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IRA Educational Foundation

Committed to Developing Tomorrow’s Foodservice Leaders Today!

The IRA Educational Foundation is dedicated to working with high school students to build the hospitality workforce through career exploration, workforce development and connections to post-secondary education.

Working with teachers, students and industry partners through the ProStart® program, the Foundation creates career pathways to post-secondary education and the workforce.

Scholarship Application

Since its inception, the IRA Educational Foundation has awarded over $2.8 million to deserving students pursing Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management in college. To complete the online application, please click here

For information about making a donation to the IRA Educational Foundation Scholarship Program, contact Terrell Johnson at

ProStart® Invitational

On Saturday, February 2, 2019, the Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (IRAEF) will welcome Culinary and Management teams comprised of high school ProStart® students from across the state to compete in the 18th Annual Illinois ProStart® Invitational, a full day of culinary and restaurant management competitions. The event, held at McCormick Place, is hosted by the IRAEF, Title Sponsor SYSCO-Chicago and Host Sponsor SAVOR...Chicago.

Students compete for the opportunity to represent Illinois at the National ProStart® Invitational (in Washington, D.C.) where they will compete against teams from 50 states (plus Guam & European military bases). The 1st-3rd Place teams win scholarships and prizes. For more information, click here.

Get Involved!

For more information about hiring ProStart® students and supporting our future industry leaders, click here or contact IRAEF Executive Director Terrell Johnson at or (312) 380-4147. 


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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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