Giving Back: Trade Shows and Venues Do Their Part to Help Communities In Need

October 31, 2022

With mainstream media overflowing with negative news, it’s refreshing to focus on the positivein this case, how the trade show industry is giving back to host communities and lending a helping hand to vulnerable populations. Read on to learn how two trade shows and one leading venue management organization are making a positive difference in the lives of those who need it most.

Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show 

When Hurricane Ian hit Florida in late September, hundreds of restaurants and hotels were destroyed by the catastrophic storm and severe flooding. This impact was felt throughout the restaurant and hospitality industry, including one of its biggest trade shows and conferences: the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show. Show producers Clarion Events immediately leapt into action to find ways that it, as well as exhibitors and attendees, could help support those who were impacted by the disaster. 

During the trade show and conference, which is taking place as planned Nov. 1-3 at the Caribe Royale Resort in Orlando, 100% of attendee registration fees collected, along with financial donations, food, equipment and other items, will be collected and donated to a new disaster relief fund being formed by the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA) and will work to help the hospitality industry’s relief and rebuilding efforts.

“Our thoughts, prayers and support remain with all those impacted by Hurricane Ian and strengthens our commitment to support Florida’s hospitality industry,” said Rita Ugianskis, vice president of the Clarion Events Food & Beverage Group. “After consultation with our association partner, the FRLA, exhibitors, attendees and our venue partner The Caribe Royale, we have made the decision to continue hosting the event next month and take this opportunity to provide direct support for the rebuilding and recovery of our industry.” 

She added, “We invite restaurateurs and professionals in the hospitality industry to register and join us in our support of FRLA’s disaster relief fund. Every registration will go a long way toward helping Florida’s restaurant and lodging community.”  

In collaboration with the FRLA, Clarion Events Food & Beverage Group will make the following changes to the show to support the industry during this difficult time:  

  • All registration fees collected will be donated to FRLA’s new disaster relief fund.  
  • A $50 registration donation fee will provide access to the entire event, including exhibit hall admission, F&B events including networking receptions, the entire conference program and access to both the general session and keynote address. All monies collected will be donated.
  • New content will be added to help the community affected by the storm to navigate the resources needed to begin to rebuild.
  • In addition to the donation of registration fees, the organizations are arranging a product donation effort for all show participants to support colleagues in the Florida hospitality industry. 

Alongside its dynamic expo hall, networking reception, awards, fundraiser and FRLA Gala that the show is known for, the event will offer crisis planning and recovery-themed education sessions, workshops, a keynote and a general session addressing recovery, growth and leadership in uncertain times, as well as disaster recovery-related courses from the FRLA and other leading experts.  

“We’ve been producing trade shows and conferences for over 27 years, and our dedicated teams at Clarion truly immerse themselves in the industries they serve, with a goal to leave the community in a better place, no matter the circumstance,” said Greg Topalian, CEO at Clarion Events North America. “Our efforts in Florida are a true representation of the mission of Clarion, where we are dedicated to those we serve by rising to the occasion and supporting those in times of need.” 

ASM Global and the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority

In September, three Philadelphia undergraduate students were awarded scholarships from the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority and leading venue and event strategy and management provider ASM Global via its inaugural ASM Global Stars Scholarship Program. 

This new scholarship program, which provides educational and career development opportunities through scholarship awards and prospective internships to diverse and under-resourced communities, is a part of ASM Global Acts, a corporate social responsibility platform launched in 2021.

“One of the key pillars of the ASM Global ACTS initiative is investing in people, and at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, we are committed to creating opportunities for the youth in our communities to have access to the resources they need to build their skills for a meaningful career in the hospitality and tourism industry,” said Kelvin D. Moore, regional vice president, ASM Global and general manager at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. 

He added, “We also thank the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority for their continued partnership and the shared mission of making a difference in the communities in which we serve.”

Philadelphia students Vivian Freymoyer, an incoming freshman majoring in food marketing at Saint Joseph’s University, and Michelle Linahan and Daniella Sirleaf, both business majors at the Community College of Philadelphia, were announced as scholarship recipients, along with 22 other students from across the U.S. 

These scholarships were matched by the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority, a generous gesture that has allowed more students to benefit from the award and further support their education and career goals, according to ASM Global officials.  

“The Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority is committed to investing in the future of the hospitality industry,” said John J. McNichol, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority. “Initiatives such as the ASM Global Stars Scholarship Program are closely aligned with the overall mission of the authority and provide a wonderful opportunity to make education more accessible for all. We are proud to support the academic pursuits of these three scholars.” 

