New York Life Donates Meeting Space and Sleeping Rooms to Assist with Hurricane Relief
New York Life, the largest mutual life insurance company in the United States, recently showed how an
event cancellation could be turned into an opportunity to do good.
New York Life’s 2017 Executive Council Meeting was scheduled to be held at the Austin Convention
Center at the end of August. With the approach of hurricane Harvey, the corporation opted to cancel
the event for the sake of safety.
Typically, late cancellations mean that money contractually obligated for meeting space, food and
beverage, and hotel rooms is lost, and often space goes unused.
Rather than letting the space go to waste, New York Life saw an opportunity to help. The company
donated 100 guest rooms at the Hilton Downtown Austin, plus the food, beverage, and meeting space at
the Austin Convention Center that had been booked for its meeting, to Red Cross volunteers and
evacuees from the greater Houston area where the hurricane had hit the hardest.
"I met a number of Red Cross staff and volunteers arriving at the Austin Hilton to help with the relief
efforts in Houston. Chatting with these mental health professionals and social service workers that
would benefit from the contributions of the hotel rooms and food that we donated made our support
even more meaningful,” said Ellen Kantro, vice president of multimedia and events, New York Life.
She added, “It was comforting to see firsthand that they were able to make good use of what we were
able to donate and brought great satisfaction to all of us - both on-site in Austin and company-wide."
Visit Austin, the official destination marketing and sales organization for the City of Austin, didn't want
New York Life’s efforts to go unnoticed. They issued a press release thanking the company for its
“We are grateful to companies like New York Life for their compassion and generosity towards those in
Houston and the Texas coast who have lost everything,” said Tom Noonan, president and CEO of Visit
He added, “Austin remains committed to helping our friends and neighbors in Texas who are dealing
with the aftermath of this storm and we know – in true Texas spirit – we will continue to rebuild and
In addition to donating their meeting space, sleeping rooms, and food and beverage, New York Life
made a corporate donation of $500,000, allocating $150,000 to the American Red Cross, $100,000
to Save the Children and $100,000 to Feeding Texas to aid immediate relief efforts in southeastern
Texas, with a company match of up to $150,000 for contributions from its employees and agents to help
those directly impacted by the hurricane.
The company is continuing to work with local staff, federal officials and its charity partners in the area to
determine how it can best support long-term relief efforts going forward.