Parents with school-aged kids know all about school fundraisers where your dine at a local establishment and some of the proceeds for that night’s eats goes to support your local school. Well, these two local restaurants have taken that concept to a whole other level to bring the money to the schools. Read on to learn how you can support your local schools by dining at Tacolicious and Mendocino Farms.

photo: Tacolicious

Tacolicious School Project

If you have eaten at one of Tacolicious’ five locations, you know they serve up some out-of-this-world tacos. Well, did you know that by the end of this school year they will have raised over $1 million for Bay Area public schools? Amazing!

It all started back in 2012 when owners Joe Hargrave and Sara Deseran decided that they wanted to do more for their cash-strapped public school in San Francisco. Despite being based in one of the wealthiest, most progressive cities in the U.S., the San Francisco Unified School District is one of the most poorly-funded school districts. When their son came home with a note from his teacher asking for pencils and Kleenex, Joe and Sara put their heads together and the Tacolicious School Project was born.

photo: Tacolicious

Every month from September through May, each Tacolicious location (Mission, Marina, North Beach and San Jose—with Palo Alto joining for the 2018-2019 school year) partners with one nearby school. Each school receives 15% of the proceeds from a month of Mondays. To build community, schools are selected based on proximity and not need or merit. Head to a Tacolicious near you on a Monday night and you’ll find principals dining along with students and supporting this endeavor. Schools are not required to use the funds for anything in particular and funds have gone towards paying for a wide variety of items including iPads, a mariachi band and an agriculture program.

To top off the funds raised for the 36 public schools Tacolicious supports annually, this year, Tacolicious funded a $15,000 Maisin Scholar Award, a scholarship given to disadvantaged high school seniors who have a desire to attend college.

photo: Tacolicious

By the close of this school year, Tacolicious will have given more than $1 million to public education through the Tacolicious School Project. To celebrate they are throwing a party on May 14, 2018. Proceeds raised from ticket sales will go toward funding another Maisin Scholar Award. Get your tickets here.

Locations: Mission, Marina, North Beach, San Jose and Palo Alto

photo: Mendocino Farms

Mendocino Farms: Paint the Cow Art Contest

Newcomer to the Bay Area, Mendocino Farms brings its SoCal sandwiches, salads and vibe to the Bay Area with locations in Campbell, San Jose (Santana Row) and newly-opened San Mateo. Last month they kicked off their Paint the Cow program at the Campbell location and everyone is excited to get in on the action!

photo: Mendocino Farms

If you’ve been to the Campbell location, you’ve undoubtedly seen the giant blue and white cow out front. The Paint the Cow contest provides mini versions of the “Mendo the Cow” to five local schools. The schools have the opportunity to paint the cows and the community votes on their favorite.

photo: Mendocino Farms

It all kicked off with a Family Fun Day in March where five local schools were on hand to show off their creations. Through the next few weeks, the cows were displayed in the restaurant’s kids’ corner and patrons had the opportunity to submit their votes. The winning school receives $1,000 to go toward the school’s art program.

Husband and wife owners Ellen Chen and Mario Del Pero aim to make Mendocino Farms a community gathering spot. What better way to get to know the community than to support locals schools!

Mendocino Farms
Locations: Campbell, San Jose and San Mateo

Know of any other local restaurants giving back to schools? Share the details below!

—Kate Loweth



Eat Here Now: Mendocino Farms in Campbell

It’s Taco Tuesday! Where to Satisfy Your Taco Cravings Around the Bay

Just Opened: #getfried Fry Cafe in Santa Clara