Toy Foundation, CSI DMC and ASI Spread Holiday Cheer

December 17, 2019

‘Tis the season for giving, and several event organizations have been doing their part to bring a little holiday cheer to women and children in need this season.

The Toy Foundation Brings Joy to Underprivileged Kids

What child doesn’t want a new toy at Christmas? Earlier this month, The Toy Foundation, the charitable arm of The Toy Association, teamed up with volunteers from Michigan-based toy companies and nonprofits Delivering Good and Variety – The Children’s Charity of Detroit to provide 350 children with toys and fun at a special event held at the Southfield Parks and Recreation Center in Southfield, Michigan.

Children with unique and special needs and those in underserved communities enjoyed appearances by Santa Claus and Paws, the Detroit Tigers mascot, as well as activities like face-painting, bouncy houses and carnival games, and refreshments. The organization also gave away 150 bikes, and each child received new toys and games, from action figures, collectibles and role-play toys to craft kits, remote control vehicles and construction sets. 

toy drive

“The memorable evening encapsulated the true spirit of the holiday season – giving back to those in need and lighting up children’s faces with the gift of toys and play,” said Jean Butler, executive director of The Toy Foundation. “We are so thankful to the toy companies who pitched in by sending toys and volunteers and made this event a huge success – and to all those who help us bring play to millions of children in need throughout the year.” 

More than 1,000 toys were donated for this cause to The Toy Foundation’s Toy Bank by companies including American Plastic Toys, Ann Williams Group, Hasbro, Magformers and New Bright. Volunteers from American Plastic Toys, Ann Williams Group and Magformers helped animate activities and hand out the toys at the event. 

While primarily local Michigan toy companies donated for this cause, The Toy Foundation conducts multiple industry toy drives throughout the year, including at the annual Toy Fair in New York City, to help supply these special giveaway events.

The toy giveaway in Southfield represented the culmination of The Toy Foundation’s 2019 “Holiday Toys Across America” initiative in partnership with Delivering Good. Through this program, the Foundation has impacted thousands of children-in-need throughout the U.S.

“For more than 20 years, this special evening has continued to bring our community together as Variety provides deserving children with the gift of mobility,” said David King, president of Variety. “We are so grateful to our sponsors, partners and supporters for their dedication to making holiday magic with bikes and toys for hundreds of children.”

CSI DMC Donates More Than 100 Professional Outfits for Women in Need


As part of their annual giveback programs, Falls Church, Va.-based event management company CSI DMC recently collected more than 100 professional outfits for Suited for Change, which supplies professional attire, mentoring and job-readiness education at no cost to women in-need looking to increase their employment potential. Through these services, the Washington, D.C.-based organization, which has served 28,000 local women since its founding in 1992, helps enable women to achieve financial independence.

“As a female entrepreneur, I’m a big advocate for supporting and championing women in the workforce,” said Amberlee Huggins, CSI DMC president and CMO. “I’m so appreciative of my staff and colleagues who came together to give back to Suited for Change.”  


ASI Raises Thousands for Homeless Families and Sick Children  

Employees of Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) raised a record $9,000 during the company’s annual holiday gift drive to purchase toys and other gifts for families living in, or recently departed from, a local homeless shelter. 


Using donated funds, team leaders bought gifts that were delivered to the Family Services Associated of Bucks County, Penn., where people could then “shop” for their own families. This was the 15th year that ASI has participated in the gift drive.

In addition, employees raised $1,600 during the company’s 14th annual Photo With Santa fundraiser, which helps the Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia provide housing for families with sick children in area hospitals. 


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Partner Voices
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.