National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation Recognizes Sodexo, Inc. For A Decade Of Generous Support

The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) announced today it received a $100,000 contribution from Sodexo, Inc. in support of the Foundation and its ProStart program. This donation marks nearly one million dollars in contributions from Sodexo, Inc. to the NRAEF over the past decade. Through their generosity and their presence, Sodexo also supported the NRAEF’s 2013 National ProStart Coordinator Roundtable on Nov. 7-9 in Washington, D.C. At the November 2013 Roundtable, ProStart coordinators from around the country networked, shared best practices, engaged in collaborative planning, heard about national ProStart program updates, and learned about Sodexo’s work in recruiting and retaining top industry talent.

“We are grateful for Sodexo’s loyal and generous support of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation,” said Rob Gifford, executive vice president of philanthropic initiatives for the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. “Sodexo’s commitment to our ProStart program helps students across the country gain the practical knowledge and experience needed to become future leaders of the restaurant industry. We commend their dedication to feeding the dreams and building the futures of 95,000 students each year.”

“ProStart is raising the bar for the restaurant industry, and combines a number of elements which Sodexo finds valuable,” said Lorna Donatone, chief operating officer and president of the Education Market for Sodexo, Inc.  “It promotes engagement with students and provides opportunities to help young men and women develop leadership and networking skills that will benefit them in the future – this type of broad community impact is right in Sodexo’s wheelhouse.”

Adds Donatone, “Sodexo is passionate about elevating the stature of the restaurant industry through the support and promotion of ProStart, the NRAEF’s key educational initiative. There’s an incredible return on investment with ProStart as it serves to build a pipeline of talent for the industry and strengthens our brand positioning around improving quality of life for people, organizations and communities.  At Sodexo, we are proud to be able to hire these students who have had exemplary training and exposure that otherwise they may not have.”

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, which brings the industry and the classroom together to give 95,000 students nationwide a platform to discover new interests and talents, while opening doors to fulfilling careers.

With national and local support from industry members, educators, the NRAEF and state restaurant associations, ProStart is taught in 1,900 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

Sodexo, Inc. (, leading Quality of Life services company in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, delivers On-site Services in Corporate, Education, Health Care, Government, and Remote Site segments, as well as Benefits and Rewards Services and Personal and Home Services. Sodexo, Inc., headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md., funds all administrative costs for the Sodexo Foundation (, an independent charitable organization that, since its founding in 1999, has made more than $20 million in grants to end childhood hunger in America. Visit the corporate blog at