During the past 35 years, the IFA Foundation has made a tremendous impact on the franchising community. Countless volunteer leaders have dedicated an immense amount of time and resources creating the organization that we see today, and I'm proud to have witnessed its growth and evolution since I became involved in the 1990s.
Furthermore, each program the IFA Foundation has developed--from VetFran to NextGen in Franchising--is focused on helping others and giving back to the community. In this way, the Foundation has played an integral role in protecting, enhancing and promoting franchising.
As we celebrate the IFA Foundation's 35th anniversary, please join me in recognizing the history, people and programs that have made the Foundation what it is today.
The IFA Foundation was established in 1983. Dunkin' Donuts founder Bill Rosenberg, who was instrumental in the founding of IFA, also was a driving force in the early years of the Foundation, along with Arthur Karp, co-founder of the Great American Chocolate Chip Cookie Company, who served as the Foundation's first chair from 1985 to 1990. In the early days, the Foundation's mission aligned closely with IFA's strategic goals. Over time, as more volunteer leaders became involved and the number of donations grew, the Foundation identified new ways to expand on IFA's mission, developing broader programs that addressed specific needs within franchising.
Following an effort led by Kathryn Morgan and a team of IFA members, with the help of representatives from the Wharton School of Business--which had developed the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) program--the IFA Foundation Board of Trustees created the Institute of Certified Franchise Executives in 1991. The program has reached thousands of franchise executives by providing education and professional development tools and, to date, has seen more than 2,000 graduates and candidates. As the first franchisee to earn my CFE, I've seen ICFE's astonishing growth and how focused IFA and Foundation leadership is on continuing to improve the program.
Founded in 2001, the Diversity Institute assists women, minorities and others seeking business ownership opportunities and careers in franchising. It began as an outgrowth of work by IFA's Minorities in Franchising Committee and has since helped foster diversity and inclusion in the franchising community, assisting IFA members in expanding their diversity recruitment and multi-cultural marketing efforts at all levels--franchisees, employees, suppliers and...