When deadly tornadoes hit Oklahoma recently, Round It Up America already had funds reserved before a warning siren was ever sounded. Round It Up America, which invites restaurant guests to "round up" their checks to the nearest dollar and donate the remaining change to local organizations, including the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, already had funds in place to assist the victims.

"Our guests are raising funds every day of the year for disasters like the tornados that swept through Oklahoma," said Harald Herrmann, co-founder of Round It Up America. "We've partnered with the American Red Cross to help aid those who have fallen victim to natural disasters, and we're ready to assist as soon as these unforeseen events occur."

Herrmann, president of Yard House Restaurants, founded Round It Up America with Jennifer Weerheim, the company's vice president of Marketing, after hearing a news report of depleted shelves at food banks across the country. The two flew to Joplin, Mo., in May 2011 after a devastating tornado swept through the community leaving several thousand people and businesses homeless. Due to the generosity of their guests "rounding up" throughout the year, the two were able to present a $30,000 check to help those in need.

Since launching Round It Up America more than three years ago, the non-profit organization is ready for national expansion. In addition to its recent alliance with the American Red Cross, Round It Up America has forged partnerships with several national and regional restaurant brands. These Mission Partners, include Lucille's Smokehouse BBQ, Hof's Hut, Cohn Restaurant Group, The Prado at Balboa Park, 333 Pacific, Cameron Mitchell Restaurant Group, Rusty Bucket Restaurant and Tavern, and Keep Rockin'. These Mission Partners have implemented the program into their own business model and are inviting their guests to also "round up" their checks.

At Yard House more than 1.4 million guests have rounded up their checks, collectively creating more than $1 million in donations with pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. The company has hosted three granting ceremonies, the most recent taking place in February, to distribute funds raised to various local charities.

Selected national charities benefit as well including Operation Homefront, which provides emergency financial assistance, counseling and recovery support to families of service members and wounded warriors; the Educational Foundations of the National Restaurant Association and California Restaurant Association, as well as the National Restaurant Association's ProStart program. Ten percent of all funds raised by Round It Up America and its Mission Partners benefit the American Red Cross National Disaster Relief Fund.

A video about Round It Up America can be seen below:

Read more about cause marketing.

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