Media Contact:
Erica P. Burns
Director of Communications
Louisiana Restaurant Association
2700 N. Arnoult Road
Metairie, LA 70002
(504) 636-6516 Direct Line
(504) 454-2277 Office
(504) 454-2299 Fax

Metairie, LA- The Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation (LRAEF) is now accepting applications for its annual scholarship program for students entering college or already working in the industry to pursue careers in the culinary and hospitality industries. The application deadline is Tuesday, January 31, 2017. Scholarship recipients will be announced in early March 2017.

The LRAEF Scholarship Fund was created in 2009 to provide financial support for individuals interested in furthering their education to support a career in the culinary, hospitality, or related industries. With the 2017 grants, the LRAEF will have awarded $390,000 since the Fund's inception.

"The dollars that fund our LRAEF scholarships are generated by LRA members and chapters from around Louisiana who encourage interested students to apply," noted LRAEF President & CEO Stan Harris.

Applicants must be currently enrolled or accepted in a bachelor and/or associate degree program in order to pursue or further a career in the restaurant, foodservice, tourism or hospitality industry. Courses of study can include, but are not limited to culinary, hospitality, tourism, business and management programs. Scholarship awards are merit-based and will vary based on available funds.

The following scholarships will be awarded in 2017:

• Jim Funk Scholarship: Established in 2012 and is the LRAEF's most prestigious award. It honors former LRA President & CEO Jim Funk, who guided the creation of the LRAEF during his 30 years with the organization. This is presented to the top scholarship applicant for the 2017 cycle and is renewable on an annual basis for up to four years, provided that minimum GPA and enrollment standards are achieved.

• LRAEF ProStart® Scholarship: Awarded exclusively to students who achieve the ProStart Certificate of Achievement. ProStart is a nationwide, two-year restaurant management and culinary arts program for high school students that develops the best and brightest talent into tomorrow's industry leaders.

• LRA Board Fund Scholarship: Awarded to Louisiana students who intend to pursue a career in the restaurant, foodservice, tourism or hospitality industry. This Fund is supported through a generous annual donation by the LRA Board of Directors.

• LRA CENLA Chapter Scholarship: Presented by the LRA CENLA Chapter, this scholarship is awarded to qualified applicants from the chapter's 11 parish area- Avoyelles, Beauregard, Catahoula, Concordia, Grant, LaSalle, Natchitoches, Rapides, Sabine, Vernon and Winn parishes.

• Louisiana Seafood Scholarship: Established through a generous gift from the Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board, this scholarship is awarded to qualified applicants who show an interest in cultivating, protecting and promoting Louisiana seafood.

The online application can be accessed at and must be completed by Tuesday, January 31, 2017.

"The LRAEF Scholarship program is one of the most important ways we serve our mission of education and promotion of career opportunities, especially in the culinary and hospitality industries," said LRAEF Executive Director Alison Greffenius. "These industries provide great training for young people, as well as a path to economic advancement."

The LRAEF, a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization, exists to enhance the industry's service to the public through education, promotion of career opportunities and community engagement. If you would like to make a donation, please contact Alison Greffenius, or (504) 210-2505.

The LRAEF is grateful to its sponsors: 5 Diamond-Acme Oyster House, Auto-Chlor Services, Emeril Lagasse Foundation, Louisiana Hospitality Foundation, Louisiana Restaurant Association, National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers; 4 Diamond-Performance Foodservice-Caro; 3 Diamond-Atmos Energy, Ben E. Keith Foods, Delaware North, Ecolab, Louisiana Culinary Institute and New Orleans Wine & Food Experience; 2 Diamond-Besh Restaurant Group, Louisiana Gas Association and Whole Foods Market and 1 Diamond-Capitol City Produce and Mele Printing.


ProStart is a registered trademark of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.

ProStart is a two-year, culinary management program for high school juniors and seniors with a curriculum designed to teach students culinary techniques as well as restaurant management skills. ProStart is in 60 high schools statewide and more than 2,000 students participate in the program.

As the philanthropic foundation of the Louisiana Restaurant Association, the LRA Education Foundation exists to enhance the industry's service to the public through education, community engagement and promotion of career opportunities.

The Louisiana Restaurant Association is one of the largest business organizations in the state, representing restaurant operations and related businesses. The restaurant industry in Louisiana is one the state's largest private employers, providing jobs to more than 200,000 residents. Restaurants in Louisiana are expected to generate sales of $8.7 billion in 2016.