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Call for Nominations of Franchises Who Give Back


When former International Franchise Association Chairman Steve Romaniello looked at his company’s portfolio, which includes franchise brands, such as Arby’s, Anytime Fitness, Wing Stop, Auntie Anne’s and Massage Envy, he noticed that each individual brand, from franchisor to franchisees, was participating in some sort of charity activity in its local neighborhoods.

That’s when he and Geoff Hill, principal at Roark Capital Group—Romaniello is managing director—came up with the idea to make Franchising Gives Back more than just a once a year on-site activity at the IFA annual convention.

“We noticed a lot of discussion on economic impact” at IFA board meetings, he said. “It dawned on us that there’s a lot of good stuff (franchisors are doing) besides creating jobs.”

What was missing was not the good behavior, but the platform for getting the word out. To that end, Roark has teamed up with the IFA Educational Foundation to put on an awards ceremony honoring “the folks doing the best job.” Awards in five categories will be handed out during the Franchise Action Network annual meeting in Washington, D.C., September 29-30.

“We’re looking for stories on how they’re making an impact on their community,” Romaniello said. “We’re looking for real leaders.” Stories on doing good can come from franchisors, franchisees and suppliers. And self-nominations are OK.

In addition to the recognition event, the Educational Foundation will be creating an annual report and a best practices guide, he said. At the centerpiece is a national registry where franchise companies can log in and record what charitable activities they are involved in and at what level.

Why not just stick to telling their economic impact stories on Capital Hill? Businesses have a moral imperative to give back to the communities they work in, Romaniello said. “We tend to have the resources that can make a difference,” he said about franchise businesses. “You want your community to thrive.”

And yes, he admits, there is a self-serving side to it. But it’s good business as well. It’s always exciting, he added, when social policy and business intersect and the goals are the same.

Nominations are being accepted in five categories: Spirit of Franchising Award, The Newcomer Award, Enduring Impact Award, Support of Our Veterans Award and Innovation and Impact Award. To create a profile for your organization and to nominate someone or some chain, visit www.franchisinggivesback.org.

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at




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