To qualify, organisations must be 501(c)(3) nonprofits serving youths aged 10-18 – either planning to start a new programme or expanding an existing one focused on college readiness, skills building, workforce or leadership development, or mentoring.
Grant applicants will have the choice to apply for a grant amount between $25,000 and $150,000 – to be awarded in early 2023.
The grant application closes on 14 November, and non-profits can apply through the Foundation’s website.
The standouts in 2022
The Foundations 2022 grant partners predominately serve high school and middle school students, aimed to help youths stay in school, graduate high school, attend a post-secondary school or find a long-term career path.
The middle school programmes are focused on strengthening learning skills, enhancing hard and soft skills, and helping children build healthy relationships with trusted adults through mentorship. Other programmes serve students by specialising in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and STEAM (as per STEM plus the arts – humanities, language arts, dance, drama, music, visual arts, design and new media).
“In our inaugural year, we were able to award 17 grants, and we’re excited for this number to grow, thanks in part to the generosity of our guests who round up their Panera orders to support the Give Change for Children programme,” said Debbie Roberts, Foundation Board president, and EVP & COO of Panera Bread.
Dare to dream
The Panera Bread Foundation was formed to work towards a world in which young people can dare to dream – where opportunity and economic mobility are accessible to all.
The Foundation’s mission has to-date received more than $1m from the Give Change for Children round-up initiative launched in February.
Hosted by Panera-owned bakery-cafes, guests are given the opportunity to round-up their total check to help children and youth in the company’s local communities. Give Change for Children is available instore at the register, at the drive-thru and kiosk, and through ordering on the producer’s mobile app.
Panera Bread – today one of the largest fast casual restaurant companies in the US – opened in 1987 as a community bakery, founded with a secret sourdough starter and a belief that sharing great bread is an expression of warmth and generosity. That vision holds true for its entire menu of chef-curated recipes, all freshly prepared with clean ingredients, including responsibly-raised proteins and no artificial preservatives, sweeteners, flavours or colour.
The company currently has 2,116 bakery-cafes (company-owned and franchise) in 48 US states and Canada, operating under the Panera Bread or Saint Louis Bread Co. brands.
It also prides itself and its US bakery-café owners as being stewards of their communities and the planet, with initiatives like Day-End Dough-Nation, which donates unsold baked goods to local non-profits, or labelling climate-friendly low carbon Cool Food Meals.