The International SPA Association Foundation is the 501(c)3 foundation of the International SPA Association and was created in 1999 to serve the educational and research needs of the spa industry. The ISPA Foundation's mission is to improve and enhance the value of the spa experience; its vision is to advance spa culture to sustain health and well-being.

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Improve and enhance the value of the spa experience.


Advance spa culture to sustain health and well-being.


The purpose of the ISPA Foundation is:

  • To promote the public welfare through the advancement of physical fitness, medical and wellness care, and professional spa services;
  • To encourage, provide for, and engage in professional study and research related to lifestyle and health enhancement from physical fitness, dietary practices, spa services, and educational programs and scholarship programs;
  • To improve the quality and increase the availability of professional spa services, medical and wellness care, conventional and complementary therapies and treatments, and related educational programs.

Core Values

  • Visionary leadership that is always open to new ideas
  • Integrity evidenced by ethical, honest and credible behavior
  • Nurturing the wellness of society and the environment
  • Commitment to spa management as a profession


  • Establish the Foundation as the educational source for the spa industry.
  • Establish definitive research validating spa industry-related topics.
  • Create an endowment that sustains the Foundation in perpetuity.

ISPA Foundation Board

  • Frank Pitsikalis - ISPA Foundation Chairman
  • Patrick Huey - ISPA Chairman
  • Michelle Adams Somerville - ISPA Vice Chairman
  • Lynne McNees - ISPA President
  • Brent Bauer, MD - Medical Advisor
  • Deborah Szekely - Honorary Board Member

The ISPA Foundation works to extend and promote a healing touch to communities around the world using new and innovative methods. By supporting and funding forward-thinking individuals and organizations, the foundation establishes new initiatives that will enhance health and wellness.

Foundation Initiatives

Research & Curriculum

The annual ISPA U.S. Spa Industry Study and Consumer Research initiatives are made possible by the generous supporters of the ISPA Foundation. Additionally, the ISPA Foundation has begun the process of instituting a full-fledged spa management curriculum for institutions of higher learning, several of which have already adopted the introductory text for use in a comprehensive spa management course. Click here to view all the tools and textbooks created by the Foundation.

ISPA Foundation Mary Tabacchi Scholarship

Mary Tabacchi Scholarship

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and mass closures of spas across the globe, the ISPA Foundation Mary Tabacchi Scholarship Committee made an adjustment to the process for 2020. Please see a message from the ISPA Foundation Chairman below. If you have any questions surrounding this process or would like an update on when the scholarship will reopen, please contact

Thank you for the continued interest in serving the spa industry. As ISPA Foundation Chairman, I wanted to share a quick update on the 2020 Mary Tabacchi Scholarship. Due to these unprecedented circumstances leading to prolonged closures and major employment shifts within our community, we  have made the difficult decision to postpone the Mary Tabacchi Scholarship process for 2020. Once we have successfully moved forward, beyond this pandemic, the process will resume. We encourage you to keep an eye on ISPA communications for helpful resources and of course for any announcements regarding scholarship availability.  

Stay safe and strong!
Frank Pitsikalis
ISPA Foundation Chairman

Dr. Howard Murad Research Grant

Made possible through a donation from Dr. Howard Murad, the Foundation is hoping to discover solutions to the constant stresses of today’s hurried world. Widely acknowledged as one of the country's foremost visionaries in the field of total mind, body and spiritual wellness, Dr. Murad is also an innovator in research concerning the effects of cultural stress - a term used by him to describe the cumulative physical and mental effects resulting from the seemingly minor stress points in everyday life. By funding research into this relatively new area, we believe the negative effects of stress can be minimized to help us all live healthier, balanced lives.


Donations are tax deductible to the extent allowable by law and may be designated to one of the following areas of giving:

  • Education & Outreach Fund
  • ISPA Foundation Mary Tabacchi Scholarship Fund
  • Ruth Stricker Spa & Wellness Award
  • Dr. Howard Murad Research Grant Fund

There are a variety of ways to financially contribute to the ISPA Foundation that provide benefits both to you and the Foundation. Giving opportunities may also be customized to meet your interests. The ISPA Foundation would be pleased to work with you and your personal advisors to find the method that fits your needs and wishes, as well as ensure any technical requirements are met.

Donate Now    ISPA Foundation Gift Form

There are additional ways you can contribute and support the Foundation, such as participating in ISPA Foundation events, volunteering your time and knowledge and purchasing ISPA Foundation materials. Through the generous contributions and support of ISPA Foundation donors, the Foundation has the power to move, grow and endure with lasting impact.

Foundation Research Sponsors