IFA’s 53rd Annual Convention Rallies to Give Back



More than 100 franchisees and franchise executives spent Saturday afternoon volunteering for the Saint Therese Center at the second annual Franchising Gives Back service project during IFA’s 53rd Annual Convention. The Las Vegas non-profit provides educational and social services to those affected by HIV/AIDS. The Center assists 3,500+ individuals affected by HIV/AIDS monthly. On any given day, Saint Therese’s Food Pantry can see up to 100 clients in need.

The participants prepared 2,000 hygiene kits and 1,000 boxes of food for the Center’s clients.  Father Joseph O’ Brien, Executive Director of Saint Therese and a Dominican priest for over 35 years, said the kits and boxes could serve the center’s clients for a month.  “It’s wonderful to have companies here, it is wonderful what IFA is doing,” he said.

IFA’s incoming Chairman of the Board and Managing Director of Roark Capital, Steve Romaniello, was a driving force behind the creation of Franchising Gives Back, along with Roark colleague Geoff Hill. “We tout franchising’s impact through advocacy, but the bigger impact franchising has is through our franchisors and franchisees working every day in their local communities,” said Romaniello. Geoff Hill expressed his satisfaction in participating in the community service project, “this is a family and Franchising Gives Back gives us the chance to get to know each other in a different way. Giving is essential to the human spirit,” he said.

Joe Lindenmayer of TSS Photography echoed Romaniello and Hill’s sentiments. “This is what the franchise community should be doing. Our franchisees work in their communities every day and we should do the same.”

Brian Sommers of Jersey Mike’s Subs, which provided lunch for all participants, said, “It is great to see franchising’s CEO’s and leaders rolling up their sleeves and coming together.”

Father Joseph lauded IFA’s outreach, “you are helping an amazing group of people. Thank you so much for being here.” Saint Therese serves over 5,000 men, women and children including 876 HIV positive clients under 18 with a staff that is itself 95 percent HIV-positive.  The Center has been in existence for 15 years and is the only pantry focused on HIV in the region. Jacob Murdock from the United Way of Southern Nevada, which coordinated the event, said, “This means so much to United Way and so much to Las Vegas.”

“The franchise industry is committed to serving the communities that support us,” said IFA President & CEO Steve Caldeira. “Franchising Gives Back is a natural extension of the work our industry does in their local communities every day.”

Click here to view IFA’s Franchising Gives Back photo album!