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Norman Brinker Scholarship at CFT

Legendary restaurateur’s legacy of excellence continues to inspire

Norman Brinker’s integrity, entrepreneurship and competitive spirit made him a legend, but it was his generosity and the desire to help raise the skill of others that made him beloved by his family, peers, employees, and the countless lives he touched.

The quintessential entrepreneur and founder of Brinker International, Norman Brinker created, acquired and grew many of today’s most beloved restaurant chains. His impact on the culinary world can be felt by everyone from customers to the thousands of people he inspired to believe in themselves, their ideas and the highest standards possible—principles he practiced throughout his life.

While Norman founded and funded numerous nonprofits during his lifetime, he had a special relationship with CFT. For more than 30 years, CFT had the privilege, honor and pleasure to work with him. He served on CFT’s Advisory Council and supported many charitable organizations including The Chiapas Project, SMU, Dallas Museum of Art, and The Salvation Army.


After Norman’s death, his daughters Brenda Brinker Bottum and Cindy Brinker Simmons have continued to work with CFT to further the charitable work their father started and continued with CFT through his estate plans. In order to connect their father’s career with his desire to give back, Cindy and Brenda established the Norman E. Brinker Family Scholarship that will support students pursuing a degree at the University of Houston’s renowned Conrad Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management.

“Oh, what one person can do to create a better world,” Cindy Brinker Simmons says. “Passing on a legacy of giving to the next generation is such a blessing!”

While both Brenda and Cindy are active philanthropists on their own, they turned to CFT to help establish and manage this scholarship, ensuring that their father’s legacy of excellence continues to influence the next generation of restaurateurs.

Melissa Hardage
Melissa Hardage
Senior Director of Donor Engagement

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