Home Our Foundation Stories & News Grant Awards by State Book of Giving Grants in Action Apply for a Grant Donate Today

Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation

Our Foundation

Our mission is to impact the lifesaving capabilities, and the lives, of local heroes and their communities.

Our Story

Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation

Founded in 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Our History

Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation was founded in 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Firehouse Subs founders, Chris Sorensen and Robin Sorensen, traveled to Mississippi where they fed first responders as well as survivors. As they traveled back to Florida exhausted and exhilarated, they knew we could do more and the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation was born.

Funding Areas

Lifesaving Equipment

Provide first responders with lifesaving equipment.

Examples: Vehicle extrication tools, automated external defibrillators (AEDs), bunker gear, thermal imaging cameras, automated chest compression systems, vehicle stabilization struts, bulletproof vests, all-terrain vehicles, fire hoses.

Prevention Education

Provide prevention education tools to the public about the importance of public safety in order to prevent disasters in the home and community.

Examples: Fire extinguisher training systems, prevention education materials, programming initiatives to focus on issues such as DUI and distracted driving education, carbon monoxide poisoning, CPR training and accessibility and other relevant safety issues.

Scholarships & Continued Education

Provide financial resources or continued education to individuals pursuing a career in public safety.

Examples: Partner with schools on scholarship programs for individuals pursuing/advancing their career in the public safety sector.

Disaster Relief

Provide assistance and resources during and after natural and man-made disasters such as fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc.

Examples: Feed first responders and survivors and provide lifesaving equipment to first responders to help them better prepare for any future disasters.

Support for Members of the Military

Benefit men and women of the military who have served their country in any of the branches of the United States Uniformed Services.

Grants in Action

First Responder Rescue Stories

Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation


Chris Sorensen and Robin Sorensen founded the non-profit Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation in 2005. They are generous visionaries and the Foundation’s largest individual donors. As members of the Foundation's board of directors, Chris and Robin approve donations for lifesaving equipment and funding for first responders on a quarterly basis. Their philanthropic hearts continue to advance the Foundation's mission.

Robin Sorensen

Board President and Co-Founder

For Robin, his proudest accomplishment is co-founding Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation in 2005. He sits on the Foundation's board of directors and approves donations of lifesaving equipment and funding for first responders on a quarterly basis. Robin's philanthropic heart continues to advance the mission of the Foundation.

Chris Sorensen

Board Secretary and Co-Founder

With more than a decade of experience in the fire service, Chris co-founded the nonprofit Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation. Knowing personally the needs of first responders, Chris is committed to making a difference for the men and women in the fire service and public safety through his philanthropy and board service.

Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation

Board of Directors

Jennifer Adams


A native of Savannah, Georgia, Jennifer graduated from the University of Georgia in 1985 with a Bachelor of Arts in advertising. Shortly thereafter she moved to Jacksonville where her work in broadcast production eventually led her to start CROP Creative Media in 2012. The full-service production company employs 10 people and works with clients including the WTA (Women’s Tennis Association), Web.com, Allstate Benefits, Harrell & Harrell Personal Injury law firm, Wounded Warrior Project and several area advertising agencies. Jennifer serves on the Jacksonville Film and Television Board and has two college-age daughters, Johanna, who attends Flagler College, and Dixie, who attends Florida State University.

Bill Hart


Bill Hart co-founded Retirement Strategies, Inc. in 1994 after working as a bank vice president and life insurance agent. In 2018, he joined Wealth Enhancement Group, one of the nation’s leading independent financial planning and investment firms, through a merger with Retirement Strategies. Bill also supports his community by serving as the Treasurer for the Highlands Precious Gifts Preschool. He formerly taught as an Adjunct Professor in the college of Accounting and Finance at the University of North Florida. He lives in Jacksonville, Florida with his wife of 40 years. He has two daughters and enjoys fishing, boating and traveling

Brian Lee


Brian is a native of northeast Florida, where he started working in public service at the age of 17 as a volunteer firefighter with the St. Johns County Fire & Rescue. For the last 32 years, Brian has continued to serve his community with the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office. Brian currently serves as a chief in the law enforcement. Most precious to Brian is his wife of 30 years, Cheri, and three sons, Tyler, Justin and Jeremiah. The tradition of public service continues in the Lee family with Tyler and Justin serving as St. Johns County Fire Rescue firefighters. Brian’s focus for the future is to continue to serve his community and be an advocate for public safety.

