SEARCH Foundation Spotlight

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Popular speaker, Michael Cerbelli visited Denver this week, just days before his wedding celebration, to present “Michael Cerbelli’s: The Hot List: 2015(TM)” to an enthusiastic audience of special event professionals at our October ILEA event.  Michael spoke to the value of our association in the events industry but his intro also made mention of another association, the SEARCH Foundation.  In fact, Michael waived his speaker fees for us in lieu of a donation to SEARCH.

Such commitment to our benefit seems worthy of consideration so we’ve been in touch with SEARCH Foundation Chairwoman, Kelly White and also received permission to quote an article by Julie Kendrick, explaining the role and resources of the SEARCH Foundation, founded specifically to assist special event professionals in crisis.  Thank you, Kelly, Julie, and Michael!

CS ArticleArticle by Julie Kendrick as printed in Catersource, July | August 2015

Working in the events industry can mean making a career of expecting the unexpected.  Crazy weather, unanticipated guests, unreliable suppliers–professionals in our business have learned to prepare for anything and tackle tricky situations with grace.  But sometimes life delivers unpleasant surprises that just can’t be planned for or handled easily.  Faced with natural disasters, accidents, or health emergencies, many industry professionals find that they are quickly running through cash reserves and facing uncomfortable options that put them on the brink of losing their livelihoods.  “We celebrate and hold parties for a living, so people in our industry sometimes think, ‘How bad could it be?'” says Kelly White, SEARCH Foundation chairwoman.  “We know that even one medical emergency or weather-related incident can totally make or break a small business.  And being out of work for sickness or injury is a disaster for those who are living paycheck to paycheck.  That’s why we’re here to help whenever and wherever we can.”


As the only non-profit that directly funds event professionals–and that includes any event industry professional:  caterers, lighting pros, design pros, florists, linen suppliers, and more–SEARCH Foundation was founded nearly 20 years ago to offer financial assistance during crisis.  Relying on donations from individuals and corporations, the SEARCH Foundation grants as much as $5,000 in emergency funds to individuals who live anywhere in the world, and who work in any capacity in the events industry.  Those who receive grants are not required to be a member of any professional organization.

Kelly White, SEARCHWhat does SEARCH stand for and what is it? 

• Special Events Assistance & Resources with a Caring Heart

• SEARCH is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization, which supports people in the special event industry who are confronted with a catastrophic occurrence.

When was SEARCH formed?

• 1997

Why?  What prompted the formation of this organization?

• SEARCH was originally formed during the height of the AIDS epidemic to assist special event professional who were faced with a life threatening illness.  Since that time it has expanded to include not only illness but any catastrophic occurrence.

Who formed it?

• A group of special event industry veterans
Since its formation, how much money has been distributed? • $250,332.00’as’of’July’8,’2014′

What types of situations is the money distributed to?

• Crisis can mean many things to many people such as a debilitating illness, natural disaster, fire, car accident, etc.

Who can apply?  And how?

• Anyone in the special events industry

• Application on website:

How do I get involved?

• Volunteer opportunities – Committees: Events, PR, Marketing, Fundraising (take person’s information and give it to Corinne)

How can I help?

• Make a Donation:  Give to SEARCH

After a very busy year distributing grants, SEARCH is running a campaign to finance future needs.  With a goal of raising $50,000 by December 31, every donation is appreciated!

• Donate an Item for our Fundraising Events/Auctions:  2016-SEARCH-AuctionForm

Send completed form to or if you have physical items or a gift certificate to send to TSE in January, contact Karl Heitz,

• Make a Donation in honor of someone

• Buy a specially designed Heart Pin to signify you Care

• Attend Fundraising Events

• Become a Sponsor

• Become an Active Committee Member

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