Those familiar with the SEARCH Foundation know that this nonprofit organization--which supports special event professionals confronted with a catastrophic occurrence--is the only charitable foundation dedicated to the special events industry and its people.

We are truly the Red Cross of this industry. I have seen applications for funding from weather-related loss including floods, hurricanes and tornadoes. We also process applications for those who are experiencing a serious illness or injury that prevents them from working or running their business. Often, these funds are crucial in helping people get back on their feet.

We are absolutely honored to be able to give back to this amazing industry in such an impactful way. In the 15 years since the SEARCH Foundation has been founded, it has distributed over $231,887 to  to event professionals in crisis. So how do you know if you, a loved one or colleague is qualified to apply?

Anyone in the special events industry is eligible for a SEARCH Foundation grant, whether they are a planner, supplier, individual or business. All applications remain confidential--even to the SEARCH committee members who review the applications.

Over the years, event professionals have been extremely generous with their time and financial support to help us continue our mission, but we cannot help those in need unless they apply.

If you find yourself in a crisis, or know an event professional who needs help, simply go to the website--www.searchfoundation.org--and click on “request assistance” to download the detailed directions and application.

After the application is received, it is reviewed by a group of SEARCH committee members, who determine the amount of the grant. The maximum grant per person per year is $5,000.There are three easy steps, and you will receive a decision within 30 days of the application review process.

It’s as simple as that.

Kelly Dolan serves as SEARCH first vice president and donations committee chairwoman