Each day I receive a newsletter from the Good News Network highlighting the good news of the day. There could easily be a hospitality version of this newsletter given the volume of news I receive about hotel companies doing great things in their communities and around the world. The heart of our industry is big and that is one of the main reasons I have stayed in it for so many years. Compassion and giving are not just a holiday thing but something that happens year-round. It is ingrained in the DNA of so many companies.
I try to post as many “giving” stories as I can. Two that jumped out at me this past week came from Kalahari Resorts and Conventions and Marriott International. First, Kalahari announced its pledge to bring clean water to one million people throughout Africa in partnership with the nonprofit, charity: water. The pledge equates to a commitment of $50 million. Kalahari Resorts is African-themed, inspired by a trip to Africa over 20 years ago by the owners and founders, the Nelson family.
“We have been tremendously blessed by our welcoming community partners, loyal guests and hardworking associates to have the ability to provide the most basic need—clean water—to one million of our friends in Africa,” said Todd Nelson, Founder and CEO of Kalahari Resorts and Conventions. “There is truly no other place on earth as beautiful as Africa—our family makes it a priority to travel there as often as we can, and we have fallen in love with the culture and people there.”
One Ambitious Goal
Founded in 2006, charity: water is a nonprofit organization with one ambitious goal: ending the world water crisis in our lifetime. To date, they have raised more than $800 million to fund over 137,000 water projects across 29 countries, bringing clean water to more than 17.4 million people.
“Thanks to the support of millions of generous donors around the world, we have made amazing strides in providing the joy, health and stability that clean water allows,” said Scott Harrison, CEO and Founder of charity: water. “However, there is still so much important work to do. Today, 703 million people do not have access to clean water; that’s nearly 1 in 10 people alive or twice the population of the United States.”
Kalahari Resorts’ pledge, branded the “Water Colors Life Project,” continues the company’s commitment to Africa and its dedication to making the world a better place.
Nelson said, “We recognize our family has the unique and important responsibility to bring the lifesaving and life-giving resource of clean water to our friends in Africa in hopes of creating a healthier and more vibrant global community.”
Completing the goal of the Water Colors Life Project equates to a $50 million commitment that will be funded through a mix of substantial financial donations from the Nelson Family, fundraising events, and on-site guest contributions. “By simply visiting a Kalahari Resort, you’re helping our family achieve this monumental goal,” Nelson said. “We want everyone to feel like they have an important role to play, however they are able, in changing our global community for the better.”
To learn more about Kalahari Resorts’ Water Colors Life Project in partnership with charity: water, visit charitywater.org/Kalahari.
Marriott & UNICEF
Another commitment that caught my eye this past week was one by Marriott International and again it involves a sum of $50 million. In recognition of World Children’s Day, Marriott announced it is working together with UNICEF to relaunch and expand its donation program “Check Out for Children.” The program—which invites guests to make a voluntary donation for each night of their stay—is now live in over 500 properties across 40 countries in Marriott’s Caribbean, Latin America (CALA), Europe, Middle East, Africa (EMEA) and Asia Pacific excluding China (APEC) regions.
Over the course of nearly three decades, hotels in the company’s portfolio have helped Marriott raise over $50 million for UNICEF, benefiting more than 4.5 million children worldwide, mainly through the Check Out for Children donation program. With the program’s official relaunch in February 2023, Check Out for Children has generated over $250,000 in additional support for UNICEF. Additionally, since 2022, Marriott, along with the Marriott Disaster Relief Fund, Marriott Bonvoy and Marriott guests, have contributed over $1.3 million to UNICEF.
These contributions have gone toward responding to some of the world’s most severe challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters and humanitarian crises as well as providing ongoing care for the world’s most vulnerable children.
Marriott’s Check Out for Children program helps fund UNICEF’s ongoing efforts to make a better world for every child in over 190 countries and territories. The program invites guests to make a voluntary donation to their bill at check-in, with the option to remove or modify the donation at any time during their stay. Donations will be used to help further UNICEF’s work across the regions through initiatives like creating safe and clean environments for children in CALA; providing access to education in APEC; and helping protect refugees and advocate for children with disabilities in EMEA.
As part of Marriott’s Serve 360 sustainability and social impact platform, the Check Out for Children program reflects the company’s larger commitment to Nurture Our World, making the communities where Marriott operates better places to live, work, and visit.
To learn more about the Check Out for Children program visit https://serve360.marriott.com/nurture/unicef-checkout-for-children.
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