During the third annual Franchising Gives Back Celebration and Awards Dinner in September, IFA's Franchise Education and Research Foundation honored 18 IFA members--five Gold Award Winners and 13 Silver Award Winners--who collectively donated over $100 million, countless volunteer hours, and in-kind products and services to give back to charities and communities across the country. This is one of my favorite events of the year as it shines a spotlight on the contributions franchise businesses make every day in the places where we work and live.
Since the Foundation launched the yearlong Franchising Gives Back program in 2015, hundreds of franchisors, franchisees, and suppliers have created profiles about their charitable and community support activities, contributing millions of dollars and volunteer hours to their communities.
2017 GOLD AWARD WINNERS
* Spirit of Franchising Award: McDonald's--In 2015, McDonald's launched Archways to Opportunity, an education program that allows U.S.-based restaurant employees the chance to earn a high school diploma, receive tuition assistance, access free education advising services, and learn English as a second language. Nearly 17,000 people have enrolled over the last two years and McDonald's has awarded more than $13 million in tuition assistance. Additionally, there have been more than 100 graduates from the Career Online High School and 5,200 graduates of the English Under the Arches program.
* Enduring Impact Award: The Wendy's Company--In 2004, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption launched Wendy's Wonderful Kids, which awards grants to public and private adoption agencies to hire adoption professionals that create recruitment programs to help families for children who have been waiting in foster care the longest. Over the past five years, Wendy's has raised over $77.6 million for the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and Wendy's Wonderful Kids, helping to finalize over 6,300 adoptions. Wendy's hopes to raise an additional $12 million this year for the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.
* Support Our Veterans Award: Dream Vacations--Since 2012, Dream Vacations (a CruiseOne company) has awarded 25 military veterans free franchises through its "Operation Vetrepreneur: Become Your Own General" annual contest. The goal is to ease veterans' transition back into civilian life with a career opportunity that combines their military skills and travel experiences. To date, Dream Vacations' in-kind donation exceeds...