About the NATSO Foundation

The NATSO Foundation is the research, education and public outreach subsidiary of NATSO, Inc.

The foundation is completely autonomous and relies solely on donations. Please consider a donation to the NATSO Foundation to enable the continued success of these programs. Donate to the NATSO Foundation here.

Donate to the NATSO Foundation

The foundation is responsible for:

Providing Education and Research for the Truckstop and Travel Plaza Industry
The NATSO Foundation provides programs and products aimed at strengthening travel plazas’ ability to meet the needs of the traveling public through improved operational performance and business planning including:

The Truck Stops Here Podcast
It is a disruptive time in the fuel business, but The Truck Stops Here podcast is packed with critical analysis on what to expect as well as ideas to propel your travel center business into the future. You'll hear from experts on and off the NATSO staff and directly from NATSO members on what techniques they use to excel. Pull up, grab the fuel nozzle and get ready to fuel up. Listen to the NATSO Foundation’s podcast here.

Bill and Carolyn Moon Scholarship
Industry scholarships are awarded every year under the Bill and Carolyn Moon Scholarship Program to deserving travel plaza employees and their dependents. A travel plaza/truckstop industry employee or the legal dependent of an employee are eligible. More information on the Bill and Carolyn Moon Scholarship Program is available here.

Speakers at NATSO Connect
The speakers provided by the NATSO Foundation at NATSO Connect are chosen for their ability to assist travel plaza and truckstop owners and management in achieving excellence for their industry, customers, communities and society.

18 FAQs on Shop Repair & Truck Washes Toolkit
Truck repair and truck washes can be valuable profit centers that also meet professional drivers’ critical needs, but there are several key factors business owners must consider before expanding into the maintenance and truck wash business. One of the biggest decisions operators must make is whether they should run the shop themselves, outsource it to a local provider, or invite in one of the chain operators to franchise or operate the location. To help operators answer this question and more, the NATSO Foundation worked with industry experts to answer frequently asked questions about these two profit centers in the newly launched 18 FAQs on Shop Repair & Truck Washes Toolkit. Download the toolkit here.

Truckstop and Travel Plaza New Hire Orientation and Training Guidebook 
Employees are at the heart of every truckstop and travel plaza operation, but finding and keeping quality staff can be a time-consuming and challenging process. To help businesses succeed, NATSO has released its updated employee handbook. The Truckstop and Travel Plaza New Hire Orientation and Training Guidebook has been designed to help operators maximize the human resources they need to run their travel plazas successfully. Purchase the Truckstop and Travel Plaza New Hire Orientation and Training Guidebook here.

Truckstop and Travel Plaza Training Manual
Training is an essential element in the success of any operation. To help truckstop operators, the NATSO Foundation offers an electronic Truckstop and Travel Plaza Training Manual. The manual is designed to help operators create their own store- and company-specific operations training manual. Learn more about the NATSO Foundation's Truckstop and Travel Plaza Training Manual.

Stop Watch Magazine
Produced by The NATSO Foundation, Stop Watch magazine delivers in-depth content to assist NATSO members in improving their travel plaza business operations and provides context on trends and news affecting the industry.

NATSO and the NATSO Foundation's website is the daily must-visit source of news, education, data and analysis for truckstop and travel plaza owners.

Over the years, the NATSO Foundation has tackled an ambitious roster of research. Studies completed in the past include:

  • 2022 Professional Driver Buying Behavior At Travel Centers Toolkit
  • 2003 Fueling American Prosperity: How Rest Area Commercialization will Devastate the Economic Contributions of Interstate Business
  • 2001 More Than Fuel: An Analysis of Factors Influencing Non-Fuel Sales at Truckstops and Travel Plazas
  • 1997 Fueling American Prosperity: The Economic Significance of Interstate Business
  • 1995 Factor’s Affecting The Industry
  • 1993 Operating Ratios Study

Providing Safety Initiatives for the Truckstop and Travel Plaza Industry
The NATSO Foundation provides the industry with safety initiatives including:

Anti-Human Trafficking
The NATSO Foundation is committed to working with our members and other transportation sectors to stop all forms of human trafficking in the United States. Learn more about the NATSO’s Foundation’s Anti-Human Trafficking​ work here.

