What's in an acronym? A lot, actually...


In my column today, about the shenanigans going on at the Independence Visitor Center, I repeatedly referred to the place as "the IVC."  However, the proper acronym of the entity is actually "IVCC" - which stands for Independence Visitor Center Corporation.

Who cares, right?

Actually, Nancy Gilboy does, very much. She's president of Philadelphia's International Visitors Council, which uses the acronym IVC. She dropped me a worried e-mail to tell me how her heart sank as she read the negative things I wrote in relation to the "IVC" - instead of the "IVCC."

I used the IVC acronym 17 times. 

"I'm in the middle of our annual fundraising for our 'Campaign for Peace and Understanding,'" she wrote. "Every non-profit is experiencing funding difficulties because of  the economy, so anything negative like this just adds to our mounting challenges."

She explained that for 57 years her fine organization has been a private-sector partner to the U.S. Department of State.  It handles in-bound delegations for thecountry's highest exchange program - the International Visitor Leadership Program - which brings emerging and established world leaders to the U.S. to gain an understanding of American values, policies and culture. 

"The [International Visitor's Council's] work shows the real United States, problems and all, but also shows the good side that's been overshadowed by movies and the world media," she wrote.  

The IVC, she added, "is part of a network of 92 Councils that was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001.  Our work is known as 'citizen diplomacy' where we engage the citizens of the region in playing a personal role in international relations.  We also administer Philadelphia's Sister Cities Program that links Philadelphia to ten cities in nine countries.  An example of citizen diplomacy is next week when members open their homes to international guests for the ultimate American holiday experience, Thanksgiving dinner.  (We've had members cook an entire Thanksgiving dinner in July!)"

Gilboy is understandably worried that potential donors to her organization might receive the International Visitor Council's fundraising literature in the mail, assume it's from the Independence Visitor Center  and have doubts about whether to donate to an entity that was written about so critically in my column.

So let's set the record straight right here. The IVC is not the IVCC.

Repeat 17 times, and then click on over to www.ivc.org to learn about the good work Gilboy's organization does. If you like what you read, click on this link to make a donation.

Many apologies - 17 apologies, in fact - to Gilboy and her staff, with thanks for letting me know of the gaffe.