Feb 17, 2011

National Urban League Selects Cincinnati USA for 2014 Annual Conference


Julie Calvert, Vice President, Communications & Strategic Development
Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau
o: 513.632.5378 m: 513.910.6186 JCalvert@CincyUSA.com

Monica E. Magette
Director of Development & Marketing
Urban League of Greater Cincinnati
o: 513.487.6533 m: 513.739.7158 mmagette@gcul.org

CINCINNATI, OH, February 17, 2011 — The National Urban League, one of the country’s oldest and most respected civil rights organizations, announced today that it has selected Cincinnati USA as the site for its 2014 Annual Conference.

The announcement was made at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) by Donna Jones Baker, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Cincinnati, who was joined by Dan Lincoln, president and CEO of the CVB, Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory and Hamilton County Commission President Greg Hartmann.

The National Urban League conference is expected to bring more than 7,000 hotel room nights and millions of dollars in economic impact to the region. But Mayor Mallory suggested it will bring something even more important.

“Like the NAACP and National Baptist conventions before it, when the National Urban League comes to Cincinnati, the eyes of the country will be on this region,” said Mayor Mallory. “Influential government leaders, business leaders and civil rights advocates will be here, engaging in important dialogue. It’s an extraordinary opportunity for Cincinnati, one that solidifies our stature as a top-tier destination. I commend Donna and her team at the Urban League of Greater Cincinnati for their great advocacy of this city and their extraordinary efforts to bring this opportunity to our doorstep. I know this community will step up to the challenge and make you proud.”

Headquartered in New York City with more than 90 affiliates across the country, the National Urban League’s mission is to enable African Americans to secure economic self-reliance, parity, power and civil rights.

In keeping with that mission and the theme of the CVB’s Annual Meeting – “Collaboration. Community. Connections.” – Baker was joined on stage by a team of regional leaders who worked together to win the meeting, including Mayor Mallory, Commissioner Hartmann and Thomas Knott, Director of Diversity Strategies at Macy’s. Many of them were awarded the CVB’s Champion Award for their efforts.

“Bringing the National Urban League conference to Cincinnati is a great victory, not just for us at the local affiliate, but for our entire community,” said Baker. "It was such a rewarding experience to work with passionate people from across the region throughout the bid and selection processes. We won this conference together and today we celebrated together, and I can’t wait for my colleagues across the country to experience Cincinnati USA in 2014.”

Hamilton County Commission President Greg Hartmann echoed that sentiment: “Winning and hosting the National Urban League gives us the chance to showcase the best of our entire region – from a revitalized downtown to the expansion of the Sharonville Convention Center to the great development taking place all across Hamilton County. The County leadership will continue to stay engaged with the CVB and all the organizations that are driving economic impact and strong results for the region.”

The National Urban League is the latest in a string of high-profile ethnic and multicultural conventions to select Cincinnati USA, including the NAACP, National Baptists, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, LULAC the League of United Latin American Citizens and the National Society of Hispanic MBAs.

“In 2003 and 2004, ethnic meetings represented a very small percentage of our convention business,” said Lincoln. “But in 2009 and 2010 alone, we hosted 30 ethnic-related conventions and since 2009, we’ve booked more than 108,000 hotel room nights for ethnic and multicultural meetings, representing more than $32 million in economic impact for the region. Our community-wide collaboration and a commitment to improving every aspect of how we position ourselves to the world has opened the doors to incredible opportunity.”

It was that community spirit and dedication to continuous improvement that earned the attention of the National Urban League.

“When our national leadership took a closer look at Cincinnati, they saw a community on the rise,” added Baker. “They saw dramatically improved police/community relations and a renewed spirit of collaboration. And in the end, they decided that now was the right time for Cincinnati!”

Added Mayor Mallory: “Dan and his team at the CVB are doing stellar work in positioning this region for success and winning new opportunities for Cincinnati to attract the national spotlight. Our window of opportunity opened to win the National Urban League and we had the right people and resources in place to fully capitalize on that opportunity.”

The announcement was made in front of a record-setting crowd of 500 business professionals, civic leaders and members of the regional hospitality industry at the CVB’s 2011 Annual Meeting. And the good news didn’t stop there. The CVB celebrated its strongest convention booking results in more than a decade and its sixth straight year of growth in its two most important industry metrics: future hotel room bookings, which totaled 200,317 in 2010, and the related economic impact conventions bring to the region, which reached a six-year high of $59.6 million. These figures are up 14 percent since 2007 and up 33 percent since 2005.

“Successfully winning and hosting conventions of all sizes takes more than just a strong CVB,” said Lincoln. “This opportunity would not have been possible without the full support of our entire regional hospitality industry – the hoteliers, our partners at the Duke Energy Convention Center, our great events and attractions. They were all in the trenches with us to help us put Cincinnati USA put its best foot forward, and they will all be on the front lines of creating a great visitor experience when the National Urban League comes in 2014.”

About the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau
The Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau is an aggressive sales, marketing and service organization whose primary responsibility is to positively impact Hamilton County's and the City of Cincinnati's economy through convention, trade show and visitor expenditures. The travel and tourism industry traditionally has been a $3.4 billion industry in Cincinnati USA, employing 81,000 people in a variety of fields and, historically, bringing five million visitors to the region annually.

About the National Urban League
The National Urban League is the nation’s largest civil rights organization dedicated to economic empowerment in order to elevate the standard of living in historically underserved urban communities. Founded in 1910 and headquartered in New York City, the National Urban League spearheads the efforts of its local affiliates through the development of programs, public policy research and advocacy. Today, there are more than 90 local affiliates in 36 states and the District of Columbia, providing direct services that impact and improve the lives of more than 2 million people nationwide.