Chili's Grill & Bar announced the start of its annual Create-A-Pepper campaign benefiting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital with a six-year, $30-million commitment to enhance the work of The St. Jude School Program for patients. To commemorate this milestone, the St. Jude School Program will be named in honor of Chili's. This year marks the brand's 14th year partnered with St. Jude and second multi-year commitment to support its mission of Finding cures. Saving children.

"Year after year, we've seen our team members and guests rally to support St. Jude Children's Research Hospital—helping make a tremendous impact. To date, we are extremely proud to have raised more than $58 million for patients and families," says Kelli Valade, president of Chili's Grill & Bar. "I'm so honored to be a part of a brand whose sole purpose is to connect, serve and give. Our new commitment to St. Jude is another example of how we're living out our purpose and supporting a cause so near and dear to our hearts."

The new commitment means team members and guests can support the work of St. Jude to treat the whole child by helping to meet the educational needs of their patients. The St. Jude School Program gives patients a way to focus on the future and keep up with schoolwork during their stay at the hospital—whether staying for a few months or years. For children who are put into an unfamiliar hospital environment, school provides a regular routine, feeling of control and sense of normalcy.

"Chili's is a model for companies who go above and beyond to make a difference in the lives of others, and we are profoundly grateful to their leaders, team members and guests for their long-standing, unwavering dedication to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital," says Richard Shadyac Jr., president and CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. "Chili's has raised an incredible $58 million for St. Jude to help save the lives of children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases over the past 14 years, and this generous new commitment to enhance the St. Jude School Program at St. Jude will enable our patients to continue learning while here in treatment, which is critical to their quality of life at St. Jude and at home."

How the partnership between Chili's and St. Jude Began:

Fourteen years ago, a local, grassroots fundraising effort by seven Memphis-area Chili's restaurants was launched.

By 2004, support of St. Jude and its mission grew into a national partnership with the Chili's Create-A-Pepper campaign.

In 2006, Chili's committed to raising $50 million over a 10-year period — one of the largest single partner donations in the history of the hospital — to build the state-of-the-art Chili's Care Center.

In 2014, Chili's team members and guests proudly achieved this goal (two years early);

Today, Chili's announced plans to raise $30 million over six years to further progress the St. Jude School Program and support the needs of the patients and families. Chili's also plans to proclaim September 21 as St. Jude Day at more than 1,300 participating restaurants in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, where Chili's will celebrate by giving a minimum of $100,000 donation and an upcoming naming ceremony for support of the school program.

From September 1—21, guests at participating Chili's restaurants can support lifesaving work at St. Jude by:

Decorating a pepper coloring sheet in restaurant for a donation and sharing on social media using the hashtag #CreateAPepper;

Adding a donation to their check using the tabletop tablet located on every restaurant table or through online to-go orders.

Purchasing a Create-A-Pepper T-shirt for $10 or promotional items such as a crazy straw or koozie for $1 when dining in restaurant.

Going to their local Chili's to celebrate St. Jude Day on Wednesday, September 21. On this day only, Chili's will donate at least $100,000 to St. Jude in celebration of the new commitment.

Today, Chili's partnership with St. Jude continues to grow based on the mutual goal of doing everything possible to end childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. It's because of partnerships like this that no family ever receives a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food – because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.

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