Recognizing a need to help people in crisis in the meetings industry, several prominent meetings industry leaders have launched The Meetings Industry Fund, a new 501(c)(3) foundation.
The mission of the Fund is to 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 Meetings Industry Fund can be there to help.
Fund board members include 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 of Chuck Fazio Photography.
"Our industry is made up of amazing people and organizations that do fantastic work on behalf of our industry,” Peckinpaugh explains. “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.”
Sarfati answers the question of whether the Fund will achieve its $100,000 fundraising goal with an emphatic “Yes we can! We can support our friends and colleagues in the meetings industry when they need us the most. 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.”
Scherer adds, “I have witnessed firsthand the kindness and generosity of industry friends to each other in times of crisis. Through a collaborative effort, we hope to provide an even greater level of support to our friends in need.”
The Fund launched a “$100,000 in 100 Days” initial fundraising campaign, and Stephanie Pace Brown, executive director of ExploreAsheville, made the first donation of $500 to the Fund on September 9, 2015. “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. “Our 100-day initial fundraising campaign deadline is December 15. Let’s all step up and make this happen!”
The Fund website at www.themeetingsindustryfund.org has details on how to donate, how to apply for assistance, the people behind the Fund, and frequently asked questions