Rebuilding Communities, One Business Event at a Time

Author: David McMillin       

After Hurricane Harvey dumped record-breaking rain across southeastern Texas at the end of August, PCMA and the PCMA Education Foundation quickly coordinated the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund to offer help to colleagues affected by the deadly storm. Then, Mother Nature proved that she wasn’t finished. Hurricanes Irma and Maria tore through the Atlantic, and three earthquakes that registered above a 6.0 magnitude shook Mexico. “2017 has been a devastating year for our colleagues across the Southeast, the Caribbean, and Mexico,” Deborah Sexton, president and CEO of PCMA, said. “We’ve expanded our fundraising efforts to give more to those whose lives have been impacted by these natural disasters.”

Now, business events leaders can contribute to the PCMA Industry Relief Fund — renamed to reflect that donations collected after Sept. 12 may go to relief efforts outside of Texas. The PCMA community is already helping; in fact, individuals have contributed more than $16,000, as of Monday, October 2. PCMA and the PCMA Education Foundation have both promised to match donations collected from individuals up to $25,000 for additional $50,000 of assistance. Every dollar raised will go directly to business-events professionals who have been affected by the disasters. “It’s been encouraging to see so many members step up to help their peers recover and rebuild,” Sexton said. “The business-events industry has an enormous heart, and we’re seeing the power of that spirit of service come to life when it’s needed most.”

DONATE: The PCMA Industry Relief Fund

Your Next Meeting Can Make an Impact

In addition to individual donations, organizational decisions can also be a significant help in rebuilding efforts. “If you are in the position to do so, I encourage you to talk to your boss, board of directors, constituents, members and/or suppliers,” David Gabri, chairman of Associated Luxury Hotels, wrote to PCMA, “and let them know that you are proactively taking a meeting to an ‘impacted venue’ such as in Southeastern Texas; anywhere throughout the state of Florida; San Juan, Puerto Rico; or perhaps the Bahamas or Mexico. Placing a new program, or even electing to stay the course with a previously booked meeting, at a most-needed and impactful time like this fall and winter, and into next year — when it is logistically viable and safe for your participants to attend — will speak volumes about the character of your organization.”

Gabri continued: “The destination, hotel, and service-company employees and their families will recognize the support at this challenging time. You will see that your staff, your attendees, and your executive committees will recognize the leadership and character of your company, association, organization, or business.”

Are you planning to take a meeting to an impacted destination in the near future? Go to Catalyst to share your story and how your organization plans to help.

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