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As the annual report from the SEARCH Foundation drops, we sat down with their charismatic chairwomen, Kate Patay, to get an inside look at her journey …and to find out what drives her.


Q: Tell us your story about becoming part of the SEARCH Family and why are you so passionate about being involved?

A: I attended my first SEARCH event in 2010 because I was told that it was the absolute best industry event and I would meet incredible event professionals there. I don’t remember who told me that, but I would give them a huge hug right now and say thank you… They were absolutely correct. I made some incredible friends and I learned exactly what SEARCH does, so from that moment on I was absolutely hooked. I was so impressed with the level of caring and support that every single person in that room exuded. Our industry by nature is hospitable, and SEARCH is at the heart of what we do —assisting industry professionals in crisis.

Q: As a chairwoman what is your approach to advocating for SEARCH?

A: My approach to advocating for the SEARCH foundation is to really share with people the “why.” All of the crisis relief cases we receive are judged anonymously, so we can be limited on how much information of actual cases we can share. We opt to highlight the generosity of our donors and supporters while forming solid relationships with them for continued giving.

With an annual average increase of 48% in requests for assistance it’s imperative that we continually identify new revenue streams and raise additional funds, so forming strong partnerships (like with NWES) is key.

Q: What was the most impactful story you have heard from our industry and how did SEARCH help them?

A: As I think about this question there are dozens that stand out to me. Each one affects you in a different way when you read about it. I’ve been brought to tears when reading about people who have lost their home in a wildfire or a flood, a production company delivery driver who lost his eyesight, people that have had debilitating accidents, nearly every type of cancer you can think of, children born with severe disabilities, gunshot victims and most recently an industry individual that is now a single parent to three children, including a newborn, because of Covid.

I think sometimes we lose sight of the fact that during this particular crisis there is still so many other crisis happening, so while we have assisted people that have fallen ill with Covid, there is still every other type of day-to-day crisis simultaneously happening that we are continuing to support.

Q: How important are the events you rollout and how do you come up with the ideas for them?

A: We work with every single industry organization and association out there to raise funds for all of these individuals in crisis. We like to say that SEARCH is for event professionals, by event professionals.

There are so many ways to get involved and give back, whether with a large fundraising event or suggested donations on your existing event tickets; from simply selecting SEARCH as your charity of choice when you shop on Amazon smile to texting any amount to 44321 with the code SEARCH.

Every single dollar counts when our colleagues and friends are in crisis, so no donation is too small. There is a fundraising toolkit online with so many ideas on how you can personally become involved or you can involve a company or association.

Q: Tell us more about SEARCH 100?

A: SEARCH100 is the flagship donor program which individuals, companies and chapters of organizations pledge to give a minimum of $100 per month in perpetuity. 100% of these proceeds go directly into the crisis relief fund.

We do have some individuals that choose to give more on a monthly basis, and we appreciate them, but we do allow for smaller monthly donations if someone is not yet in a position to be at the $100 per month level. A lot of young professionals begin the habit of monthly charitable giving by setting it up to do a recurring $10 or $20 a month payment and then increasing to the hundred dollar mark when they are able to.

I can’t say it enough times… That every single amount counts. We are on track to yet again distribute a record amount of funds this year, and we have funded 100% of the qualified cases we’ve received since inception, so we want to carry on that legacy and never have to turn anyone away.

Q: Lastly, what are some suggestions on getting involved to help SEARCH?

A: Helping to spread the word and let people know that SEARCH is available if they need it, while raising awareness and bringing a charitable component into your lifestyle and your business is key. I truly believe that we are all stronger together —SEARCH is living proof of that. Please visit for more information.