Industry groups support elevation of the community

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.

Search Foundation

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.

MPI Foundation

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.

PCMA 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.

ASAE Foundation

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.

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.

SITE 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.

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.

Hotels Give Back

Where would meeting planners be without hotel partners? When it comes to making a difference, hoteliers have stepped up in ways large and small.

Marriott International’s corporate mission includes serving the world through volunteerism, fund-raising, direct and in-kind donations to combat poverty and hunger, and advance health and well-being, education, gender equality and sustainable communities.

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During the holidays, Marriott properties across the country facilitate participation in Toys for Tots and Children’s Center donation drives, holiday dinners for the homeless (Hotel Northland, Autograph Collection works with New Community Shelter in Green Bay, Wisconsin, for instance), winter coat distribution (Courtyard Minneapolis St. Paul Airport and Delta Hotels Minneapolis Northeast work with The Twin Cities Salvation Army) and packing meals for those in need (Courtyard Cincinnati Covington and Renaissance Cincinnati Downtown work with The Freestore Foodbank).

Hyatt Hotels Corporation takes a holistic view of improving the communities where they operate by encouraging volunteerism and charitable giving by colleagues, owners and guests in addition to grants made through Hyatt Hotels Foundation. During Global Month of Service in April, the focus of 250,000 volunteer-hours globally is on education, career readiness, wellness and environmental conservation projects at the community level.

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Hilton Hotels & Resorts’ Travel with a Purpose program includes a commitment to cut the company’s environmental footprint in half by 2030, using science-based targets. The brand has also set a goal of opening the doors of opportunity to 1 million young people from all backgrounds by year’s end and ensuring an inclusive supply chain for women, minorities, veterans and LGBTQ-owned businesses.

Omni Hotels’ dedication to Local Market Leadership takes the form of job programs, training, charity walks and food drives. As part of the company’s “Say Goodnight to Hunger” campaign, it will donate a meal to a family in need for each night’s stay.

Caesars Entertainment has invested $69.2 million and 1.5 million volunteer hours in the communities where it has properties as part of its People, Planet, Play program. That CSR commitment includes a move to include women in 43 percent of management roles and a more than 23 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from its 2011 level.

MGM Resorts is also focusing on inclusion and sustainability. By 2025, the company aspires to reduce carbon emissions by 45 percent, energy by 25 percent and water usage by 30 percent. By that same deadline, the company is expanding its Supplier Diversity Mentorship Program to ensure at least 10 percent of domestic biddable purchases are awarded to diverse suppliers and 100 percent of management employees are trained on social impact policies and goals. MGM is on track to surpass 1 million volunteer hours and $100 million raised through employee donations by the middle of the next decade. Five million meals will go to those in need during that time.

How are you giving back? Share with us at #MeetSmart on social media.