NRAEF ProStart Training Program Crosses $2 Million

The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) announced today that it has passed the two-thirds point in its 2011 fundraising goal of $3 million for its ProStart program. Recent donations from Brodersen Management Corp./Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Buffalo Wild Wings, Darden Restaurants, Georgia-Pacific Professional, Sugar Foods, and Sweet Street Desserts have brought the year-to-date total raised to $2,044,242. 

“These industry leaders join the operators, manufacturers, distributors, and service providers that have already made sizable commitments to growing and enhancing the ProStart program,” says Carlton Curtis, chairman of the board of the NRAEF and vice president of The Coca-Cola Company. 

ProStart is a nationwide, two-year program for 90,000 high school students that develops the best and brightest talent into tomorrow’s industry leaders. From culinary techniques to management skills, ProStart’s industry-driven curriculum provides real-world educational opportunities and builds practical skills and a foundation that will last a lifetime.

“Industry momentum behind ProStart continues to grow,” says Lynette McKee, executive director of the NRAEF.  "Investing in ProStart now is an investment in the future of our industry and the next generation of restaurant and foodservice leaders."  

In partnership with state restaurant associations, the funds raised will support:

  • Educational programming and supplies for students and educators
  • Accessibility of the ProStart National Certificate of Achievement
  • Enhancement of ProStart national and state competitions
  • Professional development for educators
  • Scholarships for ProStart students and educators

”Buffalo Wild Wings is proud to support the ProStart program,” says Sally Smith, president and CEO, Buffalo Wild Wings. “Bringing real-life experiences to high school students inspires them to dream and plan for the future, and attracting and retaining creative, passionate talent is critical to the success of our business. The restaurant industry provides many rewarding career opportunities and this program introduces students to the wide variety of creative and business oriented career choices they may not have realized existed.”

By bringing industry and the classroom together, ProStart gives students a platform to discover new interests and talents and opens doors for fulfilling careers. It all happens through a curriculum that teaches all facets of the restaurant and foodservice industry, inspires students to succeed, and sets a high standard of excellence for students and the industry. With national and local support from industry members, educators, the NRAEF, and state restaurant associations, ProStart reaches 1,700 schools nationwide. 

For more information on the ProStart program, visit or find us on Twitter or Facebook.The NRAEF is seeking additional support for ProStart and if you are interested in supporting the program please contact the NRAEF at 800-765-2122 or visit

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