Need Ideas for Giving Back? Look No Further Than These Event Organizations

February 27, 2019

Myriad event-related companies and organizations are demonstrating their cultures of compassion by donating their time, money and energy to causes that make a difference. Here are four carrying out initiatives that might just inspire your own CSR programming.

International Home + Housewares Show Celebrates Philanthropy

At its upcoming 2019 Annual Housewares Cares Charity Gala, taking place March 4 during the 2019 International Home + Housewares Show at McCormick Place in Chicago, the Housewares Charity Foundation will honor four industry veterans for their philanthropic endeavors.

Honorees include Wayfair co-founders Niraj Shah and Steve Conine, who will receive the Humanitarian of the Year Award; Ulta Beauty CEO Mary Dillon, who will be awarded the Legacy Humanitarian Award; and William A. Foley, chairman and CEO of Libbey, who will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award.                   

Proceeds from the Gala, which will be held at Navy Pier, will benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the HCF’s legacy charity, as well as the James Beard Foundation. 

Since the first gala in 1998, HCF has raised more than $50 million and has been credited with donating more than $29 million to BCRF. Since 2000, HCF has funded 120 BCRF research projects.  

Visit Phoenix and RCMA Team Up to Support Childhood Literacy

Visit Phoenix partnered with the Religious Conference Management Association to collect nearly 400 children’s books during the EMERGE 2019 conference, held Jan. 29-31 at Sheraton Greensboro Hotel and Joseph S. Koury Convention Center in Greensboro, North Carolina. 


The books were donated to a local domestic violence shelter for women and their children.

EMERGE featured a two-day trade show, four keynote sessions, 30 educational sessions and community service opportunities in the Greensboro community. 

Participating in efforts to give back to local communities is part of a greater collective effort among Phoenix’s downtown partners called “Faith in Phoenix,” which started 10 years ago. 

According to Donn Oswald, director of Midwest sales for Visit Phoenix, the initiative’s mission is to establish Phoenix as the premier religious conference and meetings destination in the West.

“The Greater Phoenix area is known for warm, Southwest hospitality, and it’s important to us that we give back to the communities that we visit ourselves throughout the year and continue that tradition,” Oswald explained.

American Bus Association Helps Equine Workers at Famed Racetrack

When the American Bus Association returned to Louisville, Kentucky, for its 2019 ABA Marketplace, held Jan. 26-29 at Kentucky International Convention Center, the association brought more than 3,500 tour operators, suppliers and exhibitors to the Southern city — it also brought a lot of heart. 

ABA Gives Back is a program that encourages donations throughout the convention to benefit a local nonprofit organization. Donations are made through various purchases on the showfloor and at the popular ABA Gives Back evening event. 

This year’s benefits went to Backside Learning Center, a non-profit organization that builds community and enriches the lives of equine workers and their families at the famous Churchill Downs racetrack.

Created in 2007 to deliver a positive economic impact as well as a social impact in its host communities, this annual charitable campaign has so far raised more than $347,000 for local charities.

At 2019 ABA Marketplace, attendees had access to unique donation opportunities and events throughout the show, culminating in an event at the Kentucky Derby Museum boasting more than 2,000 attendees. 

Opportunities to help raise money for the Backside Learning Center through various purchases and activities included:

           • Commemorative Evan Williams bourbon bottles

           • Souvenir ABA mint julep cups

           • Local Louisville vendor area on the show floor

           • Raffle to win 2019 Kentucky Derby tickets

           • A photo opportunity with jockey Pat Day

           • An opportunity to meet a thoroughbred racehorse

“We hope to put these donations toward a 12-passenger van to transport the students and adults offsite for educational opportunities and activities,” said Backside Learning Center Executive Director Sherry Stanley. “We are so thankful for all ABA and Louisville Tourism have done for us.”

Orbus Helps Wildlife and Children In Need

Last year was a philanthropic one for Orbus Exhibit & Display Group, a North American wholesale supplier and manufacturer of display, exhibit, graphic and event solutions.

The company raised more than $14,000 for Project C.A.T., a global effort launched by Discovery in partnership with World Wildlife Fund to conserve protected land and double the number of tigers in the wild by 2022. 

Orbus encouraged participation in a number of fundraisers throughout 2018 to benefit the project, resulting in an impressive $14,000 donation to the cause.

Late last year, Orbus employees also organized and contributed to the DuPage County Toys for Tots program by hosting a drive and collecting new, unwrapped toys for children.

Since 1947, Toys for Tots has distributed 548 million toys to support 251 million children.  The DuPage County program collects 60,000-80,000 toy donations annually. 

This marked the fifth consecutive year that Orbus has collected and donated to the program.


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Partner Voices
Overview: The award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) goes the extra mile to make every day extraordinary by offering customer service excellence and industry-leading partnerships. From their dedicated in-house Rigging team to their robust Exhibitor Services, The Center of Hospitality brings your imagination to life by helping you host unforgettable meetings and events. With more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space, world-class services and a dream destination, we are committed to making even the most ambitious conventions a reality. In October 2023, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve allocating Tourist Development Tax funding for the $560 million Phase 5A completion of the OCCC. The Convention Way Grand Concourse project will include enhancements to the North-South Building, featuring an additional 60,000 square feet of meeting space, an 80,000- square-foot ballroom and new entry to the North-South Building along Convention Way. “We are thrilled to begin work on completing our North-South Building which will allow us to meet the growing needs of our clients,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “As an economic driver for the community, this project will provide the Center with connectivity and meeting space to host more events and continue to infuse the local economy with new money and expanding business opportunities.” Amenities: The Center of Hospitality goes above and beyond by offering world-class customer service and industry-leading partnerships. From the largest convention center Wi-Fi network to custom LAN/WAN design, the Center takes pride in enhancing exhibitor and customer experience.  The OCCC is the exclusive provider of electricity (24-hour power at no additional cost), aerial rigging and lighting, water, natural gas and propane, compressed air, and cable TV services. Convenience The Center is at the epicenter of the destination, with an abundance of hotels, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance. Pedestrian bridges connect both buildings to more than 5,200 rooms and is within a 15-minute drive from the Orlando International Airport. The convenience of the location goes hand-in-hand with top notch service to help meet an event’s every need. Gold Key Members The OCCC’s Gold Key Members represent the best of the best when it comes to exceptional service and exclusive benefits for clients, exhibitors and guests. The Center’s Gold Key memberships with Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Walt Disney World greatly enhance meeting planner and attendee experiences offering world-renowned venues, immersive experiences and creative resources for their events. OCCC Events: This fiscal year, the OCCC is projected to host 168 events, 1.7 million attendees, and $2.9 billion in economic impact.  The Center’s top five events during their 2022-2023 fiscal year included:  AAU Jr. National Volleyball Championships 2023 200,000 Attendees $257 Million in Economic Impact MEGACON 2023 160,000 Attendees $205 Million in Economic Impact Open Championship Series 2023 69,500 Attendees $89 Million in Economic Impact Sunshine Classic 2023 42,000 Attendees $54 Million in Economic Impact Premiere Orlando 2023 42,000 Attendees $108 Million in Economic Impact