Papa John’s CEO gives $1M to St. V to house patient families

St. Vincent Health has received a $1 million donation from John Schnatter, the CEO of the Papa John’s pizza chain, which it will use to help construct an extended-stay home for patients’ families.

The Indianapolis-based hospital system announced the donation Thursday morning during a groundbreaking ceremony for St. Vincent House, which will include private units for 20 families who have a child or loved one receiving extended care at St. Vincent’s flagship campus on West 86th Street.

That campus includes Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital, the St. Vincent Women’s Hospital, a transplant center and a cancer treatment unit.

St. Vincent publicly launched an $8 million fundraising campaign to pay the cost of the St. Vincent House in May. Schnatter’s donation allowed it to break ground near the intersection of Dugan and Naab roads six months early. St. Vincent has not released an expected completion date for the facility.

A description of the project issued early this year said it is designed for families who live more than 25 miles away from the St. Vincent Indianapolis campus. St. Vincent contemplated charging a $15 per-night fee, which could be waived for low-income families.

St. Vincent has offered a similar service thorough the Marten House Hotel on 86th Street, but space in that facility has not been able to meet demand from patient families.

Schnatter, a native of Jeffersonville and a graduate of Ball State University, founded Kentucky-based Papa John’s International Inc. in 1984. He has since built it into a network of more than 4,700 restaurants, the lion's share of them run by franchisees, with annual revenue of $1.6 billion. Schnatter, 53, has also become well-known as the company’s pitchman in TV commercials with the tagline, “Better Ingredients, Better Pizza.”

Peyton Manning, the former Indianapolis Colts and current Denver Broncos quarterback, has appeared in Papa John’s commercials with Schnatter.

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