The Above and Beyond Foundation: Making a Difference

Above and Beyond Foundation
Above and Beyond Foundation winners at the October 2019 SITE Classic in The Bahamas included Tinika Pinder, Cacique DMC; Nelson Brennen, Grand Hyatt Baha Mar; and Jonae Reckley, Sunbound DMC.

Many of the hotel and DMC employees we work with on every program, in every city, are personally committed to excellence—regardless of their job titles or salaries. The Above and Beyond Foundation not only recognizes their efforts, but helps them advance their professional goals and improve their lives with what they need most—cash.

Industry veteran Mary Jo Blythe, who founded Masterplan, Inc. in 1991, long realized a challenge we all see, at every meeting we do: How can hospitality workers get ahead in their lives and accomplish their dreams when they’re making a minimum-wage salary? When her company was acquired by Creative Group in 2016, she decided to do something about it and channeled her wealth of experience and vast network into creating the Above and Beyond Foundation.

Meeting planners and employers can get involved with the Foundation in two ways. Planners can make their hotel and DMC contacts aware of people who have gone above and beyond, but employers are the ones who actually make the nominations. Senior managers can nominate one outstanding employee per quarter through the online grant application (applications must be submitted by March 1, June 1, September 1 and December 1). Applications, via blind submissions, are evaluated and winners selected by the Above and Beyond Foundation’s board of directors. The amount and number of grants given each quarter depends on The Above and Beyond Foundation’s donations and sponsorships, but the goal is $10,000 per award. This is where everyone in the industry can help—by donating today, right on the Above and Beyond Foundation’s web site.

The Above and Beyond Foundation requires that the employer arrange a gathering with all employees to award the winner, and many industry organizations have begun featuring these ceremonies at their annual meetings, including the SITE Classic, PRA Associates and ALHI.

Get involved today! Nominate, donate or host a gathering at your event. You can learn more here.

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Barbara Scofidio is editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In 25 years of covering the industry, her articles have spanned topics ranging from social media to strategic meetings management. She is currently the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee and was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of Site, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. A familiar face at industry events, Barbara often leads panel discussions or speaks on topics close to her heart, such as green meetings or how the industry can help combat human trafficking. She is also on the board of ECPAT USA, the human trafficking organization. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.

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