NACDS Total Store Expo 

To help divert event waste while giving back to those in need, exhibitors at the recent 

National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Total Store Expo had the opportunity to donate thousands of consumer goods to benefit non-profit organizations in their host community of Boston. 

Held Aug. 27-29 at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC), the NACDS Total Store Expo is the largest gathering of retailers and suppliers in the health and wellness industry.  The show’s much-needed donations included health and hygiene products, including medications, bandages, vitamins, cough syrup and other first aid supplies.   

The donations were made through the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority’s (MCCA) Conventions C.A.R.E.(Community Assistance by Responsible Events) program, which collects clean, non-perishable items donated by exhibitors at the close of an event. Since its founding in 2010, the Conventions C.A.R.E. program has donated over 275 tons of goods to Greater Boston area nonprofits, according to MCCA officials. 

“NACDS supplier and chain members are committed to meeting the needs of patients and consumers—and to giving back to the communities in which they operate,” said Steven C. Anderson, president and CEO of NACDS, which represents traditional drug stores, supermarkets and mass merchants with pharmacies. 

He continued, “As the collective and collaborative will of our membership, NACDS is dedicated to furthering this commitment in the host cities of our meetings and conferences. We are proud to be partnering again this year with MCCA’s Conventions C.A.R.E donation program to help support communities throughout the Greater Boston area.”

Some of the nonprofit social service agencies that benefited from the NACDS contribution include:   

  • Condon Community Center and Elementary School
  • Gavin Foundation
  • South Boston Community Health Center
  • St. Rose of Lima Parish

“I would like to thank NACDS for participating in the Conventions C.A.R.E. program and for the generosity of their exhibitors,” said David Gibbons, MCCA executive director. “These donations will have a meaningful impact on the organizations receiving them, as well as the communities they serve.”  

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Partner Voices
Every day, MGM Resorts hosts organizations and individuals from around the world with a diverse array of business purposes, needs and expectations. But they all have one thing in common—a host committed to making their meetings sustainable and unforgettable through close partnership and responsible meeting practices. Harnessing the Sun Meetings at MGM Resorts are predominantly powered by the sun, thanks to its innovative 100-megawatt solar array. As the largest directly sourced renewable electricity project in the hospitality industry, the solar array features 323,000 panels and produces up to 100% of MGM Resorts’ daytime power needs in Las Vegas.* Built in 2021, the solar array reduces the carbon footprint of meetings—and all of MGM Resorts—while still delivering an enlightening and electrifying guest experience. Leading Water Stewardship Knowing water is essential to operations, guests and employees, MGM Resorts has long employed various conservation measures and has doubled down on its commitment in recent years to become a leading corporate water steward. In 2022, MGM Resorts President and CEO Bill Hornbuckle signed the CEO Water Mandate, a United National Global Compact, becoming the first gaming company to endorse the initiative. The company replaced more than 200,000 square feet of real grass with drought-tolerant landscaping in Las Vegas and pledged to reduce water use by 33% by 2025 and by 35% by 2030. Between 2007 and 2022, MGM Resorts saved more than 6 billion gallons of water through water conservation. Fostering Diversity, Equity & Inclusion MGM Resorts serves a world of diverse people, perspectives and experiences by cultivating a workforce culture that embraces all of humanity. From mindful recruitment and hiring practices to meaningful social responsibility initiatives, MGM Resorts is a welcoming and inclusive space for veterans, individuals with disabilities, people from diverse backgrounds, LGBTQ+ community members and more. The company’s commitment to supplier diversity drives innovation by extending competitive opportunities to local and diverse-owned suppliers, while the MGM Resorts Supplier Diversity Mentorship Program provides diverse-owned businesses tools and resources to enhance and grow their businesses. Paying it Forward MGM Resorts knows that great companies must serve the greater good. That’s why paying it forward is part of its approach to meetings and events. Through the Feeding Forward Program, MGM Resorts collects and preserves unserved and untouched food from conventions held at its properties, then safely donates to food-insecure people through a partnership with Three Square, Southern Nevada’s primary food bank. Since 2016, MGM Resorts has donated more than 3.7 million meals, with a goal of 5 million meal donations by 2025. Donations include unserved perishable prepared foods from events, perishable unprepared food from MGM Resorts’ kitchens and nonperishable food items from minibars and warehouses. From world-class venues and experiences to industry leading responsible meeting practices, MGM Resorts is proud to host meaningful and sustainable events. *Not including The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas