Irvine, Calif. (April 21, 2014) – Today, the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens™ introduces itspowerful team of four new ambassadors to help raise awareness for the high school dropout crisis today’s young people face, and to connect with teens in new ways that inspire them on their path to educational and personal success. To reach teens where they are and through the personalities they know and love, the lineup includes professional football star Reggie Bush, rising pop star Megan Nicole, Feed the Beat® band Young the Giant, and YouTube personality Tyler Oakley.
The Taco Bell Foundation for Teens was founded in 1992 with a desire to help teens because they are its customers, employees, friends, our families. With more than 6,000 restaurants across the U.S., Taco Bell is in the very communities where teens live, work and play, and truly understands their hopes, dreams and challenges.
“We know that not all teens are the same, and not all teens will find inspiration in the same message, delivered by the same person,” says Amy Kavanaugh, Taco Bell’s Chief Public Affairs Officer and Executive Director of the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens. Therefore, we’re partnering with a number of young, talented individuals who come from different backgrounds, have had to overcome obstacles of their own and each have a unique way of relating to teens across the country. Throughout the year, our partners will participate in special events to offer once-in-a-lifetime experiences that help teens find their passion and show them a world of opportunity beyond high school.”
Each partner is making their debut as part of the Foundation in their own unique way – whether it’s surprising students with a special visit when they’re least expecting it, having lunch with some of their biggest fans or giving teens a summer camp experience they will never forget. Whatever the case is, the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens™ is leveraging these profound partners as part of its larger commitment to expand its reach to teens, in ways that celebrate the “Live Más” brand soul.
“The reality is that today many teens are struggling. They are struggling to stay in school; they are struggling to find the inspiration, tools and resources to help them stay on track; and they are struggling to graduate from high school so that they can unlock opportunities they never dreamed possible,” says Reggie Bush, who graduated from Helix High School in San Diego in 2003. “Therefore, I’m so excited to be partnering with Taco Bell Foundation for Teens to help them further inspire teens! It’s important to me to be involved with a foundation that provides awesome opportunities and resources to teens to help them be able to overcome their obstacles and go on to reach their full potential.”
"I was surprised to learn that one in four high school students do not graduate on time. Unfortunately, it can be challenging at times to find job opportunities without this foundation. High school is tough, but doing your best each day and discovering what you are passionate about helps to pave the way for your future ,” says rising pop star Megan Nicole. “I am looking forward to partnering with the Taco Bell Foundation as they continue to equip and encourage teens to work hard, give back, and live out their lives to the fullest!"
“High school years can be challenging. We turned to music as an outlet that allowed us to explore our creativity and apply ourselves to a craft we love," says Sameer Gadhia, lead vocals for Young the Giant. “We're really excited to be involved with the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens so we can have an opportunity to encourage teens to pursue their passion and make the most of their education."
“I'm so excited to see what good my people and I can do during our partnership with Taco Bell Foundation for Teens,” says Tyler Oakley. “My viewers, most of which are teens themselves, are so passionate about so many causes, and together we are determined to change the world. It's incredible to see the organization believe in us."
With support from its ambassadors– who all know what it’s like to overcome struggles – the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens™ aims to make fun and exciting its goal of empowering teens to reach their full potential.
Knowing nearly one million teens drop out of high school every year and nearly one in five American students will not graduate on time, the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens™ also strives to have one million teens graduating and engaging on its digital platforms by 2020 – an effort to which its partners will contribute.
Since its inception in 1992, the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens has invested more than $45 million to inspire and help enable more than 2 millions teens to graduate high school and achieve más.
From May 1-26, the Foundation will give back to the communities in a new way for those who participate in its annual fundraiser. Customers who donate one dollar at checkout as part of the fundraiser will be recognized with a personalized card posted on a wall in that specific Taco Bell® restaurant. Drawing recognition to franchisees, team members and passionate customers for their support is a priority for Taco Bell and the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens™.
About Taco Bell Foundation for Teens
Taco Bell Foundation Inc., also known as Taco Bell Foundation for Teens™, is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) public benefit corporation committed to inspiring and enabling America’s teens to achieve más through its programs, partnerships, and direct financial assistance. Every year, the Foundation serves more than 1 million teens in over 6,000 communities across the country and awards more than 300 grants and scholarships focused on education and career preparedness. Since 1992, the Foundation has served 2 million teens and awarded more than $45 million in support of more than 1,000 teen-serving organizations in the U.S. through customer, franchisee, employee and vendor-partner donations. For more information visit tacobellforteens.org, and find us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TacoBell4Teens.
About Taco Bell Corp.
Taco Bell Corp., a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc., (NYSE: YUM), is the nation's leading Mexican-inspired quick service restaurant. Taco Bell serves made to order and customizable tacos, burritos, and specialties such as the exclusive Doritos® Locos Tacos, gourmet- inspired Cantina Bell® Menu and lower calorie Fresco Menu. The company encourages customers to “Live Más,” both through its food and in ways such as its Feed The Beat® music program and its not-for-profit organization, the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens™. Taco Bell and its more than 350 franchise organizations have nearly 6,000 restaurants across the United States that proudly serve more than 36 million customers every week.