In the six years that Richard Banfield has owned the Carson City Papa Murphy's, he has given about 5,000 pizzas to charitable events and invested about $5,000 into the local Little League program.
Banfield does this not just because his 10-year-old, Charles, plays on the Cardinals, but also because he believes in community investment.
"My kids are growing up here and the more you get involved with families and kids, the better the community is as a whole," he said recently at his 1894 Highway 50 East restaurant.
Despite the dominance of corporate-owned power structures, family-owned businesses are consistently "giving back" to the community that patronize their stores.
Banfield sponsors various children's sports, but this season he has the T-ball Dodgers, the Babe Ruth League Mariners and the Cardinals Majors. Papa Murphy's provides the uniforms and throws parties for the teams. Banfield invested about $1,000 into this baseball season.
Papa Murphy's is also one of 27 restaurants that will participate in the 12th Annual Taste of Downtown, a fund-raiser and community event organized by Advocates to End Domestic Violence.
Advocates Executive Director Lisa Lee said Taste of Downtown raises $30,000 for the women and children's shelter. The event started as a fun way to get people circulating downtown, but the number of restaurants and shops participating has elevated the event and given the nonprofit agency more name recognition.
"We're really lucky," she said. "We would not have opened in 1979 without local support, starting with office paper to the rent. We do a great job because we have the help and we could never afford to do it ourselves."
Branching into the business realm itself, seven years ago Advocates opened its own 10,000-square-foot thrift store, Classy Seconds, which generates revenue and stores donations for the shelter.
"It's been wonderful for us because we have a nice way to display items for clients so we can direct them to a rack go pick up the right sized shirt, instead of a having it all packed away in a box," Lee said.
Michelle Fissori, owner of 2nd Place second-hand and consignment store, opened up her business as a method of donating to the cause of her choice, which is the Alzheimer's Association of Northern Nevada. About 10 percent of her income goes to the association. Her store has been in business for nine months and she's collected $500 to donate so far.
"I would like to make a difference," she said.
Making a difference with high school students is important to Penny Reynolds, culinary arts teacher and director at Carson High School.
"Chefs come in and do demonstrations, judge for competitions or volunteer to take on a mentorship with a student," she said. "This year for our culinary competition they helped with travel expenses and provided the practice food."
Reynolds said the culinary program would not exist without the advisory and technical support that local chefs provide.
"We would not have the mentoring program, and the scholarship program would not be where it's at," she said. "Adele's gives $1,000 every year for scholarships and this year the Piñon Plaza matched it."
And the result: Her 15 seniors won $290,000 in scholarship money and will continue into the food preparation or business field.
n Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1212.