DENVER --(BUSINESS WIRE)-- To celebrate the conclusion of its first Qmmunity program, Qdoba Mexican Grill® is pleased to announce that Emily DuBois, a 20-year-old native of St. Louis currently attending Regis University in Denver, is the winner of the inaugural contest. DuBois has been battling ulcerative colitis, a chronic digestive disease for the past two years and gained strength from the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA). In return, she has led fundraising and awareness efforts for the organization, serves on its National Youth Leadership Council that helps build awareness across the country, and volunteered many hours of her time providing hope, comfort and inspiration to patients battling the same disease.
Because of DuBois' extraordinary efforts, Qdoba is honored to award a $5,000 donation to CCFA, DuBois's charity of choice, and a Starlight Children's Foundation™ Fun Center™ mobile entertainment unit donated to a hospital on Starlight's wait list in or near St. Louis – all part of the grand prize of Qdoba's Qmmunity campaign.
The award came as a result of Qdoba's recently launched online campaign called Qmmunity, which helped shine the light on community stars by allowing visitors to nominate community heroes online and then rally their friends and the community to vote for them.
In addition to awarding DuBois the grand prize, Qdoba is also thrilled to donate $25,000 to Starlight. Qdoba committed to donating $1 to Starlight for every action visitors took on the Qmmunity site up to $25,000, including: submitting a nomination, voting for a nominee, Tweeting about a nominee, posting about the program on Facebook and making a public pledge. The campaign, which lasted from Oct. 14 through Nov. 1, 2009, received more than 250 nominations and more than 57,000 votes.
The launch of Qmmunity marked Qdoba's first national campaign with Starlight. In 2008, Qdoba selected Starlight as the company's national charity partner. Starlight is an international charity dedicated to helping seriously ill children and their families cope with their pain, fear and isolation through entertainment, education and family activities.
"We are delighted to donate $25,000 to Starlight and support their efforts in brightening the lives of seriously ill children, and we are equally pleased to honor Emily DuBois who is truly a bright star in the Denver and St. Louis communities," said Gary Beisler, president and CEO of Qdoba Mexican Grill. "Since we opened our first restaurant in 1995, our team members have demonstrated a passion for giving back to guests and to the communities in which Qdoba operates. We hope to continue honoring local heroes on our Qmmunity Web site and help brighten the lives of people throughout the country."
The four runners-up on Qdoba's Qmmunity site, as voted on by visitors to the site, will receive a Qdoba Card pre-loaded with one free entrée per week for an entire year. These runners-up include: Christopher Jones of Crofton, Md., Donna Sunderdick of Columbia, Md., Jessica Rothgerber Murr of Louisville, Ky., and Tucker Armstrong of Midlothian, Va. Qdoba is working on developing the next iteration of the Qmmunity program and hopes to launch it in early 2010 to again recognize local heroes.
From funding Starlight Fun Centers (mobile entertainment units for hospitalized children that include a Wii™ system by Nintendo, a Sharp® AQUOS™ LCD TV, and a DVD player) and hosting community events to donating food, money and volunteering hundreds of hours in cities across the country, Qdoba has committed itself to supporting Starlight as part of its vision to support youth and family initiatives within communities. Since January of 2009, in addition to its monetary commitment of $50,000 for the year, Qdoba has donated more than $60,000 in food, coupons and special offers, as well as hundreds of volunteer hours to Starlight programs across the country in locations including Denver; Chicago; Los Angeles; Seattle; Omaha, Neb.; Washington, D.C.; and Portland, Ore. to name just a few. Qdoba has also sponsored Starlight Fun Centers for placement in hospitals in St. Louis; Denver; Boston; and Dillon, Colo., and will soon be sponsoring a Fun Center for placement in the Atlanta area.
"The success of Qmmunity is so exciting," said Starlight's CEO Paula Van Ness. "It was inspiring to read stories of the everyday stars from communities across the country and to see so many individuals participate in the campaign. Congratulations to Emily, an amazing young woman. By being awarded a Fun Center for a hospital in her hometown, she will bring smiles to the faces of children who need it."
"On behalf of the 1.4 million Americans living with Crohn's and colitis, I want to congratulate Emily on being named the Qmmunity Star and thank her for choosing CCFA as her charity of choice," said Richard Geswell, President of the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America. "We are lucky to have this extraordinary individual as a member of our National Youth Leadership Council. She exemplifies leadership in her dedication and drive in making a difference in people's lives affected with Crohn's and colitis."
Qdoba Mexican Grill is an artisanal Mexican kitchen where anyone can go to enjoy a fast, handcrafted meal prepared with fresh ingredients and innovative flavors. Each Qdoba restaurant showcases food that celebrates Qdoba's passion for ingredients, a menu full of innovative flavors, handcrafted preparation and inviting service. Founded in Denver in 1995, Qdoba is among the nation's largest Mexican fast-casual chains with approximately 500 restaurants in 42 states and the District of Columbia. Qdoba is a wholly owned subsidiary of Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ: JACK). Franchise development rights exist for additional Qdoba Mexican Grill restaurants in areas throughout the nation.
When a child or teenager has a serious medical condition, everyone in the family is affected. For 25 years, Starlight Children's Foundation has been dedicated to helping seriously ill children and their families cope with their pain, fear and isolation through entertainment, education and family activities. Starlight's programs have been proven to distract children from their pain, help them better understand and manage their illnesses, and connect families facing similar challenges so that no one feels alone. Through a network of chapters and offices, Starlight provides ongoing support to children, parents and siblings in all U.S. states and Canadian provinces with an array of outpatient, hospital-based and Web offerings. Programs are also delivered internationally through affiliates in Australia, Japan and the United Kingdom.
The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America's mission is to cure Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis and to improve the quality of life of children and adults affected by these diseases. The Foundation ranks third among leading health non-profits in the percentage of expense devoted to research toward a cure, with more than 81 cents of every dollar the Foundation spends goes to mission-critical programs. The foundation consistently meets the standards of organizations that monitor charities, including the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance (give.org) and the American Institute of Philanthropy (charitywatch.org).