Vancouver Convention Centre, AVIXA Foundation and More Showcase Our Favorite CSR Efforts This Month

May 7, 2019

Many trade show-related suppliers and organizations are making incredible strides toward creating a more equitable and compassionate world through corporate social responsibility initiatives and activities.

The Vancouver Convention Center and Tourism Vancouver were recently recognized as Social Procurement Champions by Exchange Inner City and Buy Social Canada for demonstrating excellence in social procurement­ –– the intentional purchase of goods and/or services that result in positive change.

“We are honored to be recognized for our practice of social procurement, an initiative that we are highly proud of and strive to more deeply integrate as part of our operational processes,” said Craig Lehto, VCC general manager.


Since last year, the VCC has formed partnerships with several local social enterprises (organizations that apply commercial strategies to maximize positive social and environmental impact alongside profitability), including Embers, Binners’ Project, Mission Possible and Hives for Humanity.

“We value the commitment to social procurement from large institutions like the Vancouver Convention Centre,” said Steve Johnston, director of Exchange Inner City. “Not only does their purchasing power achieve their social responsibility goals, but it also makes a meaningful contribution to the development of a thriving local economy that creates opportunities for all residents.”

The VCC maintains long-standing partnerships with other community and charitable groups, including United We Can, which has been the recipient of more than $157,000-worth of beverage recyclables from the VCC in the past eight years.

LACC Unveils Largest Public Art and Civic Project

Last month, the Los Angeles Convention Center premiered a four-football-field-long, hand-painted mural and accompanying artwork created by Portraits of Hope, a national non-profit organization that develops dynamic, public art projects to enrich the lives of children and adults.

According to LACC officials, “Shaping LA” is the largest public art and civic project in the U.S. thanks to the efforts of more than 7,000 Los Angeles residents who participated through civic education and public policy sessions in more than 1,000 schools; creative therapy sessions for hospitalized children and persons with disabilities; social service programs and public community operations. 


LACC“The Los Angeles Convention Center is the perfect canvas for this one-of-a-kind project,” said Doane Liu, executive director of the City of Los Angeles Department of Convention and Tourism Development, which began working closely with Portraits of Hope last year to showcase an upbeat and identifiable mural on the LACC’s exterior.

The project was made possible by partners including AEG, which donated $10,000 toward the project, and GES and Freeman, which donated labor to install the mural.

“We are proud to support the Shaping LA project because it embodies the AEG values of community service and support of the arts and education,” said Ellen Schwartz, LACC general manager. “This project has impacted so many lives and we are excited to be an integral part of this story.”

The vibrant works are currently displayed on the LACC’s South Hall facing the 110 freeway, and on the ground level of the facility in and around the West Hall parking garage and walkway facing STAPLES Center. After approximately six months, the artwork will be donated primarily to social service institutions.

AVIXA Foundation Helps Expand Reach of AV Skills Training

AVIXA Foundation, the charitable arm of the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association, has partnered with The Loop Lab to support the organization’s mission of empowering underserved youth with the professional skills needed for audiovisual industry careers.

Located in Cambridge, Mass., The Loop Lab provides young people with tools to express themselves creatively and the training they need to join the workforce. In 2017, the non-profit raised more than $280,000 in grant funding and has entered into corporate and education partnerships with Google, ArtPlace America and Cambridge Arts.

Through the partnership with the AVIXA Foundation, students will learn about the AV industry while studying fundamental skills through courses such as AVIXA’s Essentials of AV Technology. Students will also have the opportunity to attend InfoComm, take courses and workshops at the event, and network with potential industry employers.

“Our partnership with the AVIXA Foundation will prove invaluable to our students,” said Christopher Hope, The Loop Lab founder. “The City of Cambridge is at a critical moment in its evolution and many of its youth are without the resources to fully explore the opportunities all around them.”

According to Joseph Valerio, program director for the AVIXA Foundation, the partnership with The Loop Lab fits naturally with AVIXA’s goal to increase awareness of AV as a dynamic, viable career path.

“The organization’s focus on elevating the lives of Cambridge youth through technical training and job preparation aligns perfectly with our mission,” Valerio said. “This collaboration helps us bolster a growing pipeline of students from the region entering the AV workforce.”

The Toy Foundation Brings Smiles to Kids in Need in South Florida

“Play Your Part,” a nationwide philanthropic event series hosted by The Toy Foundation, brought new toys and games to more than 250 South Florida children in need. Held last month in partnership with Junior Achievement South Florida at its Coconut Creek headquarters, the day of play was made possible by local toy company volunteers and thousands of toy donations from manufacturers, retailers and distributors to TTF’s Toy Bank.


TTF is the philanthropic arm of The Toy Association, which produces Toy Fair New York and Toy Fair Dallas, held annually in February and October, respectively.

At the event, kids got to take home a new toy of their choosing. Toys will also be delivered to kids in need throughout South Florida to help them celebrate holidays, birthdays and other special occasions.

“Toys provide comfort to children who are living through difficult circumstances,” said Jean Butler, TTF executive director. “We are grateful to our toy industry donors for providing the ‘tools of play’ to help these children cope, as well as to our volunteers who worked together to make this day so memorable for the children in attendance!”

Local toy companies including Basic Fun!, Jazwares, Just Play, Getta1Games and JC Toys participated in the event, which was the first of its kind in South Florida. Companies either donated toys, sponsored an activity station or sent company volunteers to hand out toys and lead kids’ activities, including board games and crafts.

To date, Play Your Part has helped more than 300,000 children in need across the U.S.


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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.