In 2002 a handful of Chili’s Grill & Bar restaurants in Memphis, Tenn. put their big passion for giving back behind what seemed like a small idea at the time – raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. With only crayons and chili-pepper shaped coloring sheets as a way for guests to donate, the team members hoped to raise a few hundred dollars. More than $14,000 later, they realized they were on to something big. Now what began as a seven-restaurant fundraiser has become a national fundraising campaign, taking place at more than 1,200 Chili’s every September as part of National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
This year marks the tenth anniversary of the partnership between Chili’s and St. Jude, which is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other deadly diseases. Thanks to the relentless support of guests and team members, Chili’s has raised $46 million to date and is on track to reach or exceed the brand’s extraordinary commitment of donating $50 million to the hospital in 10 years – the largest donation from a single-partner campaign in St. Jude history. These critical funds will help ensure that no family ever receives a bill from St. Jude.
In celebration of the 10-year milestone and to encourage new guests to give back to the cause through their local restaurant, Chili’s is putting a fresh spin on the campaign’s name. Formerly known as “Create-A-Pepper,” Chili’s More Hope Campaign for St. Jude extends the brand’s current anthem of sharing moments of More Life Happens HereSM with family and friends beyond the table and into the community.
“The dedication and passion of our guests and team members over the years has brought a great sense of hope to the patients and families of St. Jude, and this hope only gets stronger with each year of the campaign,” said Wyman Roberts, CEO and president of Brinker International and president of Chili’s Grill & Bar. “Whether it’s team members proudly displaying their intricately-designed campaign T-shirts, parents of a St. Jude patient letting their inner child come out by decorating a signature chili-pepper shaped coloring sheet, or guests sharing how they gave back with their social network, these are the special moments that – no matter what the name – the Chili’s and St. Jude partnership is all about.”
Now through Sept. 25, guests at participating Chili’s restaurants nationwide and in Puerto Rico can help in the fight against childhood cancer and other deadly diseases by donating at their local restaurant. With some favorite campaign traditions, like slap bands, and new components, such as a feature dessert, participating in the More Hope Campaign is as easy as spelling C-H-I-L-I-S:
- Color the brand’s signature chili-pepper shaped coloring sheet for a donation of the guest’s choice.
- Hashtag #MoreHope on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest posts to engage with the brand online and show your support for St. Jude.
- Indulge the tastebuds with Chili’s new feature dessert, Chocolate Peanut Butter Molten topped with Reese’s® Peanut Butter Cup pieces. This marks the first year Chili’s has designated a menu item for the campaign with 30 cents from every feature dessert ordered going directly to St. Jude.
- Look the part by purchasing a ready-to-color T-shirt featuring the More Hope Campaign logo for $12*.
- Invite family and friends to dine at Chili’s Monday, Sept. 23 on Donate Profits Day, when 100 percent of net profits from participating restaurants nationwide will go to St. Jude.
- Snap a MORE HOPE slap band on the wrist to show support for St. Jude. Slap bands can be purchased in-restaurant for $4*.
*62 percent of the purchase price of each T-shirt and 70 percent of the purchase price of each Slap Band sold will be donated to St. Jude.
“This year, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Chili’s Grill & Bar celebrate a great milestone – the fulfillment of a 10-year commitment to raise $50 million to help further the research and treatment of deadly childhood diseases,” said Richard Shadyac Jr., CEO of ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. “Chili’s continues to be an incredible partner raising invaluable awareness and funds for our mission. We look forward to this year’s campaign and honor their efforts by continuing to do everything possible to end childhood cancer and other deadly diseases.”