Charities which had pulled plans to hold events at President Donald Trump’s extravagant Mar-a-Lago resort due to the fears of damaging their reputations are slowly returning once again, reports the Palm Beach Post.
According to the local paper which looked at upcoming events, the glamorous surroundings of Mar-a-Lago is once again appealing while the focus has moved more to Trump’s shenanigans in Washington D.C. and not his Florida visits.
The paper notes that the Palm Beach Habilitation Center and Bascom Palmer Eye Institute are both hosting events this winter after making a big show of abandoning plans for events at Mar-a-Lago in 2017, along with approximately 2 dozen other charities.
According to the report, charities disassociated themselves with Trump’s property last year, in part because of the president’s refusal to condemn neo-Nazis who held a rally a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that resulted in a woman’s death.
“It became a general feeling in Palm Beach that Mar-a-Lago and the Trump connection are toxic,” a Palm Beach philanthropist told the Post at the time.
Added former Palm Beach Habilitation Center of West Palm Beach CEO David Lin, “We want to keep the focus of the event on our mission, which is to help adults with physical or mental challenges live the best lives possible,”
Times have changed even if the president has not.
Current Palm Beach Rehab chair Glen Torcivia said the charity reception was not as well received when it moved to The Breakers resort, prompting a reappraisal.
“I don’t know if it was because of the venue or a backlash that we didn’t stay with Trump. Who knows?” Torcivia said before adding, “We made less money.”
“Our job is to raise money for the clients we serve,” Torcivia continued. “We’re going back to Mar-a-Lago.”
The report states, “Non-profit leaders privately say they like Trump’s venues, especially the lavish oceanfront Mar-a-Lago estate, which also is the president’s part-time home. But some say they remain uncomfortable with the knowledge that holding an event at a for-profit Trump property financially benefits a sitting president and his family.”
Debra Tornaben, who worked for Mar-a-Lago special events director in the 1990’s, now heads the charity KidSanctuary Campus — which houses and cares for abused children — said she is holding an event at her former place of work
Asked about the problem of being linked to Trump, she replied, “I think it’s less. There’s always going to be someone in every crowd who has a different opinion.”
The American Cancer Society, however, is not returning its annual gala back to Mar-a-Lago. The society left last year while announcing its “values and commitment to diversity” were critical and that, “The challenge to those values is outweighing other business considerations.”
You can read a full list of returning charities here.
(Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the American Cancer Society was returning to Mar-a-Lago this year. They are not.)