Ed Schultz


Originally from the Chicago area, Ed Schultz is currently a finance executive for a group of insurance companies. He has over 40 years of experience as an accountant, auditor and consultant, including 32 years at Kemper Corporation. Ed lives with his wife of 37 years, Sue. He has two sons and enjoys golf and traveling.

Carlos Aviles


Carlos Aviles proudly serves as fire chief for the City of St. Augustine, Florida. Carlos began his career in the fire service in 2005 after returning from active military service as a military police officer. Carlos is still active in the U.S. Army Reserve with combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. During his time in the fire service, Carlos was certified in HAZMAT, aerial operations, marine rescue, fire safety inspections, pump operations, and worked as a fire service instructor. In addition to his role as fire chief, Carlos also serves as the emergency management coordinator for the City. In his free time, he likes to fish and coach youth football, but most important to him are his wife, Jennifer, and their three children.

Lakesha Burton


Lakesha Burton serves as assistant chief for the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office’s Community Engagement Unit. She is also the executive director of the Police Athletic League of Jacksonville, a non-profit youth-serving organization. Lakesha earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Central Florida in 1997 and a master’s degree in criminal justice/law enforcement administration in 2004. Lakesha is a child safety advocate and has made a difference in the Jacksonville community through her passion and hard work. She enjoys spending time with her husband, Greg, her children and grandchildren.

Robin Gainey


Robin Gainey serves the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department as a district chief for the department’s technical rescue team. Robin received a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the University of North Florida in 2013. Robin is currently serving on the executive board of Local 122 of the International Association of Firefighters as Sergeant of Arms and serves on the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Respiratory Protection Committee. Robin is a native of Jacksonville, Florida and has lived in the area his entire life. He enjoys spending time with his wife and three children.

Chris Holmes


Chris Holmes joined the Firehouse Subs team in 1998 as a franchise owner in Tallahassee, Florida. In 2001, Chris became a Firehouse Subs Area Representative for the Northwest Florida, South Georgia and Southeast Alabama regions. Prior to Firehouse Subs, Holmes spent over 15 years in a variety of leadership roles with different restaurant concepts. Chris enjoys spending time with family including his wife, Lisa, his three children, and two grandchildren.

Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation

Senior Staff

Robin Peters

Executive Director

As Executive Director, Robin Peters helped establish the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation as a highly respected and effective national non-profit entity. Known as the “heart” of Firehouse Subs, the Foundation provides lifesaving equipment and resources to the first responders in communities served by the restaurant chain and beyond through a quarterly grant-making process.

Meghan Vargas

Director of Foundation Development

Meghan Vargas holds a B.S. in Communication, as well as a Graduate Certificate in Non-Profit Management from the University of North Florida. With nearly 10 years of experience with the Foundation, she has advanced from Community Programs Manager to Development Manager to her current position, where she works to increase donations through development campaigns, public relations, special events and strategic partnerships.

Jackie Kotos

Director of Marketing & Communications

Jacquelyn Kotos graduated with a B.A. in Communications from Flagler College in 2011. Since joining the Foundation team in 2012, she has held many positions, including Senior Manager of Foundation Programs, Foundation Programs Manager and Foundation Coordinator. Prior, she interned with the Junior Diabetes Research Foundation.

Gina Brown

Director of Finance & Compliance

Gina Brown received a degree in Finance from Lindenwood University in 1998. Since joining Firehouse Subs in 2011, Gina has risen from a financial services accountant to her current position, where she can exercise her skills in finance management, budgeting and nonprofit organizations.