How RX events are working to make a difference


From grassroots community programmes, to charity art auctions and fun runs, our event teams have long used their organisational expertise and customer connections to support the industries and communities they serve. And they are not letting the pandemic stop them. We share some inspiring examples.

Just a Drop is the official charity of World Travel Market (WTM). It was launched at WTM in 1998 by Fiona Jeffrey OBE, former WTM Chairman, who was looking for a way to give back to the regions in which WTM operates. With the exhibition's support, Just a Drop has since funded access to sustainable safe water solutions and sanitation facilities in 32 countries, improving the lives of over 1.8 million people.

2020 was an unprecedented year for the charity. In the face of Covid-19, Just a Drop has become even more critical, working with local partners around the world to deliver safe water, latrines, handwashing stations, PPE and hygiene training. Infrastructure projects have continued apace too, with the completion of a sand dam in Miondoni village, Kenya, to ensure food security and continued access to clean water; the construction of a well at Las Jaguas in Nicaragua, so that villagers no longer have to spend hours each day fetching water; and the drilling of boreholes in villages in Zambia, to name but a few. And their critical work goes on, with a new appeal to support communities in India who have been hit by a devastating second wave of coronavirus.

So inspiring is Just a Drop’s work that other RX events have adopted it as their own charity. Mostra Convegno Expocomfort, the energy efficiency and renewable technologies event held in Milan, has been supporting Just a Drop since 2008. A percentage of the revenues derived from the sale of visitor invitations to MCE exhibitors has funded numerous clean water projects in Nicaragua, Kenya and Uganda over the years, including the construction of a 30,000 litre rainwater harvesting tank, latrines and hand-washing facilities for nearly 400 children in Gombe School in Uganda.

From Just a Drop to ReedPop, whose annual charity art auctions at New York Comic Con (NYCC) and the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2) have raised over $585K over the past ten years towards life-saving research and treatment for the children at St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.  At each event, art enthusiasts bid for the chance to own a piece of original artwork generously donated by comic book artists attending the ReedPop events. The auction was the brainchild of Mike Negin, ReedPop Global Comic Guest Manager, who was been co-ordinating the auctions since 2011. Not to be outdone by Covid-19, the tradition continued online in September 2020, at NYCC x MCM Metaverse, raising over $100K – a fantastic way to mark the auction’s 10th anniversary.

Winner of the ‘Do Gooder Award’ at this year’s Trade Show Executive magazine Gold 100 Awards, the ISC West team has a strong tradition of philanthropic initiatives. In 2009, the team held their first Security 5K/2K run/walk in support of Mission 500, a non-profit organisation that works closely with the security industry to serve the needs of children living in severe poverty. Traditionally held on the second day of ISC West, the walk has become a cornerstone of Mission 500’s fundraising efforts, thanks to its success in engaging corporate sponsors and individual runners.  Forced online by the pandemic, the race went virtual in 2020, with participants running and walking remotely. Over $75,000 was raised which is being used to provide much-needed relief to children and families across America.

Meanwhile, over the pond, Paris Photo continues its partnership with Estee Lauder in support of Ruban Rose, or Pink Ribbon, which funds research into breast cancer and works to raise awareness of the importance of early screening. For the past four years, Paris Photo has showcased the finalists and laureates of the Estée Lauder Pink Ribbon Photo Award, and hosted the awards ceremony. Unable to do so last year due to Covid-19, Paris Photo partnered with the City of Paris to present a free exhibition of the 2020 award winners in the heart of the 4th arrondissement. Opening on February 4th 2021, World Cancer Day, and running until the end of the month, each photograph was accompanied by a story on the theme of ‘Resilience’. After a year which has seen a significant drop in the diagnosis of all cancers due to the demands of Covid-19, the photographs were an important reminder to the viewing public to keep up their medical appointments and seek assistance if they have any health concerns.

Finally, when it comes to supporting their own industry, the JCK team has a track record that’s hard to beat. Back in 1997, JCK created the JCK Industry Fund to deploy funds donated by JCK to projects that have the most sustainable impact on the growth and health of the jewelry industry in the US. In the past 24 years, more than $7M has been given to worthy grant recipients.

For 2021, the Fund Committee announced a dedicated new grant to support greater inclusivity within the jewelry and watch industries, awarding it to the Black in Jewelry Coalition, which strives for the advancement of Black professionals within the gem, jewelry, and watch industry.

“Coming out of a difficult and challenging year, it was important to the JCK Industry Fund Committee to support our industry and the organizations that help move it forward,” said Yancy Weinrich, Chief Growth Officer at Reed Exhibitions. “The 2021 recipients are comprised of eight organizations that serve the jewelry and watch industries who will apply their JCK Industry Funds to initiatives that range from heightening consumer confidence and safety, to ethical sourcing, diversity and inclusion.”