Each September during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, ChiliHeads and guests of the casual dining favorite participate in an annual fundraising campaign to support the lifesaving work of St. Jude. During the Create-A-Pepper campaign, Chiliheads will raise donations by selling Create-A-Pepper coloring sheets, St. Jude/Chili’s Sunglasses, and Create-A-Pepper T- Shirts. Guest can also make donations directly on the tabletop Ziosk device.
This year, Chili’s partnered with American country music group, Lady Antebellum, to raise awareness for St. Jude and encourage guests to “lend a voice in the fight against childhood cancer.”
The Create-A-Pepper campaign grew out of a local effort that began in 2002 when seven Memphis-area Chili's raised $14,000 with nothing more than crayons and pepper coloring sheets. In 2003, the promotion expanded to include five Southeastern states; the regional effort raised $50,000. In 2004, Chili's and St. Jude took the local program and expanded it into a national partnership. In addition to the coloring sheets, Chili's decided to donate an incredible 100 percent of net profits on the last Monday of September. The goal of the first national campaign in 2004 was to raise $2 million; Chili's raised more than $2.5 million. In 2006, Chili's announced plans to raise $50 million over a 10-year period, the largest single partner donation in the history of the hospital. In honor of the partnership, a state-of-the-art-building was named the Chili's Care Center. Completed in November 2007, the center houses the bone marrow transplant inpatient floor, the Department of Radiological Sciences, inpatient activity areas and research laboratories. The center provides St. Jude kids with more sophisticated diagnostic imaging technologies and more precise radiation therapy.
With each passing year, ChiliHeads and guests are more committed to St. Jude. This campaign has become an annual tradition uniting communities nationwide and in Puerto Rico and Canada, making Chili’s the destination for families and friends to gather and enjoy great food while helping St. Jude. To date, Chili’s has raised more than $54 million for St. Jude.
This year, Chili’s is extending their partnership with St. Jude beyond the month of September by taking part in the St. Jude Thanks and Giving® campaign and a Super Bowl Give Back event.