In January, Covington Meetings & Events managed a corporate event for a client at a Puerto Vallarta resort. Covington meeting professionals Mary Ruffin and Dee Dee White were on site to make sure all event details ran smoothly. Part of the agenda included a Super Bowl party, for which they ordered football-themed décor and balloons. That party created an unexpected opportunity for corporate philanthropy that was a big success.
Mary had previously attended an industry conference where one of the speakers operated a company that repurposed flowers from corporate events into smaller arrangements and delivered them to local nursing homes and children’s hospitals. When she and Dee Dee saw the beautiful balloon arrangements they ordered for the Super Bowl party, they were inspired to find some local children’s organizations who would enjoy the large numbers of balloons.
They met with one of the client company’s principals and asked if they could facilitate a balloon donation after the event. They explained that instead of just throwing away the balloons, a donation would not only give the company the gratification of making a local contribution but would also offer the company a tax benefit. The company thought it was a wonderful idea and gave approval.
Mary and Dee Dee collaborated with the hotel’s Event Manager to find local hospitals or charities. She recommended two children’s shelters, Corazon de Nina and Refugio Infantil Santa Esperanza, so they made appointments to personally deliver the balloons. A couple of the event attendees learned of the plan and donated money for the shelters as well.
Mary’s Reflections on the Balloon Donation
“Reading the descriptions of the shelters was heart-wrenching and hard to get your mind wrapped around the plight and abuse of innocent children. But it also gives you hope for humanity that people have felt the call to make a difference in these young lives and show them what love, security, and hope is.
“At the first shelter, Corazon de Nina, I was taken aback by the neighborhood itself: homes in desperate need of repair, trash in the streets, dogs running loose, bars on the doors, etc. We rang the bell and from behind the bars came two little boys. We asked to speak with the director and they ran to get her. When they returned and spotted all of the balloons in the van, their faces lit up. They must have told other kids because all of sudden there were seven or eight eager little faces staring out from behind the bars trying to see what we had.
“We took the balloons inside and the Co-Founder & President, Melissa Canez, said they would use them to decorate all over the house. She was also thrilled to receive the cash donation. She allowed me to take a couple of pictures with some of the kids holding the balloons. They were in awe of how big the balloons were. I left with a great feeling but also with the feeling that I wish we could have done more.
“The second shelter, Refugio Infantil Santa Esperanza, was in much better condition and you could tell that it had been in existence for quite a while. The sign on the outside said absolutely no pictures. We could not meet any of the kids but saw them playing in the courtyard and eating submarine sandwiches just donated by a local restaurant. The nun that I met didn’t speak English but in translation, said how happy they were to receive the balloons and that the children would really enjoy them.”
Other Corporate Philanthropy Opportunities
On the last night of the event, the company announced that the balloons had been donated to two local children’s shelters. The participants gave a round of applause and kudos to Mary and Dee Dee for the idea.
Covington Meetings & Events is happy to facilitate other corporate donations of event supplies on behalf of our clients. We will connect with hoteliers, identify local organizations that are a fit for the specific donation, and make all the arrangements. Flowers and decorations are ideal for repurposing after the event. A company can also donate excess food from a dinner to a shelter (where local regulations allow).
We work with each meeting and event client to create and execute winning programs. Each one is unique, so we can help you tailor your corporate philanthropy of the available resources to the specific needs of the local community. Contact the team at Covington Meetings & Events for more information.