National pizza franchise making a difference through the Donatos Family Foundation
Rooted in giving back to the community since the family-owned company started on the south side of Columbus almost 60 years ago, this national foundation gives the brand the opportunity to impact even more people through their locations across the country. The Donatos Family Foundation stays true to the words the brand lives by, “Every piece is important,” meaning that Donatos values not only great pizza, but the community it takes to make it all happen. Intended to create synergies with franchise partners and form a permanent connection between the Donatos brand and the goodwill that it promotes in local communities, this foundation will continue the Donatos legacy of being a good neighbor.
Donatos was founded by Jim Grote on two core principles – leading with love and treating others the way that he wanted to be treated. This belief in doing business with love became known as Agape Capitalism and goes hand-in-hand with the Latin meaning of the name Donatos – to give a good thing.
“I was raised watching my mom and dad model the idea of loving your neighbor and treating others the way you wanted to be treated, so our family built our giving strategy to reflect our values,” said Jane Grote Abell, Executive Chairwoman of the Board and Chief Purpose Officer at Donatos. “Giving more than we receive is woven into our culture and continuing the Donatos family legacy of giving back supports our mission to promote goodwill through our product, principles, service, and people.”
“The Donatos Family Foundation is all that and more,” Abell continued. “It is planned. It is intentional. It is strategic. It is focused. It is not about being swept up in the moment and writing a check. It is about making a commitment and being in it for sustainable change over time. The Donatos Family Foundation is about taking what is in our heart and making it actionable.”
Donatos aims to influence communities with love and compassion and offer families life-changing opportunities by partnering with local organizations that represent three pillars: housing, hunger, and health. The first organization that Donatos has partnered with through early May is the globally recognized nonprofit housing organization, Habitat for Humanity. Donatos has pledged to raise at least $100,000 for Habitat for Humanity, and all money will go back to the local Habitat chapters in the communities where the money is raised.
Each of the three pillars (housing, hunger, and health) will have a designated time frame during the year so that there is a singular system-wide focus. While there is an overarching emphasis with each pillar, the fundraising efforts will always go directly to positively impact organizations at the local community level.
Local organizations Donatos will be partnering with include Habitat for Humanity, food banks like the Mid-Ohio Food Collective, and local hospitals. Donatos is no stranger to supporting organizations that lift people out of poverty like the Reeb Avenue Center (www.reebavenuecenter.org), which helps struggling community members build self-sufficiency and transform lives through education, job training, and local job growth including entrepreneurship. Dubbed “A Hub of Hope” and viewed as a national model of multiple organizations coming together under one roof to provide help, Grote Abell co-founded Reeb Avenue Center with Tanny Crane, CEO of the Crane Group.
“Donatos has been on a mission to change lives for the better since their founding, and being a national franchise provides the perfect opportunity for them to make positive changes in communities across the country,” said Todd Rogers, a multi-unit Donatos franchise partner for more than 25 years. “The Donatos Family Foundation is the perfect way to make our core value of giving back come to life and I’m proud to represent a brand that truly cares about making a positive impact in communities nationwide.”
Donatos features the Edge to Edge® pizza, created by Jim Grote who founded Donatos in 1963. With 377 locations in 22 states, Donatos and its franchise partners operate 170 traditional restaurants in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Florida. Donatos’ products are also proudly served in 207 non-traditional locations (197 locations with Red Robin, nine sports and entertainment venues, and one REEF Kitchen). For more information, visit donatospizzafranchise.com.
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