The International Franchise Association Foundation announced it is now accepting nominations for the 2018 Franchising Gives Back Annual Awards. In partnership with Roark Capital Group, the fourth annual awards program salutes the best, most innovative community leaders and charitable programs nationwide. Winners will be honored at an awards celebration and dinner on Sept. 4 during the IFA’s Franchise Action Network Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

“Last year was a record-breaking year for Franchising Gives Back, with our highest number of nominations ever. Winners donated over $100 million dollars and countless volunteer hours to charities and communities across the country—and we could not have been more thrilled,” says Steve Romaniello, CFE, managing director, Roark Capital Group. “We’re very much looking forward to this year’s awards program because we know we are only scratching the surface as there are countless IFA members who deserve recognition for the amazing things they are doing in their communities. We encourage all to enter and share their story.”

Now through June 15, current IFA members—franchisors, franchisees, and suppliers—are invited to visit nominate their company’s charitable activities performed between January­–December 2017. Winners will be selected in five categories:

Spirit of Franchising Award—honors an IFA member whose charitable or community support program embodies the spirit of what it means to be a part of the franchising industry by giving back to his or her local community.

The Newcomer Award—highlights a new charitable or community support program launched that has made a significant impact on a local community.

Enduring Impact Award—honors an IFA member with a longstanding commitment to his or her community that has been executing an outstanding charitable or community support program(s) for at least five consecutive years.

Support Our Veterans Award—recognizes an IFA member whose charitable or community support program has gone above and beyond the call of duty to help those men and women who have served in the U.S. military and their families, and positively  impacted their local community along the way.

Innovation and Impact Award—honors an IFA member whose charitable or community support program focused on using creative, innovative ways to maximize the benefits and impact on their community with limited resources.

At the 2017 Franchising Gives Back Celebration & Awards Dinner, the IFA Foundation recognized five Gold Winners, including McDonald’s (Archways to Opportunity), The Wendy’s Company (Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption), Dream Vacations (Living the Dream Foundation / Friends & Family Community Connection), Massage Heights (Massage Heights Family Fund), and Planet Fitness (The Judgement Free Generation®).

For the Massage Heights Family Fund, which received a $5,000 donation from Franchising Gives Back last September, the award came at the opportune time. Just weeks prior to the award presentation, Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Gulf Coast of Texas, wreaking historic devastation on Houston, where Massage Heights operates nearly 40 retreats and our franchisees employee over 1,500 team members.

“The Massage Heights Family Fund Board of Directors and grant recipients are grateful for the timeliness of the Franchising Gives Back award accepted by my daughter, Shane Evans, in Washington, D.C., in September 2017,” says Patricia Zweig-Franson, founding president and chairman of the Massage Heights Family Fund. “This financial award allowed us to respond to an additional five requests for financial assistance and grant those requests, above and beyond the 47 grants issued to Hurricane Harvey evacuees and victims in Texas, as well as Hurricane Irma evacuees in Florida. The 52 grants were awarded quickly to Massage Heights therapists and support staff who were evacuated, lost time from work due to Retreat closures, and whose homes and automobiles were devastated, ruined, or completely lost in the floodwaters. Our small non-profit was absolutely humbled to have been recognized by the IFA Foundation for our work through the Massage Heights Family Fund and thankful we had the ability to help even more team members and their families due to this recognition. Our grant recipients are eternally grateful for the assistance they received during this stressful and heartbreaking time.”

Thirteen additional Silver Award Winners were recognized, including: Sonny’s BBQ (Random Acts of BBQ), Home Instead Senior Care (Hilarity for Charity), Dream Dinners (Operation Vetrepreneur), Tropical Smoothie Cafe (Camp Sunshine), McAlister’s Deli of Louisville (Cruise for Children), Global Franchise Group (A Bite for the Fight for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society), Sport Clips (Veterans of Foreign Wars Sports Clips “Help a Hero” Scholarship Program), Anytime Fitness (Operation HeartFirst), Dunkin’ Donuts – Branded Management Group (Box 4 Special Services Canteen), Abrakadoodle (Abrakadoodle Arts for All), Dunkin’ Donuts – Naples Donuts LLC (Safe and Healthy Kids Coalition of Collier County), Chicken Salad Chick (Music and Miracles), and The Cleaning Authority (The Cleaning Authority CARES). For more information about the 2017 winners, visit

“The Franchising Gives Back Awards program are a way for us to celebrate and highlight the compassion and charitable support that franchise businesses demonstrate daily by helping those in need,” says Mary Heitman, president of the IFA Foundation. “We encourage all IFA members to get involved no matter how big or small your program is. Whether you’re a franchisor, franchisee, or supplier partner, we urge you to nominate your peers who are doing extraordinary things in the community.”

The IFA Foundation also is continuing to build its national registry on to profile franchise businesses and their charitable activities nationwide. To date, the registry features profiles for over 400 IFA members showcasing the efforts of more than 313,000 volunteers who have donated more than $245 million and 2.3 million hours to non-profit organizations throughout the country.

Franchising Gives Back depends on donations to the IFA Foundation. For more information on contributing to Franchising Gives Back through its partner program — including sponsorship opportunities and tickets for the 2018 Franchising Gives Back Awards Celebration & Dinner—please visit

Industry News, Philanthropy