Tag: Louisville Zoo

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

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”

UPS hits Q2 forecasts; Papa John’s hikes dividend 14%; it’s National Chicken Wing Day at KFC; and Franklin Circuit judge blocks new UofL board, casting school into more turmoil

A news summary focused on 10 big employers; updated 4:56 p.m.

UPS just reported second-quarter results that were in line with Wall Street’s forecasts. The shipper — Louisville’s single-biggest private employer — reported net income of $1.27 billion, or $1.43 a share, up from $1.23 billion, or $1.35 a share, in the year-earlier period. The FactSet consensus of analysts was for earnings per share of $1.43.

Revenue was $14.6 billion, up from $14.1 billion in the year-earlier period and in line with the FactSet consensus of $14.6 billion. The shipper reiterated its full year EPS guidance of $5.70 to $5.90, compared to the FactSet consensus of $5.80 (MarketWatch and press release). UPS shares closed at $108.10, down 63 cents. The company employs 22,000 workers at the Worldport hub at Louisville International Airport — the biggest fully automated package handling facility in the world.

John Schnatter

PAPA JOHN’S late yesterday boosted its quarterly dividend by a whopping 14%. The new 20-cents-a-share payout, up from 17.5 cents a share, will be paid Aug. 19 to shareholders of record as of Aug. 8 (press release). The pizza giant’s shares closed today at $73.95, up 30 cents. On an annual basis, the 10 cents-per-share hike is worth another $1,045,598 to founder and CEO John Schnatter. His 10,455,981 shares — the most owned by anyone — are now worth $770 million. Shareholders proxy report lists all major holders.

KFC: In the U.K. and Ireland only today, fast-chicken giant KFC today will give away a year’s supply of hot chicken wings to one very lucky winner and their best mate in a promotion celebrating National Chicken Wing Day. “All you need to do is follow KFC on Twitter and then tell them why your best mate is, well, the best, using the hashtag ” (Metro). But don’t hesitate: You must enter by midnight tonight U.K. time, which is six hours ahead of Eastern Time.

TACO BELL: The world’s media outlets are now devoting wall-to-wall news coverage to Taco Bell’s new Cheetos-stuffed burritos debuting in the middle of August in Cincinnati. Behold the $1 sandwich in all its orange glory:


AMAZON spent $3.9 billion in the second quarter on its distribution network, Continue reading “UPS hits Q2 forecasts; Papa John’s hikes dividend 14%; it’s National Chicken Wing Day at KFC; and Franklin Circuit judge blocks new UofL board, casting school into more turmoil”

Monty 1978-2016 | ‘He never bit anyone in his 35 years here at the zoo, which is rare!’

Louisville Zoo officials were forced to euthanize Monty, a popular 38-year-old male Burmese python after he was recently diagnosed with cancer.

The giant snake hadn’t been eating well and was losing weight after developing lymphoma, an immune system cancer, according to a zoo statement. The veterinary and HerpAquarium teams decided the most humane course was to euthanize the python on Tuesday.

In death, he is now globally famous. News of his demise was reported as far away as Continue reading “Monty 1978-2016 | ‘He never bit anyone in his 35 years here at the zoo, which is rare!’”

Today’s free admission promotion at the Louisville Zoo: coincidence, or wink-wink gay pride weekend joke?

Zoo admission is free today — if your name’s Dorothy — to celebrate its oldest resident, “Dot,” the Aldabra tortoise; she’s turning 80 today.

At least, that’s the official explanation, according to WDRB. But amid this weekend’s gay pride festivities, Boulevard observes that “friend of Dorothy” has long been playful code for being gay.

Photo, top: a still from the terrifying scene where the Wicked Witch uses her broom to skywrite a demand that Emerald City turn over a terrified Dorothy Gale in 1939’s classic Wizard of Oz.