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Why give back?

John Le Bel //October 3, 2014//

Why give back?

John Le Bel //October 3, 2014//

Most think of Anthony’s Pizza as a place where thousands of oversized pizza slices get served throughout the day. An easy atmosphere and friendly service may also come to mind – all hallmarks of the Anthony’s Pizza & Pasta credo – and critical Anthony’s elements that make good business sense.

But another factor plays into Anthony’s Pizza & Pasta’s business mission: dedication to extensive community activism.

Over the last 30 years, Anthony’s serviced hundreds of regional and local non-profits and community groups – to the point that the on-going outreach is key to Anthony’s corporate culture. From the employees at our headquarters to our franchisees to even their employees, the importance of helping our community has been instilled in every member of the Anthony’s team.

I hope that anyone – particularly our younger employees – who has ever made a pizza, delivered a pie, washed a dish or cashiered for Anthony’s has been able to carry with him or her the idea that being involved really can make a difference – both while they are working with us, and in years long after if they choose to leave to pursue other endeavors or careers.

Why give back? Because we owe a lot of our success to everyone here in Denver. If you have ever thought of getting your company more involved through donations of services or products, it’s a good idea to stick to some basics. Our experience is noteworthy, and I believe it may contain some bits of useful information for anyone looking to follow suit. And while our assets may be more marketable than those that other businesses offer (who doesn’t want free pizza, right?), I believe that every business can and should find some way to contribute.

Over the years, Anthony’s Pizza’s community involvement evolved. Experience has allowed us to fine-tune giving, continuously presenting new ways that Anthony’s can bolster communities. Here are some ideas we’ve learned along the way:

Use your best and easiest assets.

Community service is easy when you can show up with a stack of pizzas and feed volunteers of events, kids or the needy – and so, in that regard, we have it easy here at Anthony’s Pizza. This contribution distinguishes us from many other businesses and oftentimes provides us with fewer challenges. If your company wants to donate its services or time, it makes sense to first evaluate your offerings and then use those best assets to design a community service plan.

Choose wisely.  

Be careful about who you choose to help. There are so many great organizations in the metro area, and we are lucky to have so many non-profits that work so hard for our community. Anthony’s Pizza & Pasta has supported organizations such as Make a Wish, The Chanda Plan, Project Angel Heart, The Gathering Place and the Ronald McDonald House, to name a few. Furthermore, Anthony’s Pizza has assisted nearly every school in the metro Denver area in some fashion. We are proud of what we have done and will continue to do so enthusiastically.

Small, timely fundraisers can be easier.

Anthony’s Pizza just celebrated its 30th anniversary, and we wanted to leverage that to create a celebration that involved giving back to the community. We sold 84-cent slices and asked our customers to round up to a dollar, and then we donated that change to the Make a Wish Foundation. Incredibly, we raised close to $5,000 – or enough to grant a wish to a child. This example was typical of the sort of message and product we strive to provide at Anthony’s: simple, easy, and able to make a giant impact.

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

When the floods hit Longmont, Anthony’s and our franchisee in Longmont, Lee Milne, wanted to do something to help. We fed hundreds of affected people and assisted some of them in purchasing items that were swept away or destroyed. It would have been easier to write a check, but the impact we provided certainly changed the way I feel about community involvement.

Lastly, this is true of Denver: It is not just us. There are many individuals and companies small and large that quietly do amazing work – and the resulting sense of community is one of the reasons to here. We have all seen what this great city can do. If you are not involved, consider becoming engaged. You can make a giant difference, by simply supporting a local school or another organization, as examples.

Community involvement pays off more ways than one. It’s good business and more important: It’s the right thing to do – for them and for you.