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Chili's Grill & Bar(R) Raises More Than Six Million Dollars for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital From Fifth Annual Create-A-Pepper to Fight Childhood Cancer Campaign

- Chili's reaches $25 million mark of 10-year, $50 million pledge -

DALLAS, Oct. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Chili's Grill & Bar(R) today announced it has raised more than six million dollars during the fifth annual, award-winning Create-A-Pepper to Fight Childhood Cancer campaign for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital(R), one of the world's premier pediatric cancer research centers. To date, Chili's has raised more than $25 million as part of a 10-year, $50 million pledge to raise funds for the hospital. Once completed, the donation will be the largest donation from a single partner campaign in St. Jude's history.

"We want to express our gratitude to all our guests, their friends and families who helped support this year's Create-A-Pepper campaign for St. Jude," said Todd Diener, president of Chili's Grill & Bar. "Raising more than six million dollars in one month is truly worthy of celebration. I also want to thank our 75,000 Chili's team members who continue to devote themselves to St. Jude's life-saving mission."

Each year throughout September, Chili's restaurants around the country honor National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month by inviting people to get creative and raise funds to help St. Jude find cures and save children with cancer and other catastrophic childhood diseases.

Guests at participating Chili's restaurants were invited to 'Pepper in Some Hope' for St. Jude by making donations online and at the restaurants; designing Create-A-Pepper chili pepper coloring sheets for display at restaurants; purchasing Create-A-Pepper T-shirts for personalization and buying customized Create-A-Pepper keys cut for use at home or the office. The campaign culminated on Monday, Sept. 29, when participating Chili's restaurants around the country donated 100 percent of the day's profits to St. Jude.

"The dedication and commitment that Chili's Grill & Bar has made to the children of St. Jude is remarkable," said David L. McKee, interim CEO and chief operating officer of ALSAC, the fundraising organization of St. Jude. "We are so grateful for Chili's partnership with St. Jude and for Todd Diener's leadership in the hugely successful Create-A-Pepper campaign, which has significantly enhanced our ability to provide world-class research and unsurpassed patient care."

The Create-A-Pepper campaign has made significant strides since its beginning in 2003. In November 2007, Chili's and St. Jude celebrated the opening of the Chili's Care Center, a seven-floor, 340,000-square foot facility combining 21st century imaging and treatment technology with St. Jude's almost half-century approach to medical research: put patients and scientists in the same building to fast-track the translation of new knowledge into better care for children around the nation. It is the first medical building on the St. Jude campus to bear the name of a corporate partner.

Last month, Chili's Create-A-Pepper campaign was honored with the National Restaurant Association's annual Restaurant Neighbor Award. The award celebrates the philanthropic spirit of the restaurant industry and serves to inspire others to actively get involved in their communities.

Chili's Grill & Bar is the flagship brand of Dallas-based Brinker International (NYSE: EAT), a recognized leader in casual dining. Chili's offers a fun, energetic atmosphere and a distinct, fresh mix of grilled American favorites at more than 1,400 locations in 24 countries. Other Brinker brands include Maggiano's Little Italy(R), On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina(R), and Romano's Macaroni Grill(R). For more information, please visit

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. St. Jude is the first and only pediatric cancer center to be designated as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute. Founded by late entertainer Danny Thomas and based in Memphis, Tenn., St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world. St. Jude is the only pediatric cancer research center where families never pay for treatment not covered by insurance. No child is ever denied treatment because of the family's inability to pay. St. Jude is financially supported by ALSAC, its fundraising organization. For more information, please visit

SOURCE Chili's Grill & Bar