About the Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (IRAEF)

The Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation is a non-profit organization (501 c3) dedicated to building Illinois’ hospitality workforce through career exploration, workforce development programs, and scholarships. ProStart programming includes job readiness training, connections to industry, and internships/jobs. The Educational Foundation is seeks to prepare ProStart students for college and careers in the Illinois foodservice industry. The Foundation was founded in 1973.

About ProStart®

ProStart® is a national school-to-careers program that prepares high school students for careers in foodservice and hospitality management. In Illinois, ProStart® is administered by the Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation to over 4,000 students at 62 schools in Illinois. Students have the opportunity to earn industry-recognized credentials and articulated credits for college while in high school. The mission of the IRA Educational Foundation is to build the future hospitality workforce by providing opportunities for career exploration, work readiness training and scholarships. ProStart was launched in 1993.
The ProStart® program is offered in 50 states encompassing more than 115,00 high school students in approximately 1,700 high schools. For more information, visit

A portion of the ticket sales of the “Gelato Ticket” will go to the Illinois Restaurant Association Education Foundation.