The 10th anniversary of the Sandals Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Sandals Resorts International, doubles down on protecting Caribbean ecosystems.
“Our goal has always been to unite the Caribbean region, elevate its people, and protect its delicate ecosystem,” explains Adam Stewart, deputy chairman of Sandals Resorts International and president of the Sandals Foundation. “I am so proud of how far we’ve come in our first decade.”
To this regard, the Sandals Foundation has worked on more than 120 projects annually throughout the Caribbean to improve schools and educational systems, restore and preserve marine wildlife, and provide training and development to marginalized people. To-date, the foundation has raised more than $11 million and impacted nearly a million people. The mission of the next 10 years is to bring the whole world in on the plan.
Called #FaceTheCaribbean, those staying at some of the company’s 19 Sandals and Beaches Resorts will have the opportunity to make a positive impact on the Caribbean for generations to come, whether bringing school supplies to local schools with “Pack for a Purpose,” supporting local artists or rolling up their sleeves for unique voluntourism excursions, such as the “Reading Road Trip” where attendees interact with local communities.
The Next 10 Years
Environmental sustainability will be front-and-center in years to come, with multifaceted projects that meetings and incentives groups can connect with. The foundation plans to engage 100,000 people in environmental protection and conservation, particularly those who live and work in the Caribbean and depend on environmental viability to survive.
“The Caribbean Sea connects more than 700 islands and coastlines, which is a source of livelihood for thousands of people,” said Heidi Clarke, executive director of the Sandals Foundation, in a recent release. The role we all play in supporting protected areas and teaching the next generation the importance of caring for their precious environment is crucial now more than ever.”
Last year saw the elimination of the more than 21 million single-use plastic straws and stirrers used across resorts in seven Caribbean destinations each year, along with plastic laundry bags and plastic bags throughout gift shops. As of this past February, all resorts have eliminated Styrofoam. The foundation will also work with schools and educators to integrate marine education into lesson plans, provide reusable lunch kits to reduce Styrofoam dependence, facilitate hands-on field trips to protected areas and engage locals in coastal communities on proper solid waste management programs.
And, building on the success of endangered species programs, the foundation will certify Sandals and Beaches Resorts in turtle protection and continue rehabilitation programs, while also strengthening coral reefs in the region by planting 30,000 coral fragments onto reef systems.