LRA Education Foundation Announces 2015 Leadership

Metairie, LA— The Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation (LRAEF) is pleased to announce its 2015 Board of Directors, which will oversee the mission and goals of the LRAEF.

The LRAEF, a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, is the philanthropic arm of the Louisiana Restaurant Association and exists to enhance the community through expanded educational and career opportunities, the formation of strategic partnerships and the elevation of the restaurant industry’s professional standards and practices.

The Board of Directors is responsible for overseeing LRAEF programs, including ProStart® and the LRAEF Scholarship Fund. ProStart is a nationwide, two-year program for high school students that develop the best and brightest talent into tomorrow’s industry leaders. Recently, the LRAEF, through its ProStart Support Fund, awarded $50,000 to eligible high schools. The Board of Directors also awards LRAEF scholarships annually to students pursuing a culinary education. Since 2010, the LRAEF Scholarship Fund has awarded more than $200,000 to 64 students. These funds are raised in large part from the nine LRA chapters, through their annual fundraising events and annual sponsorships.

The 2015 LRAEF Board of Directors’ three new members are:

  • Dave Merchant, BJ’s Pizza, Alexandria
  • Paul Rotner, Acme Oyster House, Metairie
  • Rocky Weigand, Coca-Cola, Harahan

They are joining current members:

  • Lenny Raymond, Chair- Ben E. Keith
  • Donna Stephenson, Vice Chair- ATMOS Energy, Monroe
  • Peter Sclafani, Secretary/Treasurer- Ruffino’s Restaurant, Baton Rouge
  • Helen LeBourgeois, Immediate PastChair- TLC Linen Services, New Orleans
  • Dwight Barnes- Crescent Crown Distributing, New Orleans
  • Octavio Mantilla- Besh Restaurant Group, New Orleans

And Ex-Officio members:

  • Matt Massey, Industry Representative- Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, Lafayette
  • Tony Abadie, LRA Chair- Hilton New Orleans Riverside
  • Stan Harris, LRA President & CEO
  • Alice Glenn, LRAEF Executive Director

“The LRAEF is excited to begin another great year with our dedicated board members,” said LRAEF Executive Director Alice Glenn. “Our directors volunteer countless hours throughout their tenure to the advancement of the Foundation and we are so very grateful.”

The LRAEF is grateful to the nine LRA chapters and its LRAEF sponsors: 5 Diamond—Acme Oyster House, Auto-Chlor Services, Louisiana Hospitality Foundation, Louisiana Restaurant Association, Louisiana Seafood and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation; 4 Diamond—Performance Foodservice-Caro; 3 Diamond—Atmos Energy, Camellia Brand, Drago’s Seafood Restaurant, Louisiana Culinary Institute, New Orleans Wine & Food Experience and Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers; 2 Diamond—Louisiana Gas Association, Whole Foods Market and Chef Paul Prudhomme’s “Sea of Hope.”

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

As the philanthropic foundation of the Louisiana Restaurant Association, the LRA Education Foundation exists to enhance our community through expanded educational and career opportunities, the formation of strategic partnerships and the elevation of our professional standards and practices.

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 employer, providing jobs to nearly 200,000 residents. Restaurants in Louisiana are expected to generate sales of $7.3 billion in 2015. Get up-to-date news about the LRA and the restaurant industry from