The Northern California Chapter of Meeting Professionals International has introduced its Member Assistance Program to aid meeting professionals experiencing financial difficulty. The MAP will provide networking opportunities, fee waivers and other assistance to members who have had their employment or income affected as a result of the technology-sector downturn or the aftermath of Sept. 11. With more than 1,000 members, NCCMPI is second only to Chicago in chapter size.
The program was set up to expand upon the MPI Foundation's January announcement of a grant allowing members who lost their jobs specifically as a result of 9/11 to extend their membership for six months without a fee. “We decided that we would do something for our chapter because we had been harder hit than lots of other geographical areas, and it wasn't getting better,” chapter vice president of communications Ellen Sandler explained.
According to Sandler, the MAP initiative allows up to 10 members per month to attend a chapter educational forum for free by registering confidentially online. The program also allows supplier members to bring non-member planner guests to education forums for a fee of $1. Sandler said she hopes corporate and individual donations, now being sought by the chapter, will allow it to add more benefits to the program, such as an additional six-month extension of the MPI Foundation dues assistance program.
“We as a chapter really want to say to our members, ‘We understand what you're going through, and you can use us as a resource during these hard times,’” Sandler said. “The fact of the matter is it will also help us keep them as members.”
MPI Northern California Chapter
2950 Buskirk Ave., Suite 170
Walnut Creek, CA 94596