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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.

To learn more about the IRAEF Restaurant Employee Relief Fund CLICK HERE.  

Board of Directors

  • Dan Raskin, Chairman, Manny's Delicatessen
  • Michael Furlong, 1st Vice Chair, Sysco, Chicago
  • Sam Toia, 2nd Vice Chair, Illinois Restaurant Association
  • Jim Caldwell, Secretary, Eurest, a Division of Compass Group
  • Doug Bradley, Treasurer, Savor... Chicago
  • Brad Maher, Executive Committee, HMS Host
  • Bob Nasshan, Executive Committee, Gonnella Baking
  • Rochelle Trotter, Executive Committee, R'Culinaire Consulting
  • Mary Barranco, Trustee, Consultant
  • Adam Barrons, Trustee, Ecolab
  • Ed Carrella, Trustee, Sonas Hospitality
  • Darwin Claude, Trustee, Edward Don
  • Dan Coudreaut, Trustee, Corporate Chef
  • Jeff Forkenbrock, Trustee, US Foods
  • Michael Guinan, Trustee, White Castle Systems, Inc.
  • Kathleen Henson, Trustee, Henson Consulting
  • Kevin Jennings, Trustee, Zink Foodservice
  • Christopher Koetke, Trustee, Complete Culinary
  • Bob Kopach, Trustee, RumChata Foundation
  • Stacey Loukas, Trustee, The Cubby Bear Lounge
  • Kristopher Murray, Trustee, Café Bon Appétit
  • Matt Parsons, Trustee, Blue Plate Catering
  • Kathryn Thanas, Trustee, Lou Mitchell's
  • Doris Timmen, Trustee, Sodexo
  • John Willard, Trustee, Gordon Food Service


  • Kristen Hodges, Executive Director, Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation

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Chicago, IL 60603
Toll Free: 800-572-1086
Ph: 312-787-4000
Fax: 312-787-4792


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