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Junior Achievement partners with Darden Restaurants

Junior Achievement of the Brainerd Lakes Area is partnering with Darden Restraurants to advance financial literacy, entrepreneurial thinking and college and career readiness.

Junior Achievement was 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 enable Junior Achievement’s (JAUM) project to target programs for local kindergarten through 12th-grade students, with a particular focus on students at-risk or living in poverty. Junior Achievement’s programs help students make informed, intelligent decisions about their future. The JAUM project seeks to motivate youth to value education and to be thoughtfully engaged citizens who contribute positively to their local communities.

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.

“With this grant, we are excited to be able to expand our curriculum offerings to more classrooms so that we can impact more local students,” said Jessica Gangl, district manager of Junior Achievement of the Brainerd Lakes Area.

“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 For additional information on Junior Achievement please visit

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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