Giving Back: SEARCH Foundation Raises Record Donations for Event Industry Professionals in Crisis

March 4, 2024

The SEARCH Foundation, a nonprofit that assists event, meetings and catering professionals in crisis, celebrated a milestone, raising more than $105,000 at its Annual Signature Event, held Feb. 14 at Skybox on 6th in Austin, Texas. Since its inception in 1997, more than $1.25 million has been distributed, and more than 300 individuals have been assisted by the SEARCH Foundation, including 45 in 2023, according to SEARCH Foundation officials.

Kate Patay
Kate Patay, SEARCH Foundation Chairperson

“The support our foundation provides to individuals in crisis is only possible with the generosity of the industry members that give so selflessly,” said Board Chairperson Kate Patay, vice president of engagement at Terramar, a DMC Network Company, who also serves as MC for the TSNN Awards. “I’m pleased to report that at the Annual Signature Event at Skybox on 6th, followed by an after party hosted by Wilkinson-Rhodes, we surpassed our goal for this event.”

Patay, who is currently serving her second three-year term as chairperson and has been involved with the organization since 2010, added “I am so proud of the event team and the sponsors for helping us to achieve this [donation milestone] and welcome you to join us at all of our upcoming events in 2024 to keep the momentum going and assist more industry professionals when they need it most.” 

Back story 

Formed in 1997, the SEARCH Foundation exists to assist special event, meetings and catering professionals faced with a life-threatening illness or catastrophic occurrence and relies on donations from industry individuals and corporations.

In 2023, SEARCH raised more than $276,000 via fundraising events, its SEARCH 100 flagship donor program, as well as other programs and donations. This is the second consecutive year the volunteer organization has raised more than $100,000 at the annual event, said Patay. 

SEARCH events are held annually in conjunction with various industry conferences and events. To learn how you can include SEARCH Foundation in your giving plan or next event, or to learn more about its services, resources and how to help make a difference in the lives of event industry members in crisis, go here.

The next SEARCH Foundation Annual Signature Event will take place Feb. 26, 2025, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. 

Honored for giving back

SEARCH Foundation

The following evening, Patay and the SEARCH Board, were honored with the Steve Kemble Leadership Award, presented by the Steve Kemble Leadership Foundation to the individual or group who has demonstrated excellence in leadership skills through service and contributions to the special event and meeting industry.

The award was presented to Patay and the SEARCH Foundation on the 20-year anniversary of the award’s inception by Steve Kemble and Debbie Meyers.

“Our leaders, both past and present, demonstrate an incredible level of commitment and we’re proud to serve alongside Kate and follow in the footsteps of so many industry icons,” said SEARCH Foundation Vice Chair David Lombardo at the event.

Is your corporate event-related organization doing something special to give back to the industry? Please reach out to


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