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St. Jude Children's Research Hospital(R), Chili's Grill & Bar(R) Kick-off Fifth Annual Create-A-Pepper to Fight Childhood Cancer Campaign

- Chili's seeks to reach the $25 million mark of their 10-year, unprecedented
                             $50 million pledge -

MEMPHIS, Tenn., Sept. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- St. Jude Children's Research Hospital(R) and Chili's Grill & Bar(R) announced the kick-off of their fifth annual Create-A-Pepper to Fight Childhood Cancer campaign. Now through Sept. 30, Chili's restaurants around the country and, for the first time, in Puerto Rico, are marking 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 can contribute to St. Jude in multiple ways:

    -- Make a donation to St. Jude and receive a Create-A-Pepper chili pepper
       coloring sheet designed for display at restaurants during the month.
    -- Purchase Create-A-Pepper T-shirts that can be customized with permanent
    -- Buy a customized Create-A-Pepper key that can be cut for use at home or
       the office.
    -- Eat at Chili's on Monday, Sept. 29, when Chili's will donate 100
       percent of profits from participating restaurant sales to St. Jude.
    -- Visit and to make an online donation.

"Chili's guests have enthusiastically embraced the mission of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital over the years, and I'm confident that September's Create-A-Pepper campaign will once again inspire guests to support our lifesaving work," said David L. McKee, chief operating officer of ALSAC, the fundraising organization of St. Jude. "We are so grateful for Chili's partnership with St. Jude and for the company's commitment to our patients and their families."

To date, Chili's has raised $18.7 million as part of a $50 million commitment to St. Jude over a 10-year period. Once completed, the donation will be the largest donation from a single partner campaign in St. Jude's history.

Last November, Chili's and St. Jude celebrated a significant milestone in their partnership, the opening of the Chili's Care Center. The seven-floor, 340,000-square foot facility combines 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.

"The opening of the Chili's Care Center was a pivotal point in our 10-year commitment to St. Jude," said Todd Diener, president of Chili's Grill & Bar. "However, we know our work doesn't end there. Chili's team members have been planning for this year's Create-A-Pepper campaign since we announced our record results from 2007, and they stand ready to raise even more money for these patients who depend on St. Jude's groundbreaking research and life-saving care."

For more information, to purchase Create-A-Pepper T-shirts and keys, to make an online donation to the campaign or to create an e-pepper, 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. Founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas and based in Memphis, Tenn., St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world. No family ever pays for treatments not covered by insurance, and families without insurance are never asked to pay. St. Jude is financially supported by ALSAC, its fundraising organization. For more information, please visit

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

SOURCE St. Jude Children's Research Hospital; Chili's Grill & Bar

NOTE TO EDITORS: Electronic press kit containing downloadable, high-res images of guests coloring peppers, patients' stories, Chili's employee stories and soft copies of all press materials can be found at

Shannon Carter
of ALSAC-St. Jude
Stacey Sullivan
of Chili's Grill & Bar