WASHINGTON, DC (June 24, 2019) – The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) today announced the promotion of Rob Gifford to President, effective July 1. As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the NRAEF is dedicated to enhancing the industry’s training and education, career opportunity, and community engagement efforts.

“Rob’s passion and dedication for cultivating the next generation of restaurant leaders is unparalleled,” said Dawn Sweeney, President & CEO of the National Restaurant Association. “This promotion reflects Rob’s commitment to excellence and his contributions to the ongoing success of the industry.”      

During Gifford’s tenure at the Foundation, its ProStartTM high school culinary and restaurant management program has grown by more than 50 percent, now reaching 150,000 students nationwide annually. The Foundation also has introduced a growing array of new programs designed to attract, empower, and advance the industry’s workforce. These include:  Restaurant Ready, a work readiness training program offered to opportunity youth and ex-offenders in cities throughout the nation; and the Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship program, which provides existing industry employees with apprenticeships to become certified restaurant or lodging managers. The Foundation also has developed training partnerships with all branches of our nation’s Armed Forces and annually offers hundreds of scholarships and grants to students, employees and educators.

National Restaurant Association President & CEO Dawn Sweeney will remain CEO of the Foundation.



About the National Restaurant Association

Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises 1 million restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of 15.3 million employees. We represent the industry in Washington, D.C., and advocate on its behalf. We operate the industry's largest trade show (National Restraurant Association Show May 18-21, 2019, in Chicago); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF's ProStart). For more information, visit Restaurant.org and find us on Twitter @WeRRestaurants, Facebook and YouTube.

About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation

As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s mission of service to the public is dedicated to enhancing the industry’s training and education, career development and community engagement efforts. The NRAEF and its programs work to Attract, Empower and Advance today’s and tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice workforce.  NRAEF programs include:  ProStart® – a high-school career and technical education program; Restaurant Ready – partnering with community based organizations to provide “opportunity youth” with skills training and job opportunities; Military – helping military servicemen and women transition their skills to restaurant and foodservice careers; Scholarships – financial assistance for students pursuing restaurant, foodservice and hospitality degrees; and, the Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship Project – a partnership with the American Hotel & Lodging Association providing a  hospitality apprenticeship program for the industry. For more information on the NRAEF, visit ChooseRestaurants.org.

Contact: Vanessa Sink (202) 331-5900