Apply Now: Forty-Eight High Schools to Benefit from $5,000 ProStart Grow Grants to Build Up or Launch Culinary Arts Programs

The Rachael Ray Foundation and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation partner to support ProStart® classrooms and educators.
Apply here through May 1.

Washington, DC – March 26, 2024 Starting today, high schools across the country can apply for a $5,000 grant from The Rachael Ray Foundation and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) to expand their ProStart career and technical education (CTE) programs. Applications are open now through May 1 at

Rachael Ray

Rachael Ray

Forty-eight high schools with current ProStart programs, or those with culinary arts programs committed to joining ProStart, will be selected to receive a 2024 Rachael Ray Foundation ProStart Grow Grant to upgrade their classrooms or purchase new teaching resources and supplies. The grants empower educators with tools to bring ProStart’s foundational restaurant management and culinary arts curriculum to life for their students, instilling career-building skills in the restaurant, foodservice, and hospitality industry. 

“ProStart is the bridge between high school students and the various careers that span across the restaurant, hospitality and foodservice industry. Its true magic lies in the educators who bring the program to life in classrooms nationwide,” said Rachael Ray. “I am always so excited to support these educators with the resources they need to invest in the next generation of industry professionals.” 

This year marks the fifth round of Grow Grant funding provided through The Rachael Ray Foundation, which has awarded $950,000 across 113 grants to help schools that demonstrate a strong need to engage and educate students through ProStart’s CTE program. Additionally, over the past 17 years, more than 260 scholarships have been provided by Rachael Ray’s Yum-o! organization and The Rachael Ray Foundation. 

“We’re grateful for the ongoing partnership of the Rachael Ray Foundation. Its commitment to ProStart and the educators who show up each day to give their students unique classroom experiences and a purposeful connection to our industry has made a measurable impact across over 100 ProStart classrooms to-date,” says Rob Gifford, president of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. 

ProStart students learn the essentials of culinary arts and restaurant management through its two-year CTE program, found at a mix of public high schools and career technical education centers across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam. More than an elective curriculum, ProStart is designed to link students to the restaurant industry, equipping them with certifications and competencies, over 400 hours of practical work experience, and access to restaurant and hospitality apprenticeship and scholarship opportunities. Culinary students learn to prepare a three-course meal in 60 minutes without access to running water or electricity, using only two butane burners. Restaurant management students develop a business case proposal for an original restaurant concept, with emphasis on business development, marketing strategy, and daily foodservice operations. Learn more about ProStart here.

“This grant has made a huge difference in the lives of our students and our community,” says Kelly Delacruz, a ProStart educator at New Horizons Regional Education Centers in New Richlands, Minnesota, which received a 2023 Rachael Ray Foundation ProStart Grow Grant. “Students now have an opportunity to receive on-the-job skills to prepare them for entry level positions. It has given our ProStart students something to take pride in.” 

The NRAEF facilitates the Grow Grant application process. Current ProStart schools or those onboarding/incoming in the 2024-2025 academic year are eligible to apply. Each school must submit a complete application. If selected, new ProStart schools are required to sign an agreement joining the program for the next school year or return the funds. Applicants have through May 1, 2024, to complete their submissions for the NRAEF’s consideration by clicking here.  

About The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) 

As the supporting philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the NRAEF’s charitable mission includes 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/HOPES – Partnering with community based organizations to provide people 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 Restaurant & Hospitality Leadership Center (RHLC) – accredited apprenticeship programs designed to build the careers of service professionals. For more information on the NRAEF, here for the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s 2022 Annual Impact Report. 

About The Rachael Ray Foundation 

The Rachael Ray Foundation™ (RRF) is a private foundation that is fully funded by the proceeds from the sale of Rachael Ray™ Nutrish®. RRF was launched by Rachael in 2016 to better support the causes she cares for most such as helping animals in need. Additionally, RRF works with organizations that support the mission of Yum-o!, Rachael’s 501c3, in order to bolster and amplify their efforts through additional funding. Yum-o! empowers kids and their families to develop healthy relationships with food and cooking. It also teaches families to cook, feeds hungry kids, and funds cooking education, among other initiatives. 


Hannah Oliver

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