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About the IRA Educational Foundation

The Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation is a non-profit organization (501 c3) dedicated to building Illinois' hospitality workforce through career exploration and development programs, scholarships and image enhancement.

Through initiatives centered around the ProStart Program, career exploration and job readiness training, and yearly scholarships, the Educational Foundation is constantly striving to make a difference in the Illinois foodservice industry.

Board of Directors

  • Darwin Claude, Chairman, Edward Don
  • Dan Raskin, 1st Vice Chair, Manny's Delicatessen
  • Sam Toia, 2nd Vice Chair, Illinois Restaurant Association
  • Michael Furlong, Secretary, Sysco, Chicago
  • Connie Chambers, Treasurer, Aramark
  • Brad Maher, Executive Committee, HMS Host
  • Paul Komelasky, Executive Committee, Sodexo
  • Dina Altieri, Trustee, Kendall College
  • Doug Bradley, Trustee, Savor Chicago at McCormick Place
  • Dan Coudreaut, Trustee, McDonald's Corporation
  • Patrick Culen, Trustee, Ecolab
  • Jeff Forkenbrock, Trustee, US Foods
  • Michael Guinan, Trustee, White Castle Systems, Inc.
  • Shivika Jamison, Trustee, Merisant
  • Stacey Loukas, Trustee, The Cubby Bear Lounge
  • Kristopher Murray, Trustee, Wasburne Culinary Institute
  • Bob Nasshan, Trustee, Gonnella Baking
  • Kathryn Thanas, Trustee, Lou Mitchell's
  • Jay Tilley, Trustee, Compass Group - Morrison
  • Rochelle Trotter, Trustee, Charlie Trotter Culinary Education Foundation
  • John Williard, Trustee, Gordon Ford Service


  • Kayla Hawkins, ProStart Program Manager, Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation

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33 W. Monroe, Ste 250
Chicago, IL 60603
Toll Free: 800-572-1086
Ph: 312-787-4000
Fax: 312-787-4792


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