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The American Alpine Club has cancelled its annual benefit dinner amid the coronavirus outbreak. The event was scheduled for March 13, 2020 in Denver featuring Kris McDivitt Tompkins as the keynote speaker.
Instead of hosting the live three-hour event, which was slated to be at maximum capacity of 500 people, AAC will provide a virtual 1-hour experience.
“It was a really difficult decision,” AAC CEO Phil Powers told SNEWS. “We felt like we really could have managed a safe event, but we decided to do this because we wanted to participate in good decision making during this crisis.”
Powers said that AAC will stage the virtual event it its auditorium and broadcast it live. He will preside over the event as emcee and there will be some live speeches and some pre-filmed speeches. “We will have some of our awards recipients in the room so they can come on stage and receive their awards live,” he says. McDivitt Tompkins will give her keynote speech virtually from Patagonia.
Powers will also drive online giving efforts: “We expect this to diminish our fundraising efforts, but we want to do the best we can to raise money for AAC.” AAC is hoping that those who were planning to attend will leave their tickets in place ($175 for members and $275 for non-members), but for those who want a refund, AAC will honor that.
The virtual event will happen at 5 p.m. Mountain Time on March 13, 2020 (earlier than originally scheduled) so it doesn’t disrupt the dinner hour.
“We feel like this was the responsible decision,” Powers said. “If we all do our part as citizens, hopefully we can stem the tide of the coronavirus spread and keep people and our economy healthy.”
For more details on the virtual event, check AAC’s website and social media channels.