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IRA Educational Foundation

About Us

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

  • Gary Salvestrini, Chairman, Sysco Chicago, Inc.
  • Jay Tilley, 1st Vice Chair, Morrison Healthcare Food Services
  • Sam Toia, 2nd Vice Chair, Illinois Restaurant Association
  • Chris Koetke, Secretary, Kendall College
  • Robert Ritchie, Treasurer, Culinary Sales Support, Inc.
  • John Meyer, Executive Committee, B J's Market & Bakery
  • Dan Raskin Executive Committee, Mannys Cafeteria & Delicatessen
  • Dave Yanda, Executive Committee, Zapatista, Cuisines of Mexico
  • Darwin Claude, Trustee, Edward Don
  • Mark Drake, Trustee, Kraft Foods, North America
  • Jeff Forkenbrock, Trustee, US Foods
  • Dan Gilroy, Trustee, US Foods
  • Ubong Ituen, Trustee, McDonalds
  • Stacey Loukas, Trustee, The Cubby Bear Lounge
  • Matt Mueller, Trustee, Sodexo, Education
  • Kristopher Murray, Trustee, Washburne Culinary Institute
  • Wendie Rose, Trustee, Tastee Freez
  • Nancy Rotunno, Trustee, Robert Morris University
  • Kathryn Thanas, Trustee, Lou Mitchell's


  • Kathy Summers, Executive Director, Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation
  • Jenna Zera, Project Coordinator, Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation


Quick Links
About the IRAEF
Contact the IRAEF


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