Pizzicato Pizza offers scholarships to employees

Pizzicato Pizza, a local restaurant franchise, is celebrating its 25th anniversary by offering Portland State scholarships to 10 of its employees.

Pizzicato president and founder Tracy Frankel and her husband Marc Frankel said they founded the scholarship program to reward those individuals who contribute to the continued success of the company: their employees.

Pizzicato opened in 1989 as a little shop on Portland’s west side and expanded to locations throughout Oregon, Washington and California.

“When celebrating big anniversaries, many companies choose to discount customers or give away something, like a free pizza,” Tracy Frankel said. “For us, it is very important to show the hard work by the staff and in turn reward them with a ‘true gift,’ in which they are free to choose the scholarship’s purpose.”

Frankel said it is important for the employees to be able to use the scholarship money for the program of their choice. It shows that Pizzicato does not expect them to be employees for life, but rather, shows the dynamic of the company by expressing the importance of exploring education and one’s dreams.

Employees must meet certain criteria in order to be selected for one of the 10 scholarship awards. They must have been employed by Pizzicato for at least a year and have maintained a GPA of 3.0 or higher from high school, PSU or any other educational institutions.

Richard Vessells has been an employee at Pizzicato for seven years and is currently the manager at the PSU location. “This scholarship opportunity is amazing and extremely generous,” Vessells said.

In addition to these scholarships, Pizzicato began a fundraiser called Dough 4 Dollars. Through the program, Pizzicato will work with a local school to designate a date during which 20 percent of the location’s daily earnings will be donated to that school. In 2014, Pizzicato gave nearly $100,000 to local schools through the Dough 4 Dollars fundraiser.

“[Dough 4 Dollars] gives a lot to the community, and these scholarships will only continue that,” Vessells said PSU Foundation communications manager Tanya Gross works for the Donor Engagement sector.

Gross said, “[PSU] benefits greatly from scholarships funded by private donors such as Pizzicato Pizza. Scholarships help attract and retain outstanding students and help make PSU an even more attractive place for students to pursue their higher education.”