Pizza king Grote sending $1M to south side revival effort

“A $1 million contribution from Donatos Pizzeria  Donatos Pizzeria Latest from The Business Journals Follow this companyfounder Jim Grote and his family will help support a plan by Mayor Michael Coleman to revitalize an impoverished area on Columbus’ (Ohio) south side, reported the Columbus Business First. The gift will be part of a $3.2 million renewal effort for the South Parsons Corridor along Parsons Avenue, Coleman said during his State of the City address Wednesday evening at the Ohio Theatre. Grote founded his pizzeria chain while a sophomore at Ohio State University, growing it to more than 200 restaurants. The $1 million contribution to the South Parsons project, Coleman said, shows Grote ‘has the courage and conviction to stand up for the area that got him started.”’

The mayor said Grote and Donatos will be among a group of community “champions” that will support the renewal project in an area where one in five houses is vacant, the poverty rate stands at nearly 30 percent and unemployment is above 20 percent. The neighborhood also is plagued by high rates of teen pregnancy, infant mortality and death from chronic diseases. ‘We called the community to act,” Coleman said, “and our call to action has been heard. … But most importantly, this neighborhood needs champions to fight for them.”’