Hospitality Cares to help industry amid outbreak

BROOKLYN, NY—With the travel industry poised to incur a multibillion-dollar loss from the COVID-19 pandemic, Hospitality Cares, a not-for-profit organization founded by Michael Schneider, president of NEXT Events, and the late Helen Marcus of Zenith Rugs, has created a dedicated Coronavirus Fund to assist those who are experiencing financial fallout due to this global virus.

The organization, originally launched in September 2009, was founded to help hospitality professionals recover from the 2008 financial crisis. Hospitality Cares was recently relaunched following the cancer diagnosis of Kathryn Pol, project director, Benjamin West, who now serves as president of the advisory board for Hospitality Cares.

“The charter was always to focus on hospitality industry needs—principally financial or health,” said Jim Hesterly, VP of Hospitality Cares. “Hospitality Cares will be there for people who have needs for either of those reasons.”

Pol said that the hospitality industry is a tight-knit community. “Going through my situation, I have really experienced…how many friends and companies can just rise up,” she said. “I have heard from designers, suppliers, owners of hotels, the brands—so many people have supported me in my journey. That is where this really hit home for me: I know there are other people out there.”

Schneider said that the point of the Coronavirus Fund is to raise funds that are going to be desperately needed. “People are licking their wounds in the hospitality industry,” he said. “Although we haven’t seen an inflow of dollars right now, I think that once we get past this immediate situation, there [will be]. Our job and responsibility is to figure out the best way to distribute those funds. There is going to be huge job losses and collateral damage from this virus, and we want to make sure people are aware that we have an organization that wants to make a difference in people’s lives.”

In addition to the financial component of the organization, there will be an emotional one as well. “I do think that this organization will eventually become a sounding board and a community where people can go who are dealing with certain issues, even if they don’t need financial assistance,” said Schneider.

To donate to Hospitality Cares, or find out how to apply for assistance, please visit the website at: