Many of us open our mailboxes each day and find various letters from many charities asking us for donations. For myself and my family,...

Many of us open our mailboxes each day and find various letters from many charities asking us for donations. For myself and my family, we generally sit down once a month and simply write out a check for several organizations that are in need while paying our bills. It’s easy to do and makes you feel good doesn’t it?

I have been a ticket broker for 31 years now primarily providing a personal ticket service for Broadway Shows. Over 21 years ago I co-founded my own ticket agency called Applause Theatre Service in New York City. We cater to the ticket needs of consumers, hotel concierge, corporations, tour operators and travel agencies all over the world.

About 4 years ago I joined an industry trade organization called NATB, which stands for the National Association of Ticket Brokers. Although I joined NATB so that I could keep my little company aware of ongoing concerns in my industry, I was amazed at how much thought was being put into charitable efforts within this organization. The NATB is made up of nearly 200 or so companies and growing daily. In the past year I have been working with this group of ticket broker companies around the country that are involved with a very important charitable effort. It’s called NATB Gives Back. The program is the NATB’s way of having these ticket broker companies, staff and family members “give back” to the local communities that support our businesses. And what a great organization it is.

The NATB Gives Back has recently launched our first partnership with Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC). The program is a 3 year partnership called “32 for 32” and the goal is to donate 32 tickets for every preseason NFL football game in every one of the 32 markets all over the country. NATB ticket broker members have been generous in providing $117,661.64 including nearly 3000 donated tickets as well as having signed up for 298 volunteer hours at local Ronald McDonald Houses across the Unites States. I’m proud to report that since the first preseason football games have kicked off last Thursday August 13, 2009, that every day we are receiving additional ticket donations along with volunteers willing to work at their local Ronald McDonald House locations.

The President and CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities is Marty Coyne. Mr. Coyne has recently said “RMHC and our local chapters rely on generous donations of our corporate partners and the NATB is providing valuable contributions in terms of volunteers and entertainment for our families. Our families are going through difficult medical situations with their child, and NATB is giving them a chance to relax and take their minds off their worries-if only for a few moments. This partnership is a natural extension of our mission to support families-both financially and emotionally-during a very difficult time of their lives.”

Since the football preseason has just begun and the families have begun attending the games, we have received lots of pictures from the NATB Regional Coordinators from around the country and have taken the liberty of sharing them with you. There will be lots more to come I’m sure. The smiling faces of the families say it all. They are greatly appreciative of everything.

To all of our fellow ticket brokers who have contributed tickets, volunteer time at a Ronald McDonald House, served on one of our committees or made any kind of contribution to the NATB Gives Back Program, we are forever grateful to you. To those who might want to help us with these charitable efforts in the future, we would appreciate any ticket donations or volunteer time you might be able to give us in the days ahead. Every minute counts. It feels good to help others, really it does.

Rich Gladstone is a member of the NATB and the owner of Applause Theatre Service in New York City.

(Click on the image to enlarge it.)

The photograph is of Ronald McDonald House guests and staff who attended a recent Miami Dolphins football game with tickets donated by NATB members. From left to right:

Back Row:
1. Pamelar Williams. Her baby is being treated at the NICU at Broward General Hospital. Staying at RMH FTL

2. Yoselyn and Ronal Encarnacion (mother-red shirt and son-green shirt). They are from the Dominican Republic, and he is 8 years old. He has a condition called AVM, where his blood vessels and the veins around his brain are tangled into a web. He underwent surgeries to remove the “web”. They are staying at the RMH Miami

3.Elijah and Lillian Barrios (mother-dark blue shirt and son-light blue shirt) They currently live in Tallahassee but are originally from Puerto Rico. The mother is blind and he is undergoing treatment for Osteosarcoma, a cancer of the bones. Staying at RMH Miami

4. Maria Kelly (plaid shirt) She is from the Bahamas. Her daughter, Roshan (6), is in the hospital receiving treatment for short bowel syndrome. She was born without a large part of her intestine functioning. She has had to have these parts removed and is waiting for a stomach/intestinal transplant. Staying at RMH Miami

5. Vivienne Lightbourne. Mother of Pamelar. Staying at RMH FTL

Front Row:
RMH staff members Jessika Arias and Carlos Del Valle