See How Florida’s Hotel & Tourism Industry Rose to Meet Hurricane Matthew

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Hurricane Matthew, corporate social responsibility programs
Children outside of the Harris Rosen Foundation school

This past October, Hurricane Matthew pounded the Caribbean and Florida’s eastern coastline with Category 4 winds.

But thanks to a range of innovative corporate social responsibility programs, Florida’s hotel and tourism industry was ready to help those who were affected.

Turnberry Isle Miami

Weeks before the hurricane, the Turnberry Isle Miami resort partnered with volunteer organization HandsOn Miami to organize a group program for CARFAX. Employees of the vehicle history information provider helped to prepare 600 disaster preparedness buckets containing items such a flashlight, manual can opener, dust mask, zip-lock bags, notepad and writing materials. The company had no idea how timely their contribution was going to be when the event was first organized, but as the storm made its approach to South Florida, HandsOn Miami staff delivered the emergency buckets by hand to local communities that were in need.

HandsOn Miami coordinates and manages more than 20 high-impact volunteer events each month, inviting socially responsible companies to design their own customized service. Requesting companies can select a date, time, geographic area, number of volunteers, impact area and other relevant measures, and the HandsOn Miami team makes it happen. In October, a similar event was organized for Cable & Wireless Communications’ 2nd Annual Mission Day where volunteers packed hundreds of hygiene kits for the homeless.

Rosen Hotels & Resorts

Rosen Hotels & Resorts has long supported Haiti, the country most affected by Hurricane Matthew, through various programs, such as repurposing soap from its guest rooms, along with food, clothing and other supplies. The company’s “Water for Haiti” gala raised $350,000 to purchase more than 200 water filtration systems; Rosen is currently organizing relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Matthew. Closer to home, the company made all seven of its properties available at distress rates for Florida residents forced to evacuate the hurricane.

Elsewhere in Haiti, the Harris Rosen Foundation completed construction on a new elementary school in the city of Les Cayes, just weeks before the hurricane. The timely construction of the 8,000-sf concrete block school, built in partnership with the non-profit Food for the Poor, provided life-saving shelter for hundreds of residents, sustaining minimal damage.

Planners can reference a list of Rosen’s vetted charities online. The company can facilitate CSR programs for groups interested in contributing directly to their work in Haiti, or to the Tangelo Park Program, Harris Rosen’s 23-year initiative to provide college scholarships for a local community. Recent CSR events have included painting the Tangelo Park School, landscaping its grounds and hosting an “Olympics” with newly donated sports equipment.

Universal Orlando Resort

The Universal Orlando Resort offers giveback initiatives for groups in partnership with Feeding Children Everywhere, a charity that assembles healthy meals for children. The Loews-operated properties have participated in 18 such projects since 2013, and packed over a million meals for those in need.

“It’s a turnkey partnership,” says Robert Andrescik, chief communications officer for Feeding Children Everywhere. “We bring the food, set up the assembly lines, facilitate the project and coordinate distribution of the meals. It’s a fun, hands-on way to make a tangible difference in the fight against hunger.”

The charity, which has assembled 58 million meals around the world, was founded in 2010 and organizes around 40 CSR projects per year with event companies.

For more Universal planning ideas, be sure to check out “Universal Parks & Resorts Set to Bring the World of Nintendo to Life.”

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