Hooters, with the generous support of its restaurant staff teams and guests during the annual “Give a Hoot” fundraising campaign in October, successfully raised $786,000 in support of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, bringing the grand total to an impressive $9.4 million. The efforts culminated in a presentation of funds to the V Foundation for Cancer Research during the 2023 Men’s Jimmy V Basketball Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Dec. 5.
For over nine years, the annual Give A Hoot campaign has directly benefitted the V Foundation for Cancer Research, one of the nation’s leading cancer research funding organizations, as well as other local beneficiaries through the Kelly Jo Dowd Breast Cancer Research Fund. Part of the Hooters Community Endowment Fund (HOO.C.E.F.), the Kelly Jo Dowd Breast Cancer Research Fund was established in honor of the late Kelly Jo Dowd, an original Hooters Girl and the 1995 Hooters Calendar Cover Girl.
“The tremendous amount of money raised and donated by Hooters will support vital research efforts and contribute to our quest for a cure,” says Shane Jacobson, CEO of the V Foundation. “The strength and bravery of women affected by breast cancer inspires us every day, and we are committed to fighting alongside them.”
This year more than 297,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S., and one in eight women will be diagnosed with the disease at some point in their lifetime. With nearly 10,000 Hooters Girls worldwide and a workforce made up of 70% women, Hooters takes raising awareness and funds for breast cancer personally.
“At Hooters, we understand the far-reaching impact of cancer on individuals and families,” adds Bruce Skala, Hooters chief marketing officer. “Our commitment to the fight against cancer goes beyond our restaurant walls, and we are proud to have our customers stand with us in creating meaningful change. We look forward to continuing our fundraising efforts with the V Foundation for Cancer Research for many years to come.”
During this year’s fundraising campaign, Hooters guests proudly contributed to the cause by adding their name to a personalized endowment card, attending a local fundraising event at Hooters, enjoying one of several limited-edition “pink drinks” with proceeds benefiting the campaign or “pinking up” their check during a visit to Hooters.
Consumers can still support the cause with Hooters 2024 Calendars available for the holidays. For every 2024 Hooters Calendar purchased, Hooters donates $1 toward the Give A Hoot fundraising effort.
Inspired by Hooters’ very own Kelly Jo Dowd, who lost her battle with breast cancer in 2007, Hooters Girls have now raised $9.4 million over the years to support breast cancer research, much of it through the grant in Kelly Jo’s name to the V Foundation for Cancer Research. These grants have helped fund a range of cancer research from therapeutic discovery to personalized cancer treatment to identifying stage-specific metastasis characteristics. The annual fundraising effort honors Kelly Jo and advances her mission to educate all women, especially her 500,000 sisters consisting of current and former Hooters Girls, about the importance of early detection and prevention. Throughout her struggle, Kelly Jo was courageous and selfless, becoming an advocate for early detection, education and fundraising.
The V Foundation for Cancer Research was founded in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, legendary North Carolina State University basketball coach and ESPN commentator. The V Foundation has funded more than $310 million in game-changing cancer research grants nationwide through a competitive process strictly supervised by a world-class Scientific Advisory Committee. Because the V Foundation has an endowment to cover administrative expenses, 100% of direct donations are awarded to cancer research and programs.