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National Awards Program Champions Diversity and Philanthropy in the Restaurant Industry

The Educational Foundation announced today it has begun accepting nominations for its coveted 2016 Restaurant Neighbor, Ambassador of Hospitality and Faces of Diversity American Dream national recognition awards.

- Restaurateurs Encouraged to Submit Their Stories of Charitable Service and Achievement -

WASHINGTON, D.C. – August 17, 2015 – The Educational Foundation announced today it has begun accepting nominations for its coveted 2016 Restaurant Neighbor, Ambassador of Hospitality and Faces of Diversity American Dream national recognition awards. Applications and nomination forms, both encouraging nominees to share their story, are available online at NRAEF.org/Awards until Oct. 30, 2015.  

“This distinguished national awards program is dedicated to acknowledging the quiet leaders and humanitarians creating impact in their organization or community every day,” said Rob Gifford, executive vice president, strategic operations and philanthropy for the National Restaurant Association and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.

Now in its 18th year, the Foundation’s Restaurant Neighbor Award, founded in partnership with American Express, honors restaurateurs for their philanthropic efforts and dedication to giving back to their community. The award identifies winners in three categories: small business, mid-size business and large business/national chain.

Founded in 2007, the Faces of Diversity American Dream Award, sponsored by PepsiCo Foodservice, shares the stories of individuals who have recognized and achieved the American Dream in the restaurant sector, one of the most diverse industries in the nation. The award credits three members of the restaurant industry who have realized the American Dream through hard work, determination and enterprise.

The Thad and Alice Eure Ambassador of Hospitality Award is the premiere award bestowed by the NRAEF to an individual who has shown extraordinary achievement and exemplary leadership in the restaurant and hospitality industry. Consideration will be given to a nominee who serves as a company Chairperson, CEO, President or Senior Executive for his or her lifetime achievement in the hospitality industry.

From the list of nominees, State Restaurant Associations select winners within their states to be chosen for the Restaurant Neighbor Award category. Those groups/individuals will then be eligible for the national awards. Each national winner receives $5,000 to support their charitable giving efforts. The Faces of Diversity American Dream Award recognizes three individuals, selected by a panel of industry leaders, as national winners. Each winner will have a $2,500 NRAEF student scholarship presented in their name. Additionally, the national winners will receive an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C., where they will be recognized at a gala awards dinner during the National Restaurant Association’s Public Affairs Conference in April 2016. Stories from all applicants will be published on NRAEF.org/Awards to be shared with the restaurant industry.

“The restaurant industry is one of the most diverse industries in the nation, full of opportunity for individuals in different stages of life. According to NRAEF research released in 2014 – Who Works in the U.S. Restaurant Industry – eight of ten restaurant employees believe the restaurant industry is a place where people of all backgrounds can open their own business,” said Gifford. “We also know that 90 percent of restaurants participate in philanthropy. The awards program recognizes those stories of achievement and community engagement.”

For more information on the Restaurant Neighbor, Ambassador of Hospitality and Faces of Diversity American Dream awards, and to read the compelling stories of the nominees as they are submitted, visit the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s website at NRAEF.org/Awards .

About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation:
As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the NRAEF exists to enhance the restaurant industry’s service to the public through education, community engagement and promotion of career opportunities. The NRAEF works to attract, develop and retain a career-oriented professional workforce for the restaurant industry. In 2015, the restaurant and foodservice industry is projected to comprise one million outlets and a workforce of 14 million employees, making it the nation’s second largest private sector employer. For more information on the NRAEF, visit NRAEF.org.

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