How Truckstops Help People Training Tool
Truckstop owners, operators and employees often find themselves in a position to help people with more than just their basic needs of food, fuel and rest. “How Truckstops Help People” is an online training tool designed to help teach members of the truckstop and travel plaza industry how to respond to requests for help from people in need of assistance in various scenarios.

Amber Alerts
The NATSO Foundation has partnered with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) to offer Amber Alerts reflecting the industry’s commitment to a safe environment for employees and customers. NCMEC and the NATSO Foundation have worked together to produce a list of frequently asked questions on the AMBERT Alert Program from truckstop operators that will help them better support the program. 

High-Risk Child Poster Listserv
NCMEC has developed a High-Risk Child Poster Listserv designed to increase the visibility of missing children at high risk for sex trafficking. Through the listserv, businesses uniquely positioned to help identify missing children considered to be at high risk for sex trafficking can register to receive electronic posters containing their images and other vital information. Truckstop owners and operators can then share these posters with staff or hang them in a location visible to customers. The NATSO Foundation partnered with NCMEC to make the registration form to receive posters available on our website. Learn more here

Park My Truck App
Sunset in 2023, the Truck Parking Leadership Initiative, comprised of the NATSO Foundation, NATSO, Inc., the American Trucking Associations and the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), developed the Park My Truck app based on feedback from professional drivers and trucking companies who often describe truck parking availability as a critical need. The app was sunset in 2023.

History of the NATSO Foundation

The genesis for the organization was a contribution from the Mason-Dixon Truck Stop Operators in January 1989 to be used for an industry scholarship program, and the foundation (originally chartered as the American Truck Stop Foundation) began operation in 1990.

The foundation started Operation Roadblock in 1990, a major initiative dedicated to creating drug-free highways through an assortment of coordinated efforts. A toll-free helpline was established and educational materials and videos were distributed in an effort to foster drug free work places throughout the industry. During its four years, Operation Roadblock succeeded in heightening awareness of substance abuse problems in the minds of professional drivers, travel plaza operators and their employees.

The NATSO Foundation awarded its first scholarships through its Bill and Carolyn Moon Scholarship Program in 1993, created the Drive To Save Lives blood drive program in 1994, published its first research study, Factors Affecting the Travel Plaza Industry through 2004 in 1995, and established its disaster relief program with the Red Cross in 1996. The disaster relief program was retired in 2006 after ten years of providing fuel to Red Cross vehicles assisting families in distress. Over 60,000 gallons of diesel was donated.

The scholarship and research programs are still going strong to this day, serving as a testament to the commitment and caring that is the backbone of the travel plaza industry.

Foundation Partnership Criteria
The NATSO Foundation provides programs and products aimed at strengthening travel plazas’ ability to meet the needs of the traveling public through improved operational performance and business planning. 

The NATSO Foundation periodically considers partnerships to successfully advance and achieve those goals.

The NATSO Foundation Board considers the following questions in determining whether to fund a proposal in collaboration with another organization:

  1. Does the proposal align with our strategic priorities?
  2. Within our funding constraints, will the proposed endeavor make a meaningful impact?
  3. Are there any negative consequences of electing not to collaborate in this instance?
  4. What are the opportunity costs of dedicating resources to this proposal?
  5. Do the capabilities of the proposed partner complement our own organizational capabilities?
  6. What is the reputation, leadership and financial stability of the proposed organization?
  7. What funding is required to sustain this initiative throughout its life cycle?
  8. Will this initiative spotlight the positive work or aspects of our industry?
  9. Does the proposal advance the Foundation’s strategic goals more effectively than the foundation’s existing strategy?

The NATSO Foundation Board only considers partnerships once a year at its Fall Budget Meeting.

Examples of areas the Foundation does not support include:

  • Political campaigns
  • Proposals that have a significant lobbying objective
  • Projects that exclusively serve religious purposes
  • Activities that unduly benefit an individual who has significant influence or control over the foundation (such as members of the board or staff)

NATSO Foundation Bylaws are available here.