Even before the Christmas holiday, California Pizza Kitchen announced its national partnership with the Make-A-Wish and the Round It Up America program has raised nearly $250,000 since August. The campaign, which is available at CPK’s nearly 200 restaurants across the country, gives guests the opportunity to round up their bills to the nearest dollar or enter a specific donation amount to help support Make-A-Wish when paying with a credit card. In just the first few months of the program, which started in August, CPK guests nationwide have helped to raise nearly $250,000 to help grant wishes for children with life-threatening illnesses.

“I am a member of the national Make-A-Wish board, and my wife Heather serves on the local board in Orange County, California, so it goes without saying that the organization and its cause are deeply important to my family and me, as well as to the thousands of CPK employees across the country who regularly contribute their time in support of its incredible mission,” says G.J. Hart, CEO of California Pizza Kitchen. “We look forward to increasing our total funds raised for this campaign over the holiday shopping season when foot traffic to our restaurants is at its highest.”

Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength, and joy. CPK is passionate about philanthropy and positively impacting the lives of its community members. Each year, employees from the local restaurants to the home office in Los Angeles participate in dozens of fundraisers and community service projects to give back. To support Make-A-Wish, CPK employees regularly join in community Walk for Wishes events nationwide, host “wish reveal” celebrations for children and their families, and participate in other community events in partnership with local Make-A-Wish chapters. The formal, national partnership with Make-A-Wish and Round It Up America harnesses the generosity of CPK’s dedicated guests to help make an even bigger impact. The dollars raised from this program will be distributed locally, supporting Make-A-Wish chapters in each restaurant’s backyard.

“California Pizza Kitchen has been a longtime supporter of our local Make-A-Wish chapters, and we are honored to take this relationship to the next level through the Round It Up America program available at restaurants nationwide,” says David Williams, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish America. “With the holiday giving season in full swing, we hope people will stop by a participating CPK restaurant for a delicious meal and round up their bill to the nearest dollar. Every penny helps make more life-changing wishes possible.”

In addition to Make-A-Wish, CPK will donate a small percentage of the funds raised via the Round It Up America program to support ProStart, a nationwide two-year high school program that aims to develop the best and brightest talent in tomorrow’s restaurant and food service leaders. ProStart gives young people the opportunity to learn about the art of cooking and managing restaurants by training with professional chefs and getting valuable classroom instruction.


Industry News, Philanthropy