• 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.

Jerry Bindel has been named general manager for Forest Suites Resort at Heavenly Village, in South Lake Tahoe, California.

Benchmark COO and President Greg Champion made the announcement. “It is with great pleasure that I welcome Jerry to Benchmark and to our resort,” said Champion. “He brings important local and regional market awareness and business connections to his new role, and a strong background of success in leading hotels and resorts.”


The Goodland, a Kimpton Hotel recently announced the appointment of Danielle Santilli as associate director of sales. In her new role, Santilli will be responsible for planning and implementing sales, marketing and business development strategies for the 158-room Santa Barbara hotel. 


Certified sommelier Kyle Erickson joins the Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort team in Solvang, CA as the new food and beverage director. Former partner of Ted Vance (Vance Erickson Fine Wine Brokers), Erickson will now work alongside executive chef Anthony Endy to rejuvenate Alisal’s food and beverage menus. As a Santa Barbara native, he strives to incorporate his passion and knowledge of the region to his new role.