Twenty-five years ago when Larry Rust purchased the Pizza Inn franchise in Paducah, he made the commitment to being a strong community partner a key focus of his business plan. He wanted to share any success he had with his loyal customers in his hometown.
Over the last decade, Rust and his team have donated more than $300,000 to non-profit organizations across the community through its popular—and highly competitive—Dough Raiser campaign.
Every Monday from 4-8 p.m., a different local non-profit is invited to bring 20 volunteers to serve as the restaurant’s wait staff. Pizza Inn donates 10 percent of the night’s sales, and all of the tips, to the non-profit. The average Dough Raiser generates a $1,000 donation. (First Mondays excluded, when the restaurant hosts meetings for the West Kentucky Gospel Music Association.)
Each year, on the last Monday of October, area non-profits are invited to sign up for the weekly Dough Raiser nights to be held in the following year. The top five Dough Raisers from the previous year get the first choices, and the entire calendar year typically fills up in two hours.
“Our annual sign-up day might be my favorite day of the year,” said Rust. “Not only is it a wonderful opportunity to fellowship with some of the most community-minded people in Paducah, but it’s just a whole lot of fun. I’m proud of the money we’ve help raise for dozens of outstanding organizations in this area, and I’m hopeful we’ll break our records this year and in 2018.”
This year’s sign-up day will be held on Monday, October 30, beginning at 8 a.m.