The Ave Maria Foundation was founded in 1983 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, by Thomas Monaghan, the founder and then-owner of Domino's Pizza. In keeping with Monaghan's faith commitment, the Foundation was established to focus on a variety of Catholic charities, with a special emphasis on Catholic education.
Under Monaghan's leadership as chairman, the Foundation formally established Ave Maria College in 1998 to offer a rigorous program of post-secondary studies in the Catholic liberal arts tradition, to prepare students for leadership in academics and professional occupations, as well as to provide service to the greater community.
In addition to establishing Ave Maria College (the predecessor institution to Ave Maria University), the Foundation provided the initial funding for the Ave Maria School of Law. The law school, which was founded in 2000, received full accreditation from the American Bar Association in 2005, the fastest time possible.
The Foundation has also established an Ave Maria College branch campus in Nicaragua as well as several elementary schools.
In November 2002 the Foundation announced plans to develop the country's first major new Catholic university in 40 years in Naples. The new university is being seeded with approximately $250 million from Monaghan. – less–ZoomInfo