• Stephen Starr & Philadelphia’s Schools

    POSTED April 4, 2014

It was announced in late February that during the month of March uber-restaurateur Stephen Starr would be introducing a unique "Support our Schools" program in his 20 Philadelphia restaurants.

Philadelphia schools have long been a subject of discontent and Starr’s plans to raise $100,000 during the one-month period would help support multimedia labs, elementary school playgrounds and six-week summer internships. Starr’s restaurants average 40,000 customers per week and diners would be encouraged to add a donation when paying their bill.

It’s too early to know how much money was raised through this program, but it got me thinking about how meetings and events are often tied to a particular charity or organization. I was at a meeting recently where I was given a package of sunflower seeds in honor of an organ donation group. It was the organization’s chosen charity for 2014 and was a nice takeaway from the event that got me thinking beyond how tasty the hors d’oeuvres were. 

Whether it’s a corporation or a club, sponsoring a charity or a particular cause shines a spotlight on that organization in ways they might not have previously enjoyed. It also often contributes generously to their bottom line. I’m curious…what are some of the ways that you’ve incorporated charitable awareness or giving to your meetings or events?

I’d love to hear from you and we’ll post your responses on our website, pa.meetingsmags.com. Email me at nancy.depalma@tigeroak.com and let me know.

The Estate Yountville in Napa Valley, California has expanded their culinary team by appointing Katie Cotten as director of catering and conference services. Cotten brings 13 years of experience in luxury events, including celebrity weddings and television shoots, to her new position, where she will manage and assist meeting and event planners in the execution of their functions. Cotten specializes in setting goals with her clients and working with them closely to ensure a successful and unique event.


The 235-room stylish boutique Kimpton Solamar Hotel announced the appointment of Arizona native, Devin Mahoney as general manager.


With more than 20 years of diverse culinary experience, Chef Greg Wiener will be fulfilling his lifelong dream of returning to Napa Valley, overseeing food and beverage operations as executive chef at The Estate Yountville for the recently-renovated Vintage House, soon-to-be completed Hotel Villagio.