I would like to thank everyone who has contacted me and the ULI staff team over the past few weeks with messages of help and support. It has been truly humbling to see the depth of care and commitment among all of you for our organization.
Over the past week, the disruption caused to everyday life by COVID-19 has increased significantly, and it is apparent that limiting contact with other people for an extended period will be required to arrest the spread of the virus. Our primary concern has always been to protect the health of our members and staff, and it is now highly unlikely that we could hold the meeting safely in May. Following the latest guidance from U.S. and Canadian health agencies, our Global Board of Directors has made the decision to cancel the Spring Meeting.
We are very grateful for the tremendous efforts of our Host Committee and staff in Toronto, which partnered with us to develop some exceptional programming for the meeting. We are naturally disappointed not to be able to showcase the vibrant city of Toronto and demonstrate ULI’s impact in Canada. However, our events team has moved quickly and successfully to renegotiate agreements with the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and partner hotels, enabling us to host the Spring Meeting in Toronto in 2023.
Our immediate goal is to communicate our decision to cancel this year’s meeting so that you can adjust your plans accordingly. We will be writing directly to our registered attendees and sponsors next week on their options and the process for receiving refunds or allocating their commitments to future ULI events and programs. We would ask that you please wait for our customer services team to contact you so that we can make the refund process as efficient as possible.
I want you to know that we are embracing new ways for members to connect and share best practices globally online. In concert with our Product Council team, our council chairs have been developing plans for virtual council sessions so that members do not have to wait until the Fall Meeting to continue their discussions and shared learning. We are also enhancing our webinar series to enable all members to continue to access business-applicable information on a wide range of topics, with insights shared by member experts around the world. Webinars will be advertised via email and the Americas website, and the free member-only recordings will be available afterward for you to access on demand in Knowledge Finder, alongside the rest of our content.
In these unprecedented times, it is important to stop and reflect upon our role in the world and focus on how we can support our cities and communities. For over 80 years, ULI, through its members, has been a source of best practices and impartial information, and a forum in which real estate industry leaders can share ideas and experiences to help create and sustain thriving communities worldwide. Through countless market cycles, natural disasters, and unforeseen crises, ULI members have been there to help each other make sense of events and forge new strategies to adapt for the future. Our members have donated their time, talent, and resources to help our communities find solutions to their most challenging problems and rebuild stronger and more resiliently for tomorrow. And so it will be again in the weeks and months ahead.
Thank you for your continued support of ULI. My best wishes for the health and safety of you and your family.