Mass. Convention Center Authority: Conventions C.A.R.E.

Building Profile

Principal use: Convention Center

Neighborhood: Back Bay and Seaport

Size: 2.5 million sq. ft. (both buildings)


Large events like those held at convention centers often result in substantial amounts of waste produced by attendees and vendors. In some cases, items left behind are not really waste at all, but simply surplus items that vendors did not use and were unable or unwilling to bring back to their warehouses or offices. Through the Conventions C.A.R.E. program—short for Community Assistance by Responsible Events—the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA) encourages and facilitates the collection of clean, usable, non-perishable donations from exhibitors after conventions and delivers them to nonprofits in Greater Boston. These donations reduce environmental impact by diverting waste from landfills and reduce the expenses of shipping unnecessary goods back home.

C.A.R.E. achieves the dual goals of reducing waste and benefiting local non-profit organizations—both important goals to MCCA. “As a state authority, we are committed to having a positive impact on our host communities by providing support to local non-profit organizations,” said David Gibbons, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority.

The program is overseen by the MCCA Communications and External Relations Department. They promote the program with marketing materials including a webpage, on-site banners and flyers that offer a comprehensive overview of the environmental and community benefits of donating in addition to clear and simple instructions on how to donate and what items can be donated.

To collect the donations, large bins are placed on the convention room floor. For larger donations that cannot fit in bins, stickers are distributed to label the items for collection by the Building Services team. Donated materials so far have included office products, building products, medical supplies, convention bags, furniture, clothing, non-perishable food, and toiletries. The MCCA has delivered these donations to the Pine Street Inn, East Boston High School, St. Patrick’s Church, and other non-profit organizations.

A tangible outcome of the MCCA C.A.R.E. program can be seen in the donations received and distributed by St. Patrick’s Church of Roxbury. Chairs, coffee tables, a sofa, water bottles, and over 5,200 canvas bags, among other items were collected over a series of exhibitions and picked up from the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center and brought to St. Patrick’s. In collaboration with the Cape Verde Association, the church distributed these items to families in need in Cape Verde.