With a mission to help meeting professionals in crisis, several prominent meetings industry leaders have launched The Meetings Industry Fund, a new 501(c)(3) foundation.

The fund will provide financial assistance during times of crisis to individuals who are directly involved in the planning, execution, delivery and support of meetings.​ For example, if a meeting professional out of work and suddenly faces a medical emergency, the fund can be there to help.

The fund was co-founded by David Peckinpaugh, president of Maritz Travel Company; Susan Sarfati, CAE, CEO of High Performance Strategies; Heather Burkee Scherer, president of ATC Travel Management; Neal Couture, director of government procurement law and business programs at the George Washington University Law School; and Chuck Fazio, industry photographer and artist-in-residence of American Forests, who originally conceived the idea.

“Our industry is made up of amazing people and organizations that do fantastic work on behalf of our industry,” Peckinpaugh says. “The one gap we noticed was for an organized effort to help out individuals in crisis, and The Meetings Industry Fund is all about them. We know our industry will pitch in to help our colleagues who have short-term financial needs.”

$100,000 in 100 days

The fund to support meeting professionals has an initial goal to raise $100,000 in the next 100 days, enough to begin to help industry members in need.

“We can support our friends and colleagues in the meetings industry when they need us the most,” Sarfati says. “Our community can give generously to support The Meetings Industry Fund. It’s about helping each other and it doesn’t get much better than that.”

“I have witnessed firsthand the kindness and generosity of industry friends to each other in times of crisis,” Scherer says. “Through a collaborative effort, we hope to provide an even greater level of support to our friends in need.”

“I am personally thrilled that after years of being a vision in my brain, the fund has come to fruition and is now here to help people in an industry that was there for me several years ago when I really needed the help,” Fazio says.

To donate or learn more about the fundraising campaign for meeting professionals, click here.