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Largest Donation in Educational Foundation’s History Establishes College Scholarship Fund

Lawrence “Doc” Cohen

Lawrence “Doc” Cohen

$4,500 annual scholarship will be provided to a college student with a major or primary focus in one or more areas of study.

The International Franchise Association’s Educational Foundation has received a $300,000 donation from Lawrence “Doc” Cohen, CFE, to establish a scholarship for students studying franchising. “Not only is this an extremely generous gift, it is the largest personal donation the foundation has received in its history,” said Educational Foundation President John Reynolds, CFE.

“The association and the whole franchise community are deeply grateful to Doc Cohen for his boundless generosity and support,” said IFA President and CEO Steve Caldeira, CFE.

Cohen is president and CEO of Cookie Associates, a leading multi-unit franchisee of Great American Cookies, PretzelMaker, The Coffee Beanery and TCBY. Cohen is an IFA past chairman (2006) and the recipient of IFA’s prestigious Hall of Fame award (2010). He was also inducted as the first member of the Great American Cookies Hall of Fame. Active in IFA, Cohen has served as IFA treasurer and chaired various IFA committees, including the Franchisee Forum, Convention Committee, FranPAC Advisory Board and Finance Committee. He was the first franchisee to earn the Certified Franchise Executives or CFE designation. Cohen served as founding president of Great American Cookie’s franchise advisory council and has been honored by the company as Franchisee of the Decade. Prior to becoming a franchisee, Cohen was a pharmacist and attorney.

“I have always felt it important to give something back to the business model that has meant so much to my success,” said Cohen. “Franchising has made it possible for me to achieve my American Dream and I am grateful that I can share that success with an up and coming future entrepreneur.”

The donation establishes the “Doc Cohen Franchising Scholarship Fund.” The fund will be administered by the IFA Educational Foundation and will provide a $4,500 annual scholarship to a college student with a major or primary focus in one or more of these areas of study: business, finance, marketing, food service, hospitality, franchising or entrepreneurship. Student applicants must provide an academic record, letters of reference, and an essay addressing their career goals and interest in franchising. Special consideration will be given to winning team members in the annual high school and college franchising competitions organized by DECA. The scholarship winner also receives a complimentary registration to attend the IFA Annual Convention.

Courthey Olesh

Courthey Olesh

First Scholarship Winner

The first winner of the Doc Cohen Franchising Scholarship is Courtney Olesh, who is currently a senior at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Kent, Ohio. Olesh finished first in the Entrepreneurship Franchising Event at DECA’s International Career Development Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. Olesh has applied to Yale University and plans to major in business. As part of the DECA competition, her franchise business plan was modeled on 101 Mobility, a franchisor that sells, installs and services mobility equipment for seniors and others with disabilities. Olesh worked with the franchisor in the development of her plan. She cites her involvement in DECA, and the IFA-sponsored Franchising Event, as the reason for pursuing an entrepreneurial career through franchising.

“My involvement in DECA helped me realize my dream of being an independent franchise owner,” Olesh said. “The results of my research and experiences gained through writing my business plan showed me that I have the passion, drive and ability to become a successful franchisee,” she said. ⎯

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