National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation Establishes The Stephen P. Donatone Scholarship Fund

The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) announced today that it has established a scholarship fund in the name of beloved industry figure and friend, Stephen P. Donatone. The NRAEF received a pledge of $250,000 from the family of Stephen P. Donatone to create an endowed scholarship in his name. This prestigious scholarship will support the NRAEF’s ProStart students and its mission to enhance the stature of the restaurant industry. ProStart unites the industry and the classroom to give 95,000 high school students nationwide a platform to discover new interests and talents, while opening doors to fulfilling careers.

“We are incredibly grateful for this generous donation from Stephen P. Donatone’s family,” said Rob Gifford, executive vice president of philanthropic initiatives for the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. “We know that this scholarship will provide many of our ProStart students continued education, which will help build a pipeline of talent and foster future leaders of the restaurant industry for many years to come.”

The NRAEF plans to award between $12,500 to $16,000 per year to a single student of great resilience who has overcome significant obstacles in his or her life and can articulate a vision for the future. The Stephen P. Donatone Scholarship recipient should demonstrate a commitment to post-secondary study to prepare for a career in the restaurant, foodservice and/or hospitality industries, as well as a dedication to community service. Preference for this prestigious culinary and hospitality management scholarship will be given to a student from the ProStart program.

Lorna Donatone, Stephen Donatone’s wife, has been a member of the NRAEF Board of Trustees since 2011 and a member of the National Restaurant Association Board of Directors since 2005. She also serves as chief operating officer and education market president for Sodexo. Stephen Donatone was an active member of the NRAEF and the Association communities, and highly respected amongst his peers. When he passed away in January 2013, a profound sense of grief was shared among the board members and staff of the NRA, the NRAEF, and industry leaders who had the pleasure of knowing him. Donatone was well known among his peers as a champion of the underdog, someone who devoted his life to help others realize their full potential. The NRAEF will utilize the Stephen P. Donatone Scholarship to provide valuable opportunities for students to help them realize their dreams and live up to their full potential, both personally and professionally.

“Steve was a tremendous advocate for helping young people achieve their dreams, especially in the restaurant industry that he loved. We are incredibly grateful and honored to help future generations pursue their education with the Stephen P. Donatone Scholarship,” said Lorna Donatone.

The fund is designed to last in perpetuity, and additional contributions to the fund are welcome. To donate to the fund, visit or contact Tony Morales at or 202-331-5911.

According to the National Restaurant Association, total restaurant and foodservice employment is projected to grow by 11 percent over the next 10 years. The NRAEF is committed to ensuring it supports the development of a highly-trained and professional talent pool through scholarships and educational programs such as ProStart. With national and local support from industry members, educators, the NRAEF and state restaurant associations, ProStart is taught in 1,700 schools. For more information on the ProStart program, visit or find us on Twitter or Facebook.

As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF)’s goal is to enhance the stature of the restaurant industry. The restaurant and foodservice industry comprises 980,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of more than 13 million employees, making it one of the nation’s largest employers. The NRAEF’s focus is to attract, develop and retain a career-oriented professional workforce and to create a more positive business climate for the restaurant industry. For more information on the NRAEF, visit