The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) announced 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,” says 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,” says Lorna Donatone.