$5,000 ProStart Grow Grants Available to Help High Schools Kick Off and Grow Their Culinary Arts Programs

Washington, D.C. – February 8, 2023 – High schools across the country can jump start or improve their ProStart culinary arts programs by applying for $5,000 grants from The Rachael Ray Foundation. The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) is accepting applications through March 14, 2023, by visiting ChooseRestaurants.org/ProStartGrowGrant.

Up to 25 ProStart schools, or those with culinary arts programs looking to become a ProStart school, could receive a 2023 Rachael Ray Foundation ProStart Grow Grant of $5,000. The funding supports upgrades or the purchase of new resources, the building up of classrooms and supplies, and supporting teachers with what they need to help their students learn career-building skills in the restaurant, foodservice, and hospitality industry.

Rachael Ray

Rachael Ray

“The ProStart program provides an exceptional hands-on experience at nearly 1,850 high schools across the country, teaching them fundamental, career-building skills in the restaurant, foodservice, and hospitality industry,” said Rachael Ray, award-winning television personality and philanthropist. “We are so pleased to support these programs – and the educators who make them possible – in fostering the next generation of industry talent with ProStart Grow Grants.”

This year marks the fourth round of Grow Grant funding provided through The Rachael Ray Foundation, which has awarded $590,000 to schools demonstrating a strong need to engage and educate students through the ProStart program. Additionally, over the past 16 years, more than 260 scholarships have been provided by Rachael Ray’s Yum-o! organization and The Rachael Ray Foundation.

“The students in 73 schools have had an additional range of unique experiences and opportunities to grow their interest and industry skills thanks to a ProStart Grow Grant,” said Rob Gifford, president of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. “We are grateful for the continued partnership with The Rachael Ray Foundation and their shared commitment to cultivating the skills and talents of tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice industry leaders.”

ProStart, a two-year technical education program focused on culinary arts and restaurant management, is offered at nearly 1,850 schools across the country and enrolls nearly 165,000 students who are closely connected to industry experts through guest speakers, class mentors, tours of local facilities, student competitions, and more – all to ensure real-world experience is brought directly to the classroom. ProStart students finish the program ready to join the workforce and make an immediate impact in restaurants and foodservice. 

“I have truly enjoyed the opportunity to teach students new mediums of cake decorating and pastry arts as well as food photography,” said Kandice Dequeant, an 18-year ProStart educator at W.D. & Mary Baker Smith Career Center in Lafayette, Louisiana, which received a 2022 Rachael Ray Foundation ProStart Grow Grant. “Equipment provided by the Rachel Ray Grow Grant has allowed us to experience cake sculpting, air brushing, fondant techniques, and culinary photography skills, which will prepare students for not only entry level positions, but potential self-sustaining long-term self-employment. That’s exciting, life changing stuff!”

The NRAEF facilitates the Grow Grant application process. Current ProStart schools or those onboarding/incoming in the 2023-2024 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 March 14, 2023, to complete their submissions for the NRAEF’s consideration by clicking here.

About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation

As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s (NRAEF) 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/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, visit ChooseRestaurants.org.

Click here for the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s 2021 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 501(c)3, 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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