Fueled by the Foundation: Making College Dreams Come True

Author: David McMillin       

More than 270 meeting professionals and suppliers gathered at Pickwick & Frolic in Cleveland on June 11 for the PCMA Education Foundation’s third edition of the Give Back Bash, but Meredith Rollins, executive director of the organization, said that the evening’s main objective extended beyond the midnight curfew. “It’s all about leaving something behind in the community,” Rollins said. “We’re always looking for ways to contribute to initiatives that tie into our education mission.”

For the 2018 Education Conference, Rollins found the right opportunity with a $10,000 donation to College Now Greater Cleveland. The organization works with young students to create a “college-going” culture, and it also aims to engage adult learners. “Part of the mission is to provide assistance to people who want to go back and finish their degrees,” Rollins said. “While the Foundation has a focus on delivering education to up-and-coming hospitality and events students, we’re also passionate about empowering all people to learn and advance their careers — whatever those careers may be.”

The three-hour networking event featured bingo, board games, and music from Tomar & the FCs, a soul band from Austin, Texas. With support from Visit Austin and the Austin Convention Center, Visit Tampa Bay, and Visit Omaha, Rollins said part of the aim at this year’s Give Back Bash was to differentiate the event from the Foundation’s main winter get-together, Party With a Purpose at Convening Leaders. “It felt like more a lounge with a seated performance,” Rollins said. “It established a more relaxed approach to the evening.”

To help attendees avoid the negative effects of the late night, the Education Foundation also aimed to appeal to health-conscious attendees with a morning 5K and another morning yoga session. “We’re going to make yoga a regular occurrence in the future,” Rollins said. “A lot of our attendees are looking for wellness and meditation opportunities.”

The Education Conference was the start of the Education Foundation’s busy summer. At the upcoming Partnership Summit later this month, Rollins and her team will do more than raise money for the future of meetings. Click here for a preview of the education that will be offered at the event.

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