Making an Immediate Impact

Author: David McMillin

The PCMA Education Foundation didn’t waste any time distributing the funds it raised at its annual Visionary Awards celebration on May 2. Find out how a portion of the proceeds will make a difference in the lives of students in Washington, D.C.

The PCMA Education Foundation’s Visionary Awards celebration hosting more than 1,000 business events leaders came to a conclusion around 11:00 p.m. on May 2 in Washington, D.C. But not really. The event, which marks the Foundation’s biggest annual fundraiser, will live on with the next generation of business-events professionals in the nation’s capital, thanks to a $10,000 gift given by the Foundation to the American Experience Foundation (AEF).

2018 Visionary Awards

“PCMA believes in leaving a positive footprint in the destinations where we meet,” Meredith Rollins, executive director of the PCMA Education Foundation, said after the event. “We found perfect alignment with American Experience Foundation’s commitment to giving students an opportunity to experience the business-events industry and a potential career path. We’re excited to contribute to the great work of AEF.”


Life-Changing Experiences for Future Experience Designers

Created in 2001 by Destination DC (called the Washington D.C. Convention and Tourism Corporation at the time), AEF develops programs for young students (eighth graders) and rising travel and tourism professionals. As those students inch closer to joining the ranks of the convention and travel industry, AEF also helps them find internships and mentorship opportunities.

“AEF plays a critical role cultivating the next generation of leadership in Washington, D.C.’s hospitality industry,” Elliott Ferguson, president and CEO, Destination DC, told PCMA. “This powerful model exemplifies how a city’s destination-marketing organization can leverage the resources of its member base to provide life-changing experiences to youth.”

So far this year, in January a group of students toured the Grand Hyatt Washington, and in March, 40 students from the DC Academies of Hospitality of Tourism took a behind-the-scenes tour of the Atlantic 10 Conference Men’s Basketball Championship at the Capital One Arena to learn what it takes to plan and execute large-scale sporting events.

Additional opportunities to explore the ins and outs of hospitality careers are being planned for the rest of this year. Claire Carlin, AEF’s executive director and vice president of partnerships & alliances for Destination DC, took part in the Visionary Awards red-carpet festivities, and she looks forward to putting the donation to work.

“We’re especially proud of this contribution from the PCMA Education Foundation and the recognition from our peers in the industry,” Carlin said. “We’ll use these funds to support AEF’s workplace learning and scholarship programs for DC high school students and alumni pursuing careers in hospitality. These resources will also help our field trips for eighth-grade students.”

Interested in learning more and supporting AEF’s mission? Click here. And check out these video highlights of the Visionary Awards.

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