Gino's a Giant help to Nutter

Posted: January 17, 2012

IT WAS a cheeseburger, not a cheesesteak, that helped mold Michael Nutter into the man he is today.

Gino's, during the company's heyday in 1960s and '70s, wasn't just shelling out burgers and chicken. The burger giant was a major contributor to the Catholic school system in Philadelphia, and the reason Nutter was able to attend St. Joseph's Prep.

"It was a total big deal," the mayor told the Daily News last week. " The scholarship was tremendously helpful. Going to St. Joe's Prep turned out to be one of the greatest learning experiences for me and, ultimately, set me on the path for what I do today."

According to a 1970 article in The Catholic Standard and Times, Gino's contributed $1.3 million toward scholarships for 280 boys from "economically deprived families and minority groups."

Nutter, who grew up at 55th Street and Larchwood Avenue, in West Philadelphia, said that he couldn't recall exactly how he had gotten the scholarship but that he wouldn't have been able to go to to the Prep without it. He said that the scholarships made for a diverse mix of students at the Prep.

"There were kids with means and kids with no means," he said.

Gino's also helped build playgrounds and donated money to the Catholic Youth Organization. Nutter, who played football at St. Joe's, said that his Gino's scholarship came to mind recently, after the Philadelphia Archdiocese said that it would close many schools.

"They were really well-loved and respected in the city, not just for the product but the way they conducted themselves," he said. "I would love to see them in the city again."

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