UNCF Announces Panda Cares Scholarship Winners
More than $10 million awarded to 350 deserving college students
Today, UNCF and the Panda Cares Foundation®, the philanthropic arm of Panda Express®, announced the winners of the 2020 Panda Cares Scholars Program, a three-year renewable scholarship and professional development program. Students from colleges and universities across the nation, representing 32 states and the District of Columbia, are directly funded by Panda Express guests through the in-store donation program. Students selected for the Panda Cares Scholars Program are eligible to receive renewable scholarships up to $3,500, $5,000 and $7,000 in support of their college sophomore, junior and senior years of college, respectively, to help offset the costs of their college education. The 2020 Panda Cares Scholars include 350 students in underserved communities selected based on their academic achievement, strong leadership skills and their commitment to community service.
In 2018, Panda Cares Foundation partnered with UNCF to develop the Panda Cares UNCF Scholars Program, which currently administers renewable scholarships up to $2,500 to 400 students. In addition to education expenses support, the students in the program receive professional development opportunities intended to prepare them for early career success.
“Increases in college tuition can leave students with overwhelming student loan debt or can deter students from completing their education, despite their willingness to do so,” said Dr. Michael Lomax, president and CEO, UNCF. “Our partnership with the Panda Cares Foundation is helping overcome obstacles for many students who would otherwise face major hardships earning their college degrees—especially in light of the current health pandemic. We’re very thankful for the foundation’s generous contributions which have enabled UNCF to expand this program and give many more students the finances and tools they need to excel and succeed.”
The partnership has expanded to include two additional programs: The Panda Cares First-Year Scholars Program and the Panda Cares Scholars Program—both designed to provide students with financial assistance and the necessary tools to adequately prepare them for leadership in the 21st century workforce. The scholarship program accepts students from various majors including Engineering, Computer Science and Public Health.
“We would like to congratulate this year’s well-deserved scholarship winners of the Panda Cares Scholars Program,” said Dr. Peggy Cherng, Co-founder and Co-CEO of Panda Express. “At Panda, serving others is our business, whether it’s in our restaurant or out in our local communities, and this scholarship was created with UNCF to support those who demonstrate the same commitment. Together, these leaders of the future will undoubtedly make a big impact on the communities they touch and uplift our society as a whole.”
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 other 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% 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 UNCF.org, or for continuous updates and news, follow UNCF on Twitter at @UNCF.
About Panda Express®
On a mission to inspire better lives, Panda Express® 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 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 2,200 locations and has introduced American Chinese cuisine to twelve international countries. Powered by this global family of associates, Panda Cares®, Panda’s philanthropic arm, has raised more than $216 million and dedicated countless volunteer hours in bettering the health and education for over 12 million youths, as well as supporting communities in need since 1999. In 2020, the organization 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. For more information about Panda, visit pandaexpress.com, or find us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.