California Hotel & Lodging Association Hospitality Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides scholarships and research in support of excellence among industry employees and hospitality students, to raise the profile of the California lodging industry.


We have a new name and structure. The California Hotel & Lodging Hospitality Foundation is the result of the two largest supporters of hospitality education & scholarship awards in the state – Hotel & Restaurant Foundation (HARF) and California Hotel & Lodging Association Education Foundation – joining forces to support the future of the lodging industry of California.

The Hotel and Restaurant Foundation (HARF) was in discussions with the California Hotel & Lodging Association for about a year. The ultimate outcome of the merger was to ensure the viability and sustainability of the Hotel and Restaurant Foundation in years to come. Foundation funds are to be used solely for scholarships, the fund name remains Hotel & Restaurant Foundation Fund, the new board of directors is independent from the CHLA board after the merger, and the investment strategy has been retained.

The new foundation is overseen by an executive committee whose members are seasoned hospitality industry leaders from some of the largest and most respected hotels in California. The board includes HARF and CHLA Education Foundation directors.

Early History of HARF

The seeds for the Hotel and Restaurant Foundation (HARF) were sown at the first post-war meeting of the California Northern Hotel Association, held in 1946 at the Sonoma Mission Inn.

At that meeting, San Francisco hotelier Harvey Toy pledged $25,000 to City College’s hospitality program. Shortly thereafter, George Smith, owner of Hotel Mark Hopkins, matched that pledge. With donations growing, in 1948 City College of San Francisco (CCSF) faculty and alumni, joined by industry leaders, created the “City College of San Francisco Hotel and Restaurant Foundation.”

In its early years, HARF led fundraising efforts for the construction of all the purpose-built facilities for CCSF’s Hotel and Restaurant Department (now Culinary Arts and Hospitality Studies), including Smith Hall (1955), Statler Wing (1963), Statler Wing extension (1973), and the Alice Statler Library. HARF paid faculty for fellowships, purchased equipment for City College, funded out-of-town student field trips, awarded scholarships, and more. Today, HARF continues to support the Alice Statler Library, the finest hospitality library west of the Rockies and one of the few open to the public.

Recognizing the burgeoning of both associate-degree and baccalaureate programs specific to our industry, in the late 1970’s HARF amended its bylaws to offer scholarships to degree-candidate students enrolled in all hospitality, travel and tourism, and culinary arts programs at Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accredited colleges and universities throughout California.

HARF’s major endowed benefactors ($50,000+) include industry luminaries such as John, Hilda and Mary Louise Gifford, Handlery Hotels, Manny Goodman Memorial, Swig Foundation, George Smith, Hart Smith, Harvey Toy, Hotel Council of San Francisco, Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals, Henry Meyer, and San Francisco Travel.

Since its inception, millions in scholarships have been awarded to thousands of students attending universities throughout California including City College of San Francisco, San Francisco State University, University of San Francisco, Cypress College, California State University East Bay, California State Polytechnic University Pomona, California State University Chico, California State Polytechnic University San Luis Obispo and San Diego State University.

History of CHLA

The California Hotel & Lodging Association is proud to be celebrating over 130 years of protecting the rights and interests of owners and operators across our state.

Since our organization was formed, we have grown from a small social group of only 36 men and women to the most influential state lodging associations in the country. We currently represent more than 2,400 members, which comprise approximately 266,000 guest rooms across California. This great accomplishment could not have happened without the ongoing hard work and dedication of each and every one of our members.

We have continued to help grow the industry by encouraging and helping the future generations of owners and operators. The CHLA Education Foundation, has awarded 256 scholarships to hospitality students since 1996, for a total of $350,000.

By building on the goals and objectives planted in 1893 and cultivated since its inception, CHLA has fulfilled its mission to protect the rights and interests of the California lodging industry for the past 130 years and remains as strong as ever. Today, CHLA is in an impressive financial position – we have reached assets in excess of $4 million that include a reserve of $2 million and are continuing to grow.