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National Restaurant Association - Pocket change campaign supports ProStart, scholarships

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Pocket change campaign supports ProStart, scholarships

Culinary and hospitality students will benefit from a restaurant chain's fundraising campaign for the second year in a row.

The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and the California Restaurant Association Educational Foundation each will receive $20,000 grants from Yard House Restaurants. The funds, from the Irvine, Calif.-based company's Round It Up America campaign, will support NRAEF and CRAEF scholarships and ProStart programs.

Last year, NRAEF and CRAEF each received $15,000 grantsfrom the campaign.

Yard House was able to expand the grants this year, thanks to increased generosity from guests. The campaign raised $320,000, which will go to 25 organizations, including NRAEF and CRAEF.

Representatives from the organizations, including NRAEF Executive Director Lynette McKee, will accept the donations in a Feb. 8 ceremony in Irvine, Calif.

Other beneficiaries of the campaign include Operation Homefront, which will receive $75,000 to provide emergency and morale assistance to soldiers, wounded warriors and families of deployed soldiers.

In the past two years, the Round It Up America campaign has raised nearly $640,000 from 811,000 guests. Guests contribute throughout the year by rounding their check totals to the nearest dollar.

"It's amazing how a few dimes and nickels can make a real difference in the lives of others," Yard House President and CEO Harald Herrmann said in a news release. "We found through Round It Up America that people are more than willing to donate on a micro level — giving just a little, which adds up to quite a lot over the course of a year."

Hermann, who co-founded the Round It Up America campaign, was a 2011 finalist for the National Restaurant Association's Cornerstone Humanitarian award, one of its annual Restaurant Neighbor Awards.

Round It Up America has expanded beyond Yard House. The campaign operates at 126 restaurant locations in 20 states, including Round It Up America Mission Partners Hof's Hut Restaurant and Bakery, Rusty Bucket Restaurant and Tavern (a Cameron Mitchell Restaurant), Lucille's Smokehouse Barb-B-Cue, Famous Dave's, and Cohn Restaurant Group.


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