At the end of the year, the holiday spirit spreads across companies like wildfire. Charity benefits are held to help those in need, canned food is donated to the hungry and an overall generous attitude is felt throughout the winter months. However, what most don’t realize is that this philanthropic trend is actually a year-round occurrence for the tradeshow industry.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has always been a momentous sector of the tradeshow industry. In fact, in 2010, the Healthcare Convention & Exhibitors Association (HCEA) formed a new CSR Committee to formalize community outreach programs for the organization.
Following the development of the new committee, the HCEA put their CSR abilities into action during this year’s Annual Meeting in June. The association’s volunteers provided support to families through Operation Homefront, an organization that helps families of U.S. military members.
The HCEA also facilitated a program through the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas. The Wynn donated used toiletries to Clean the World, an organization that distributes recycled products to impoverished countries and domestic homeless shelters.
In February 2011, the Teamsters Local 631 All Charity Fund, located in Las Vegas, held its second annual Hacker’s and Slacker’s Golf Tournament at the Silverstone Golf Club. Proceeds from the tournament went toward funding college scholarships for children of Teamsters 631 members.
“We feel it is extremely important to help give our young people the opportunity to pursue higher education, so they might give back to our community in the future,” said Kenny Pietrafeso, event coordinator and chairperson for Teamsters Local 631.
Freeman was another company that demonstrated its philanthropic abilities this year. At the HCEA Annual Meeting, exhibitors were encouraged to stop by the Freeman booth and vote for which New Orleans charity would receive a $10,000 donation.
The Children’s Hospital New Orleans received the most votes and was awarded the donation. Bonnie Helmker, general manager of Freeman New Orleans, presented the check to Children’s Hospital development director Roger Korman on Thursday, July 22 at 10 a.m. in the hospital lobby
“It has been such an honor for Freeman to collaborate with so many well-deserving nonprofit organizations,” said Bonnie Helmker, general manager of Freeman New Orleans. “We congratulate the Children’s Hospital and know they will continue to do great things for this community in the future. Thank you so much to the attendees who helped make this event such a success.”
Also this year, in conjunction with the Randy Smith Memorial Golf Classic, the Southeast Chapter of the Exhibit Designers and ProducersAssociation (EDPA) sponsored the 5th annual Get Out of the Gutter… For a Good Cause charity bowling tournament in August.
Over 126 EDPA members attended the event, which was supported by 21 corporate sponsors, to help raise financial aid for families in the tradeshow industry who are coming on hard financial times.
“We are extremely fortunate to have a very close-knit exhibit family in the Atlanta area. When one hurts, we all hurt,” said Larry Skaar, president of the SE EDPA Chapter. “An event like our bowling tournament brings out the best in everyone. I couldn’t be more proud of the support and spirit demonstrated by each and every participant. We proudly donate the proceeds of this event to the RSMGC.”
Other tradeshow companies, such as Convention Data Services for example, chose to donate the proceeds from their charity golf tournament to animals rather than humans.
The 5th annual Douglas J. Fletcher Memorial Golf Tournament, held in September, raised $27,000 to benefit the National Marine Life Center, an independent, non-profit marine animal hospital and science education center based in Massachusetts. The Marine Life Center’s goal is to rehabilitate stranded aquatic animals and release them back into their natural environments.
Also in September was Orbus’ “Stache for Cash” benefit contest, which helped raise funds for the Andrew Grene Foundation (AGF). Orbus employees were encouraged to solicit sponsors and raise funds while they grew out mustaches
Named after Andrew Grene, who passed away in the 2010 Haiti earthquake, AGF helps support the people of Haiti through education, loans and building projects.
“It was wonderful to see our team come together to support such a worthy cause,” said Giles Douglas, president and CEO of Orbus Exhibit & Display Group.
In October, Derse continued its “Step Outside Your Comfort Zone” campaign by donating over $1,000 worth of shoes to the Shade Tree shelter. Shade Tree is a Las Vegas-based organization that provides a home for women and children who are escaping unsafe conditions and looking to rebuild their lives.
“Meeting the basic needs of each woman and child seeking help from The Shade Tree can be challenging,” said Marlene Richter,
executive director of Shade Tree. “This amazing donation of shoes becomes the solution to a daunting challenge and a blessing to those who cam in seeking shelter with only what they were wearing.”
Services provided by Shade Tree, which include over 100,000 nights of shelter each year, are free of charge, so the organization relies heavily on donations and contributions from the community.
And after spending a year organizing several different charity events, Team Elements participated in the Light the Night walk, held on November 5 in Las Vegas.
In honor of late Elements owner Tim Provo, Team Elements raised over $18,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, a non-profit that helps fund research and rehabilitation for those affected with blood diseases.
“It is our hope that the money raised can find a cure for this horrible disease,” said Alicia Rosen on the Team Elements donation page. “That way no other daughter, son, wife, brother, aunt, niece, nephew, cousin, friend or colleague has to experience the devastating grief we have experienced with the loss of Tim.”
So although some might think the holidays are what kickstart the philanthropic spirit in the tradeshow community, what most don’t realize is that this industry is one that gives back to the world on a 12-month basis.