U.S. Pizza Co.*
City: Little Rock
Category: Arkansas Community Foundation's Outstanding Philanthropic Corporations
U.S. Pizza Co., which is a 40-year-old Arkansas-made tradition, has a leadership team that looks for ways to give charitably and encourages its staffers to follow suit.
The company’s philosophy of generosity starts at the top. Judy Waller, U.S. Pizza founder and owner, is the instigator of many of U.S. Pizza’s giving endeavors, and she approves or turns down all requested or suggested donations, be they for U.S. Pizza gift cards, free facility use, money, matching funds or pizzas.
Waller endeavors to promote generosity and volunteering among employees.“We just encourage and they jump on it,” she said.
Waller’s company has nine restaurants, as well as new locations slated to open in Bryant and Sherwood. There are also four licensed U.S. Pizza locations. All U.S. Pizza restaurants are located in Arkansas.
U.S. Pizza serves as a corporate sponsor for CareLink, a nonprofit agency out of North Little Rock that helps older people stay active and independent; the Arkansas Hospice Foundation in North Little Rock; and Meals on Wheels in central Arkansas. U.S. Pizza also partners with Our House, a shelter in Little Rock for the working homeless. The company stays on call to deliver free pizzas and salad to the shelter as needed and U.S. Pizza employees train Our House residents in job interview skills.
Waller also considers giving as she becomes aware of special needs. For example, she paid for a new mobile home and its setup for a family that lost its house in a 2011 tornado in Franklin County.
U.S. Pizza also has committed for 15 years to give monthly toward paying off the Lobby Cafe within the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Medical Center in Little Rock.