Tag: Charles Koch Foundation

Slime time: In the genteel world of old-money philanthropy, pizza king Schnatter is busting loose

By Jim Hopkins
Boulevard Publisher

When Tom Jurich chases the money John Schnatter gives to charity every year, it’s the ever-prowling cats that pose competition.

No — not those ones. I’m referring to the snow leopard and other big cats at Louisville Zoo, just five miles from Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, the University of Louisville colossus about to undergo a $55 million renovation that athletics director Jurich wants done in just two years.

Schnatter, 54, loves U of L. He’s donated more than $20 million to the 22,000-student school over the past decade, winning naming rights for his Louisville-based pizza chain for decades to come. (And Schnatter’s a Ball State graduate, to boot.)

Papa John's logoBut he also likes other charities — especially the zoo, according to the most recent IRS tax returns for his John H. Schnatter Family Foundation, which filed its 2015 return only last week. The returns show the foundation gave $111,000 to the zoo in 2012-2015; only one other recipient — U of L — got more, among the dozens of charities Schnatter and his wife Annette support. And that was on top of $1.1 million they donated to the zoo in 2008. To be sure, the zoo was just barely ahead of No. 3 on the foundation’s gift list (keep reading).

The returns offer an inside look at how one of the city’s richest couples — we’re talking $800 million — positions themselves in a pecking order where the right kind of philanthropy is the ticket to top-drawer society. This much is clear: the Schnatters don’t give a flying fig about old-money Louisville. They’re passing on virtually all the usual suspects: the Speed Museum, Actors Theatre, Kentucky Opera, the Fund for the Arts — cultural war horses favored by more established families like the Browns and their 150-year-old whiskey fortune, or the Binghams and their faded media empire from 1918.

Instead, the Schnatters devoted their relatively modest $1.9 million to 86 charities over the four years I examined, focused heavily on helping children and veterans; animal welfare and — crucially, for anxious development officers — advancing John Schnatter’s growing interest in free enterprise and limited government.

But he’s never been old money, anyway.

1980s: bustin’ out

After graduating from Ball State University in 1983, Schnatter started Papa John’s in a broom closet at his father’s tavern, Mike’s Lounge, which he famously saved from ruin with $2,800 he got selling his prized 1972 Camaro. Nearly 32 years and many millions of pies later, he stars in his own TV commercials blanketing the air, proving he’s not above getting dirty to make a sale — literally. In a Sony Pictures marketing tie-in this summer, he played a slimed Ghostbuster pizza delivery guy; that’s a still photo, top of page. (Can you imagine Brown-Forman Chairman George Garvin Brown IV dressed as a dancing mint julep for an Old Forester spot? Neither can I.)

Tom Jurich
Jurich

No matter. Schnatter’s laughing all the way  to the bank. Today, Papa John’s has more than 4,700 restaurants in 38 countries and territories. Its 22,000 employees include 750 in Louisville. And his stake in the $2.8 billion behemoth just soared past $800 million for the first time. That’s a lot of loot that’s arrived relatively fast. On a split-adjusted basis, Papa John’s stock has increased six-fold in the past five years alone. The question over at U of L: How much of that will Jurich wrangle for his $55 million stadium project? Continue reading “Slime time: In the genteel world of old-money philanthropy, pizza king Schnatter is busting loose”

Schools claim freedom to study capitalism, even as big donor Schnatter praises ‘greatest mechanism’ to pursue happiness

Ball State University is the latest school to defend another multimillion-dollar gift from one of its most famous graduates, Papa John’s founder John Schnatter, to establish an institute promoting the virtues of free enterprise.

Schnatter and Koch
Schnatter and Koch.

School administrators offered similar assurances when Schnatter and the Charles Koch Foundation gave $12 million to the University of Kentucky in December and $6.3 million to the University of Louisville in March 2015, in both cases to launch free-enterprise centers. Ball State in Muncie, Ind., is getting $3.3 million.

The contract UK signed says the institute must support a “diversity of ideas,” according to the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting. But it also says Continue reading “Schools claim freedom to study capitalism, even as big donor Schnatter praises ‘greatest mechanism’ to pursue happiness”

Ball State defends $3.3M from Schnatter-Koch; more Humana-Aetna op; Ford GT back at Le Mans, and Brits say KFC server in Fla. was ‘most miserable’

Latest headlines, focused on big employers; updated at 4:37 p.m.

Ford GT Le Mans
Ford’s new GT faces Ferraris and other top rivals at famous French race again. Thousands have applied to buy one of the $400,000 supercars.

PAPA JOHN’S: Ball State University deflected concerns over accepting a $3.3 million donation from Papa John’s founder John Schnatter and the Charles Koch Foundation, to promote free enterprise, saying it wouldn’t subvert academic freedom (Star-Press). The March donation is only the latest from the two men.

Schnatter and Koch
Schnatter and Koch.

They gave $12 million to the University of Kentucky in December and $6.3 million to the University of Louisville in March 2015, in both cases also to establish free-enterprise institutes. Administrators there offered similar assurances about academic independence. But a contract UK signed and Schnatter’s views on capitalism point to a possibly sharp collision of goals. Schnatter graduated from Ball State in Muncie, Ind., in 1983, and started his pizza company the following year.

GE: In Appliance Park, new owner Haier is getting a facility that’s completely rebuilt itself from years of outsourcing and offshoring,” said John Shook, CEO of the nonprofit Lean Enterprise Institute, which advised long-time GE owner in trimming management and tweaking production. “GE Appliances is a lean producer with an engaged leadership that has done an excellent job involving the union workforce to build in quality on the front lines (Benzinga). China-based Haier completed the $5.6 billion deal a week ago today; Appliance Park has about 6,000 employees making refrigerators and other home appliances.

HUMANA and planned acquirer Aetna face increased opposition to the $37 billion deal — as do merger partners Anthem and Cigna — from a new coalition of consumer and medical groups worried about the consolidations,  which would shrink the healthcare insurance market to three major insurers from five (CT Mirror). Aetna officials have said recently the deal is still on track to close in this year’s second half. About Humana.

Edsel Ford II
Ford

FORD: Unfortunately misnamed Edsel Ford II leaves tomorrow for Le Mans to watch the new Ford GT return to the legendary race against Ferraris, Porches and Aston Martins, starting Sunday. Ford, 67, a great-grandson of the company’s founder, visited the track with his father, Henry Ford II, in 1966 when he was a teen to witness the Ford GT40 place 1-2-3. “Fifty years have gone by fast,” he said. “Seems like yesterday I was there with Dad” (Detroit Free Press). The GT racing is based on the all-new $400,000 supercar unveiled in January. Le Mans history. Edsel Ford is a consultant to the company and member of its board of directors. At this year’s annual meeting, he faced the most resistance from shareholders re-electing directors, apparently over the $650,000 Ford paid him as a consultant. About Ford in Louisville.

Watch video of the 1966 race, and the new car:

KFC: Job recruiters want to talk to you if you have a “friendly attitude and positive demeanor” at an open house on Thursday (CraigsList). Elsewhere in Maryland, firefighters responded to a mulch fire early Saturday afternoon that spread to the exterior of a KFC; no injuries were reported. Why was there mulch so close? The news report is silent on that important question (Carroll County Times). More about KFC corporate parent Yum.

In top culture news, Broadway’s Hamilton won 11 Tonys last night, including best musical — just shy of the record of 12 won by The Producers. Tickets are impossible to get, as we discovered when we found one for a whopping $7,075 in a travel story last month.