Meeting and travel industry suppliers, feeling squeezed by what they say are excessive and duplicate requests for funding by industry foundations, held a summit, the first of its kind, to discuss the issue.

At the April 25 meeting, held at the Westin Grand, Washington, D.C., six convention/travel associations and nine major hospitality industry suppliers began to hammer out a blueprint for the way that association foundations are funded. To begin, they agreed that future foundation fundraising campaigns should be project-specific, with a statement and documentation of return on investment for funders. Open-ended fundraisers or capital campaigns — in which general donations are sought, with the money later earmarked for projects by the association — will be eschewed.

The group also decided that a committee would be appointed within the Convention Industry Council to monitor projects and initiatives taken on by the various associations, to facilitate collaboration. In the coming months, details on the operation and composition of the committee will be worked out.

Further, participants discussed creating a “common pot” into which donations would be made for use by the associations, explains David Scypinski, senior vice president, industry relations, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Washington, D.C. Not all agreed with the concept, but the parties did agree to explore it further at future meetings.

The April meeting was attended by the president and/or chief executive officer of the six industry associations with the largest foundations, including: Meeting Professionals International, Professional Convention Management Association, National Business Travel Association, the American Society of Association Executives and the Center for Association Leadership, International Association for Exhibition Management, and Destination Marketing Association International.

Overall, 11 of CIC's 32 member organizations have foundations. Only the six largest were invited to the summit, but other associations with foundations might be invited to the next meeting.

On the supplier side, nine of the biggest foundation funders were represented, including hotel chains Starwood, Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, InterContinental, and Gaylord. United Airlines, Freeman Cos., and G.E.S. were there as well. Nancy Morrell-Swanson, president, Global Marketing Services, was the moderator. CIC lawyer Jeff King also attended.