HELLO and welcome to the Charleys Kids Foundation!
2018 has so far been a year of growth and more growth. As our program partners grow and our donor base expands, we decided it’s time to start sharing our stories and documenting our milestones with our program partners, our donors, our store franchisees and team members, and you! Hence, this lovely blog.
First, let us introduce ourselves.
Who is Charley?
Charley Shin wears quite a few hats. He is a Buckeye at heart and an Ohio State University graduate; he is a family man, an eating machine, an entrepreneur and founder of Charleys Philly Cheesesteaks (est. 1987), Bibibop Asian Grill (est. 2013), and Charleys Kids (est. 2010).
We’re here to talk about Charleys Kids, but we would not exist without Charley or the support of our greater restaurant community. Charleys Kids was birthed out of Charley’s desire to “Honor God and Strengthen our neighbor.” For so long, this looked like giving Charley’s Philly Steaks customers “A Great Experience Every Time”, supporting franchisees and finding new ways to pour back into the community. But in 2010, his vision expanded more purposefully to children.
And Charleys Kids?
On a mission trip to Peru, Charley was taken aback with sorrow and shock at the sight of young children living on the streets. Founding Charleys Kids was his response. Our first program partner was Casa Hogar in Arequipa, Peru, and we are blessed to continue our partnership with them today. Charleys Kids has since expanded immensely, but this quote from Charley best explains the core philosophy that drives and grounds us.
“We have met so many kids and our takeaway is this: their situation is not reflective of their potential.”
We are on a mission to share hope. We believe hope can be rekindled when children are encouraged to dream again and are equipped to pioneer their own success. Acknowledging the socio-economic complexities that hide and repress an individual’s strengths, our Foundation addresses children's’ immediate needs for wholesome growth: Education, Mentorship, and Food. We partner with community programs, in the US and abroad, that nurture children in their local neighborhood with this trifold focus.
In the following posts, we will delve into the stories of our partners and children, and introduce the amazing programs that bring them together!
Who are your donors?
Out of this world. That’s who they are. From our inception, we have received a steady flow of donations from our generous Charleys Philly Cheesesteaks franchisees. Currently, over ninety percent of eligible stores participate in the coinbox program, our original source of donations. Because they’ve made fundraising so easy for us, we are able to focus our resources on building relationships with our program partners.
While the coinboxes were, and are, an immense blessing, we wanted to do more, and so did the franchisees at Charley’s Philly Cheesesteaks. In the fall of 2017, Charley’s Philly Steaks launched a second fundraiser, Change for Kids Combo Program. With corporate matching store donations, Change for Kids donates twenty cents for every combo sold in a participating store. We love this program because it involves everyone in the family--customers, franchisees and corporate.
Finally, as of today, all BIBIBOP Asian Grill stores will donate ten cents for every beverage sold. We are excited about this program and warmly welcome BIBIBOP into the Charleys Kids family. Not only that, but we made a special promise to BIBIBOP’s local communities: By 2020, half of all donations from BIBIBOP will remain in children’s programs within 100 miles of the store (while the other half will fly out to the children overseas).
This wraps up introductions for now! Hopefully this was an insightful tidbit of information for those of you who were wondering about us and our partners. The posts to follow will highlight some special stories and special wins, so stay tuned!
The Charleys Kids Team