In Memphis, TN the name “Jim Prentiss” is synonymous with philanthropy, and total commitment to civic causes and the arts. Along with his wife, Carol, Jim has perhaps given more time and money to various organizations throughout the city than any other Memphian. Notably of late, the Prentiss’ $5 million donation to the Memphis Zoo in 1997 to kick off its new building program was one of the single-largest donations by a Memphian to a Memphis organization.
Jim Prentiss got in the restaurant business, and he was president, chairman, and CEO of Shoney’s South, a major Shoney’s restaurant franchise that he founded in 1958. In 1988, Shoney’s South was sold; in 1989 he left the company, founded River Oaks Investment Corporation and began to devote his life to philanthropy. Mr. Prentiss’ involvements included the Memphis Zoological Society (chairman of the board), the Memphis Food Bank, United Way, the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis, Rhodes College, Ballet Memphis, Memphis Redbirds Baseball Foundation, and Urban Youth Initiative Board. Mr. Prentiss was a 1992 inductee into the Society of Entrepreneurs.
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