Ensemble Travel Group’s sixth annual charity event to benefit Make-A-Wish broke all records for the global travel organization, raising an all-time high amount of $152,000 during its recent international conference at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego.
Through an ongoing raffle and live auction held during the Circle of Excellence Gala on Oct. 21, conference attendees gave generously to this worthy cause that has given hope, strength, and joy to children with life-threatening medical conditions since 1980. In the last six years, Ensemble members and partners have raised a total of $613,000 for Make-A-Wish.
Make-A-Wish San Diego’s Stefanie Munoz, community partnerships manager, expressed her gratitude for the impact of Ensemble’s donation for so many in need. “The fundraising efforts by Ensemble Travel Group are truly unbelievable. This type of support is needed for our wish kids this year, as we experienced a 30 per cent growth in wishes and are trying to keep up with all requests,” said Munoz.
The night before conference started, Ensemble staff hosted Julie, a local Make-A-Wish child, at SeaWorld San Diego. Julie wants to be a vet when she grows up, with a special interest in dolphins and pandas. Thanks to the support of SeaWorld, Julie and her family enjoyed a private feeding session before meeting up with the Ensemble team for a dinner and show.
During the Circle of Excellence Gala, the audience met Layla, another local Make-A-Wish child, and her family. That evening Layla’s mother bravely shared their emotional journey with the crowd. Ensemble member Beci Mahnken, CTC, MCC, president/CEO of MEI Travel, Operations Manager Annette Jackson, and their team were so captivated by her message that following conference they put together a collection of Disney memorabilia and signature items for Layla and family.
MouseFanTravel.com, MEI Travel’s Disney specialty division, worked with their Disney friends to gather thoughtful gifts ranging from dress-up gowns and Santa and reindeer pillows to bubble bath, feather boas, girly gloves, and personally signed cards of encouragement for Layla and family.
True to their word, MEI Travel also donated $8,000 cash – the cost of a wish for a Make-A-Wish child – during the live auction.