Today at Bennett College, Papa John’s announced the official launch of its foundation, The Papa John’s Foundation for Building Community, to support communities as they work together for equality, fairness, respect, and opportunity for all. Bennett College was the first recipient of a grant from the Foundation, with a gift of $500,000 and advertising expenditures to support #StandwithBennett.
The Foundation, which will operate under the guidance of an independent advisory group, also announced additional grantees representing a range of organizations.
“This Foundation is about more than giving dollars, it’s about cultivating partnerships that empower communities as they work to overcome barriers to civility and unity,” says Steve Ritchie, Papa John’s chief executive officer. “As a company that is 120,000 strong, we are present in communities across the country. We’re thrilled to kick off this commitment and support better lives and better community for our team members, franchisees and customers across the country.”
“We’re grateful and excited that The Papa John’s Foundation is choosing to support the protection of our College’s legacy as well as reignite the conversation around the importance of supporting diverse institutions,” says Bennett president Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins. “Together, we hope to champion the continuing development of the next generation of women leaders.”
The Foundation’s advisory group, which includes seven nationally recognized research, media and community engagement professionals, will help guide the Foundation’s future activities. The advisory group includes:
- Luz E. Benitez-Delgado, Former Program Officer, W.K. Kellogg Foundation
- Rachel Godsil, Director of Research and Co-Founder of Perception Institute
- Monica Haslip, Founder and Executive Director for Little Black Pearl
- Rinku Sen, Author, activist and political strategist
- Jeff Johnson, Communications specialist
- Carmen Wilson, Sports/entertainment marketing and public relations professional
- Michelynn Woodard, Director of Good Robot at Bad Robot Productions and Executive Director of the Katie McGrath & J. J. Abrams Family Foundation
The Foundation’s initial list of grantees includes Bennett College, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Lean Into Louisville, and the Association of American Colleges & Universities.
In addition to supporting these grantees financially, Papa John’s is embarking with Boys & Girls Clubs of America in a national partnership, which will include an annual investment to support select Youth of the Year events, part of the Youth of the Year program. Additionally, the organizations will work together to develop an annual volunteer day, which will involve Papa John’s franchisees participating in service activities in clubs in their communities.
“At Boys & Girls Clubs, we provide a safe space for kids and teens to reach their full potential by providing opportunities for them to learn and grow,” says Jim Clark, president and CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “We are so grateful to have the Papa John’s Foundation as a new partner. With their support, they will help us continue our mission of empowering all young people to find their path for a great future.”
The franchisees and employees representing Papa John’s International have long been active and engaged members of their communities. The launch of the Foundation is just the latest step in the company’s efforts.
“Through both our Foundation and our corporate and franchise operations, we’re committed to doing better for the communities we serve,” says Ritchie. “These are the first few steps of our path forward.”