Chautauqua Striders, Darden Restaurants partner

JAMESTOWN – “Dedicated to the mentoring and guidance of youth through education, advocacy and athletics,” Chautauqua Striders announced it has been selected to receive a $1,000 grant as part of the Restaurant Community Grants program from the Darden Restaurants Foundation, Inc., the charitable arm of Darden Restaurants. The grants program, now in its third year, empowers each restaurant in the Darden family of brands to help award a $1,000 grant to support local community programs. The donation will help support Chautauqua Striders Lighted Schoolhouse tutoring for all high school students throughout Chautauqua County. Flexible hours and nearly one-on-one academic assistance with highly-qualified, friendly, and experienced tutors makes LSH ideal for students at both ends of the academic spectrum. In addition to helping with daily homework assignments and studying for examinations in specific subjects, New York State Regents exam review is also provided. PSAT and SAT preparation courses are available in the fall and spring for any college bound student, and tutors are available to support other college and career entrance exams including JCC, JBC, ASVAB, and GED.

The Lighted Schoolhouse is currently open to all area high school students three days a week (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday) from 3:15 to 5:30 p.m., and two days a week (Tuesday and Thursday) from 6 to 8 p.m.

Darden’s Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V’s and Yard House brands participated in the program. Many restaurants and brands worked together to award one nonprofit organization with a larger grant and make a greater impact in their community. Nonprofits receiving grants support one of Darden’s three key focus areas: education, preservation of natural resources and hunger relief.

“This grant from the Darden Restaurants Foundation will allow us to continue providing local students an opportunity to receive needed homework help and test preparation during a difficult year of funding,” said Ben Lindquist, executive director of Chautauqua Striders.

“We strive to make a positive impact in all the communities our restaurants serve,” said Gene Lee, Darden’s president and chief operating officer. “Our employees are incredibly passionate about getting directly involved in their local communities, and our Restaurant Community Grants program enables each of our restaurant teams to make a difference right in their own backyard.”

For more information about the Darden Foundation, please visit www.dardenfoundation.com. For additional information on Chautauqua Striders please visit www.chautauqua-strider.org or call 716-488-2203.

About Chautauqua Striders

Originally founded in 1979 as a local track club, Chautauqua Striders has since developed into a multifaceted community organization, proudly offering diversified programs that incorporate its mission to “Mentor and guide youth through education, advocacy and athletics.” The not-for-profit agency, based in Jamestown, provides tutoring, mentoring outreach and athletic programs to more than 1,800 Chautauqua County youth annually. The goal of Chautauqua Striders is to help youth graduate high school inspired with the knowledge, skill, and confidence required for successful college and career experiences.

About Darden Restaurants

Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI), owns and operates more than 2,100 restaurants that generate over $8.5 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Orlando, Fla., and employing more than 200,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people. In 2014, Darden was named to the FORTUNE “100 Best Companies to Work For” list for the fourth year in a row. Our restaurant brands – Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V’s and Yard House – reflect the rich diversity of those who dine with us. Our brands are built on deep insights into what our guests want. For more information, please visit www.darden.com.

The Darden Foundation

The Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation is the charitable arm of Darden Restaurants, Inc. The Darden Foundation’s mission is to maintain a spirit of service and community engagement as defining characteristics of Darden’s family of restaurants – Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V’s and Yard House. Since 1995, the Darden Foundation has awarded more than $71 million in grants to leading nonprofit organizations that align with its mission and community priorities: Recipe for Success, Preservation of Natural Resources and Good Neighbor grants. Through the Darden Harvest program, Darden Restaurants has also donated more than 66 million pounds of food to hunger relief agencies across the U.S. and Canada. In 2011, the Darden Foundation introduced the Restaurant Community Grants program that is dedicated to supporting local nonprofit organizations in the hundreds of communities where we live and serve. For more information, visit www.dardenfoundation.com.