Billionaire Panda Express Founder Claims Philanthropy Is The Key To Her Success

In 1967, Peggy Cherng moved from Hong Kong to the United States to attend Baker University. Sixteen years later, she and her husband Andrew opened the first Panda Express restaurant in Los Angeles. Cherng has his doctorate. in engineering and used his knowledge to streamline Panda Express operations using a computer (uncommon in the 1980s) to track inventory and place orders. Today, there are more than 2,000 Panda Expresses worldwide, and Peggy and Andrew Cherng have a net worth of $ 3.1 billion. However, Peggy says it is his family’s commitment and Panda Express’s commitment to charity that make it a real success. Next to the cash register of each Panda Express is a small box called “Panda Cares”. Panda Cares is the charitable arm of the company.

Peggy and Andrew moved to the United States to get a better education and a better life. Since the start of Panda Express, the Cherngs have instilled the fundamental value of putting people first in their restaurants. Panda Cares officially started in 1999. Customers can drop donations in restaurant boxes or donate online. By June 2020, Panda Cares had raised more than $ 212 million for the health and education of children in underserved communities and for disaster relief. Panda Cares supports the Boys and Girls Club, the Centers of Hope and coronavirus relief. Panda Cares has also partnered with the United Negro College Fund to establish the Panda Cares Scholars program. Panda Express recently donated an additional $ 12.6 million in scholarships to the UNCF and the Jackie Robinson Foundation to create scholarships for low-income black students.

JIM WATSON / AFP via Getty Images

Peggy focuses on health and education with her personal and professional charitable giving, as these are two of the most important things in life. Education creates opportunities. A healthy mind, body and spirit are essential. The Cherngs want families in underserved areas to be able to reach their full potential. In the event of a disaster, Panda Cares is well equipped to change direction. When the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States, the company created the COVID-19 Community Care Fund. The company donated $ 2.25 million to Feeding America and the Boys and Girls Club, as well as more than five million pieces of personal protective equipment to hospitals.

Peggy and Andrew believe that we need to lead by example. They believe there is power to give. They strive to instill in their employees a spirit of giving back to their communities.

In 1983, Peggy and Andrew Cherng opened the first Panda Express restaurant. Today, they have 40,000 employees.

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