Who We Are

The CFSF is a 501c3 non-profit organization that serves as the Foundation of Chicago Section IFT. Its purpose is to raise funds for and award scholarships to students intending to work in the food industry.

Our Mission

To develop, promote and support the current and next generation of food and beverage industry professionals through scholarship programs while working in close collaboration with Chicago Section IFT.

Our Vision

To strengthen the science of food within the Chicagoland food and beverage industry to address ever growing global needs.

CFSF will enhance the science of food by:

  • Inspiring all ages to be engaged in food sciences
  • Supporting future and current food and beverage professionals in their endeavors

Leadership Team

Laura Saran
LJS Food Solutions

Upasana Hariram
Mérieux NutriSciences

Michael Gross
Clutch Global Logistics

Melissa McWethy
Tate & Lyle

Board Member
Jenn Farrell

Board Member
John Fenstermacher
Dempsey Corporation

Board Member
Maddie Gerling

Board Member
Courtney Gwinn
Griffith Foods

Board Member
Amy Parks
McCain Foods

Board Member
Linda Perucca
Perucca Advantage Consulting, LLC

Board Member
Katie Potthoff
Kent Precision Food Group

Board Member
Alan Reed
Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network

Board Member
Kantha Shelke
Corvus Blue

Board Member
Tim Stubbs
Dairy Management Inc.

Board Member
Athena Uslander
Silverland Bakery


Auditing Committee

Provide oversight of the financial reporting process, the audit process, the foundation’s system of internal controls and compliance with laws and regulations. Responsible to oversee the internal controls and risk-management procedures.

Responsible for review of tax filings.

Committee Members

  • Debbie Schodrof, Chair
  • Azad R Lakhani
  • Athena Uslander

Development Committee

Develops and executes fundraising to support additional scholarship giving and raise awareness of the Foundation. This includes the Golf Outing, fun events, and other fundraising activities conducted each year.


  • Corporate Giving: Responsible for identifying and developing relationships with other businesses, organizations, endowments, and foundations. Programs include website and event sponsorship and direct donations.
  • Events: Responsible for organizing fundraising and awareness events such as a Silent Auction, Trivia Night, or events held in conjunction with the Supplier’s Expo and other CSIFT happenings. The events organized may change each year as new ideas are brought forward by the team.
  • Golf Outing: Plans the yearly Golf Outing in August to raise funds for scholarships.
  • Individual Giving: Identification of ways for individuals to give back to their profession community.

Committee Members

  • Amy Parks, Chair
  • Tim Stubbs, Chair
  • John Fenstermacher
  • Megan Gusick
  • Julie Hess
  • Kat Kitchen
  • James Nasella
  • Tarun Philar

Finance Committee

Provides guidance and assistance in policy and procedures of the foundation’s finances. Acts as a review board for the annual budget.

Responsible for establishing policy and overseeing the management of the investment of all funds at the Foundation.

Committee Members

  • Chris Bigall, Chair
  • Adam Gelfeld
  • Michael Gross

Giving Committee

The Giving Committee will be responsible for reviewing, recommending and evaluating all of the scholarship, donations and giving activities made by the foundation.


  • Scholarship (Competitive, Freshman, JBT, RAP)
  • Invest in the Future (4H, IFT Educator Program,etc)

Committee Members

  • Ariel Cavazos, Chair
  • Linda Perucca, Chair
  • Dawn Bodin
  • Natalie Hagg
  • Nathan Libbey
  • Dawn Manthei

Governance Committee

Responsible for periodic review of the operating policies and procedures of the Foundation and for making recommendations for any changes to the Board of Trustees.

Committee Members

  • Shawn Gebhardt, Chair
  • Jenn Farrell
  • Cynthia Goody
  • Courtney Gwinn
  • Brandon Holder

Marketing Committee

The Marketing Committee will be responsible for developing and maintaining a formal marketing/public relations plan and branding strategy for the Foundation. This committee will oversee the Foundation’s website and social media presence and assist with all forms of Foundation publications.

Committee Members

  • Maddie Gerling, Chair
  • David Lee, Chair
  • Candace Cage
  • Alice Moon
  • Nique Tyler
  • Sarah Osterbur
  • Melissa Wang

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