Hands-on and impactful giving through meetings and events

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Hands-on and impactful giving through meetings and events

By Blair Potter | Apr 15, 2022

The Foundation for Hospital Art involves patients and volunteers worldwide in the process of creating colorful, soothing artwork that is donated to hospitals.

The organization also has a longtime partnership with MPI, offering PaintFest team-building opportunities at the World Education Congress (WEC)—with the next one happening this summer in San Francisco.

“A PaintFest with the Foundation for Hospital Art is the rare corporate team-building activity that checks all the boxes: combining employee engagement and community impact and allowing us to do it on a global scale,” says Leah Sicat, head of U.S. communications, ASML. “It was very special to see our employees across the U.S. and Europe paint the very first Van Gogh murals and know that they will brighten the walls of hospitals in our communities around the world. FFHA staff made the planning and execution of our multiple PaintFests in several different regions seamless and easy. The smiles and enjoyment of our employees (and the clear alignment with our company values) made our Van Gogh PaintFests among the most memorable events of the year!”

We spoke with Scott Feight, executive director of the Foundation for Hospital Art, about how the organization got started and why the connection with meetings and events is so important.

Learn more about this and other CSR initiatives at WEC San Francisco.

Can you tell us a little bit about the Foundation for Hospital Art—how it got started and the organization’s mission?

After painting for nine years on the weekends in hospitals, my dad and our founder formed the Foundation for Hospital Art as a nonprofit in 1984. Our mission is to love and comfort patients in hospitals by donating artwork to brighten the walls and lift patient spirits. We involve the public in helping us paint the murals. Most of our designs are multi-panel canvas murals that are color-coded and allow people of all ages and skill to participate. Our quest is to donate at least one painting to every hospital on Earth. 

How does participation with meetings and events help further the mission?

We could not do all of this by ourselves. That is where the meeting and event industry comes in. Through large gatherings, we are able to donate a large number of paintings to hospitals, nursing homes, cancer centers and homeless shelters. The meeting industry is one of the most giving industries and its members understand the value of engaging participants in a charitable cause that is hands-on and impactful. 

How did you get started partnering with meetings and events?

In the late 1980s, one of our board members, Susan Henderson, began working with my dad and hosting PaintFests at many of her meetings. She identified the need to have team-building options that made a difference in the community. Some of our early events were for small groups, but we have grown to host events for over 2,000 attendees. Every event is scalable, so a PaintFest becomes the perfect event for groups ranging from 10 to the thousands. 

Can you tell us an inspirational story about how the foundation’s work through an event helped an individual or group?

A couple of years ago, I hosted a PaintFest as part of an incentive trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. We painted with the attendees and then visited a local hospital to install all of the paintings. The sponsoring client was thrilled to see the finished artwork completely transform this local hospital and the joy that it brought to the nurses, patients and families. 



Blair Potter
Blair Potter

Blair Potter is managing editor for The Meeting Professional. He likes toys and collects cats (or is it the other way around?).