Buddy LaRosa Turns 90; Family Announces The LaRosa Family Foundation
August 26, 2020 // Franchising.com // CINCINNATI, OHIO - Born this day in 1930, Donald S. “Buddy” LaRosa, is the son of a Sicilian immigrant with a tireless work ethic. Buddy opened his first LaRosa’s pizzeria on Boudinot Avenue in Westwood in 1954, and his sons Michael and Mark later entered the business, creating what is now a regional restaurant chain with 65 pizzerias and sales of over $167 million. Buddy celebrated his 90th birthday today, after being in self-isolation since mid-March, due to the global pandemic, with a virtual press conference to announce The LaRosa Family Foundation.
As an exemplary citizen, entrepreneur and icon of the Greater Cincinnati community, Buddy’s life has been full of joy, passion and accomplishment – always with a focus on others. Accordingly, the LaRosa family is recognizing his life, career and focus on giving back to the community with the formation of The LaRosa Family Foundation to ensure that Buddy’s legacy will continue for decades to come. The LaRosa family has created the Foundation with an initial contribution of $90,000, in celebration of his 90 years. The Foundation’s purpose will be to support programs and activities around youth/adolescent development through education, athletics and life skill development. Christina LaRosa, Mark’s daughter and Buddy’s granddaughter, will be the Foundation Director. She is a practicing attorney and Executive Director of Cincinnati Golden Gloves for Youth, an organization founded by Buddy LaRosa to help local inner-city youth develop life skills.
The LaRosa Family Foundation will invest in local programs that are focused on providing kids with the tools they need to be successful. “We’re betting that successful kids grow up to be successful adults who’ll build a stronger community” said Christina LaRosa. The plan is to grow the Foundation’s initial endowment over time through ongoing contributions from the family as well as gifts from those in the community who support the Foundation’s focus. “We’re still finalizing the details of how the Foundation will practically work”, noted Ms. LaRosa. Additional details and information on grant process and timing will be announced by mid-2021.
Today, during a virtual press conference, LaRosa’s CEO and Buddy’s son Michael LaRosa, son Mark LaRosa, LaRosa’s President and Chief Culinary Officer, and Christina LaRosa honored Buddy on his 90th birthday by sharing anecdotes from his life, along with the traditional Happy Birthday song and birthday cake. “Our dad is an incredibly genuine and caring person; his zest for life has not waned and he looks forward to many more years to come”, said Michael LaRosa. “He came from nothing, worked hard and made a difference. He truly believes in ‘taking care of the neighbors you serve’. He’s incredibly excited about the Foundation and the impact it will have on the youth of our local community”, he continued.
LaRosa’s fans are encouraged to post well-wishes, Happy Birthday photos and videos celebrating Buddy’s 90th using the hashtags #HBDBuddyLaRosa and #LaRosaFamilyFoundation.
LaRosa’s was founded in 1954 on Cincinnati’s West Side by Buddy LaRosa. It is now a $167 million restaurant company with 65 pizzerias serving neighborhoods in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. To learn more about LaRosa’s, go to LaRosa’s website.
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