to enhance leadership skills, instill a commitment to community service and prepare scholars for early career success.   

“At Panda Restaurant Group, giving is one of our core values. Giving educational resources to students from communities in which we operate allows us to continue to make a difference in the lives of underserved youth who need it the most,” states Dr. Peggy Cherng, co-chair and co-CEO, Panda Restaurant Group. “Since our initial collaboration with UNCF in 2018, we have empowered 400 students with practical tools and information to help navigate their first and second years of college. We applaud their successful matriculation to junior year and know their continued academic achievement will serve to inspire other students. Positive results and impact like this matter. Today, in these unprecedented times, we are committed to helping even more students succeed—from their freshman through senior year—without the worry of how they will cover gaps in financing their education and armed with even greater tools for success.”

“It’s no surprise that paying for a higher education is a challenge for most college students—especially those from low-income communities or those who have experienced inequitable circumstances,” comments Dr. Michael L. Lomax, UNCF president and CEO. “Those challenges have been exacerbated in light of the world’s current condition and students’ needs are greater than ever. Even with scholarships and financial aid, many students are still unable to finance their education. Because of partnerships such as this with Panda Cares Foundation, UNCF can continue to financially support college education for hundreds of students—and through our student enrichment programs—adequately prepare the next generation of global leaders.”

Beyond financial support, students eligible for renewable scholarships are also provided transformational leadership training and enrichment resources, including peer-to-peer learning, internship opportunities, webinars and additional online tools.

To learn more about the Panda Cares Scholars Program, visit and


About UNCF
UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and programs, strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding nearly 20 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at more than 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® Learn more at, or for continuous updates and news follow UNCF on Twitter at @UNCF.

About Panda Express, Panda Cares Foundation and Panda Cares Scholars Program
On a mission to inspire better lives, Panda Express, home of American Chinese comfort food, is the largest Asian dining concept in the U.S. Family-owned and operated since 1983 by co-founders and co-CEOs Andrew and Peggy Cherng, Panda Express is best known 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, including the Wok Smart
® selections, is thoughtfully crafted with quality ingredients and inspired by bold Chinese flavors and culinary principles. The restaurant brand has more than 2,200 locations throughout the U.S. and has introduced American Chinese cuisine to more than ten international countries. For more information, visit, or find us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Established in 1999, Panda Cares Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Panda Express On a mission to inspire better lives, Panda Cares Foundation is committed to serving the communities in which it operates by providing food, funding of health and education programs, and volunteer services to underserved youth, and disaster relief efforts. The Panda Cares Foundation is powered by its global family of associates and guests through its in-store donation box fundraising program. 

Panda Cares believes all youth deserve an opportunity to succeed, regardless of their family’s socioeconomic status. In 2020, Panda established the Panda Cares Scholars Program to provide the necessary funding, academic support, and leadership development to help high school and college students learn, lead and thrive towards a bright future. Scholarships awarded through the Panda Cares Foundation are administered with the support of UNCF For more information, visit, or find us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.