When emergencies happen, meeting professionals are often the first to step up to help. Whether it is a natural disaster—hurricane, fire or flood—personal challenge or social cause, hoteliers and planners leverage their resources, relationships and project management superpowers to make good things happen.
That caring nature is embodied in a multitude of foundations that make it their business to take care of others. If you or your organization makes it a practice to give back this time of year, these groups can help leverage your donations of time and money to make a difference on a bigger stage.
This philanthropic organization by event professionals for event professionals in need raises funds—fittingly—by producing memorable events and through monthly $100 donation pledges. A Boujee Basement at The Special Event Conference in January in San Diego and Search 5280 in Denver at ILEA Live dinner in 2018 made it possible for the organization to help fellow planners facing challenges. The group has been helping out in times of need for more than two decades. Whether it is a personal illness or a natural disaster, Search Foundation jumps into action quickly to help with financial needs. It is a visible sign of the warm heart of the community. searchfoundation.org
The charitable arm of Meeting Professionals International, it raises money through numerous channels, including the signature Rendezvous event at IMEX and IBTM, as well as corporate donations to fund education in the form of grants and scholarships (more than $400,000 in 2018) to attend conferences and programming at the local chapter level. Last year, that included support for training on event design and work with IACC’s Meeting Room of the Future research. mpi.org/about/foundation
Educational scholarships are also the focus for PCMA’s nonprofit group. To elevate the next generation of meeting professionals, scholarships offer up-and-coming planners a year of experiences, including a business-events boot camp, travel expenses to PCMA Convening Leaders and Education Conference, and access to online training. More than $600,000 was given in 2018, thanks to donations from more than 2,000 individuals and 250 organizations. PCMA Industry Relief Funds directs donations to disaster victims—a recent example was in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas. foundation.pcma.org
The collective generosity of the association community is directed through ASAE Foundation to conduct research to help members be more effective through its ForesightWorks trend-spotting and individual research projects. At the same time, the organization brings members together to share best practices and learn from each other. foundation.asaecenter.org
Destinations International Foundation
This CVB collective advances the industry through research such as DestinationNext Futures Study and Weaponization of Travel Study; advocacy; and investment in young professionals through an apprenticeship program. The Spirit of Hospitality Celebration brings members together to support initiatives for the global travel industry. destinationsinternational.org/about-foundation
Funds raised through donations and flagship events such as SITE Classic go to research, education and advocacy. More than $250,000 has been raised to make the business case for incentive travel and highlight the transformational potential of travel experiences on individuals, enterprises and communities. Research and case studies about incentive travel are distributed through SITE’s Motivate site. Much of the work is done through partnerships, including the annual Incentive Travel Industry index, supported by SITE Index, IRF Outlook and FICP. siteglobal.com/foundation
The Above and Beyond Foundation
When it is time to give a big thank you to the tireless hotel employees who staff events, set up tables, serve the carved roast beef and dim the lights at the end of the day, The Above and Beyond Foundation steps in. It recognizes and rewards outstanding individuals employed in the hospitality industry by providing grants to help them attain their personal and professional goals and better their lives. The volunteer organization manages a turnkey CSR program called Boomerang! that asks meeting professionals to nominate outstanding individuals for a $10,000 grant in the name of the host company. taabf.org