What is now THE CANNATA REPORT Awards and Charities Dinner began 28 years ago in 1985 when we conducted our first annual dealer survey. Similar today’s survey, we asked our dealer audience, who in their opinion was the best in various categories. I asked Nomda/BTA for its permission to conduct an awards ceremony at a breakfast meeting during its 1985 convention.
As the room was filled with competitors we decided it was best to approach the awards with levity. The program quickly degenerated into a roast, which everyone thoroughly enjoyed. Most significantly, the two senior Japanese executives at that initial breakfast format of our awards event understood what we were trying to accomplish and suggested that we make THE CANNATA REPORT Awards an annual event.
In 1996 we decided that the significance of our awards breakfast warranted an elevation in format and location. We then evolved the event into THE CANNATA REPORT Awards and Charities Dinner hosted in New York City at the Parker Meridian Hotel (1996) and the Marriott Marquis Hotel (1997).
In 1998 — at the suggestion of Toshiba’s former PR firm Geltzer & Company —
we added a charitable component and expanded the event yet again into THE CANNATA REPORT’s Awards and Charities Dinner. We hosted the first one at the Marriott Marquis in New York City where we raised $35,000 for Child Help USA. After revisiting that charity the following year, we decided to begin rotating charities so that we could benefit a variety of reputable causes.
We decided to support The V Foundation next, which became an early favorite. As a result, we have focused eight of our dinners on cancer research. Over a 16-year period we have raised in excess of $1 million for the various charities we support.
Additionally, we have created scholarship endowments at three universities and honored those who have contributed significantly to the industry we serve with Lifetime Achievement Awards.
We now host THE CANNATA REPORT Awards and Charities Dinner in New Jersey at the Park Savoy in Florham Park in close proximity to where the majority of the manufacturers who have supported our events are located. We are grateful to all of them for their continued loyalty and support — especially Toshiba who has especially supported us through all of these years.