Creation of Community Foundation Invites Guests to Give Back while on Vacation
(Providenciales, Turks and Caicos) - Grace Bay Resorts, the parent company for Grace Bay Club and The Veranda Resort, recently introduced the first Adopt-A-School initiative as part of their new Community Foundation to foster guest involvement in education and community outreach in the Turks and Caicos region.
Through the combined efforts of Grace Bay Resorts, the Turks and Caicos government, and local contractor Projetech Ltd, guests of both Grace Bay Club and The Veranda now provide long term repair and refurbishment assistance supporting over 395 students in elementary and high schools that were not only damaged from Hurricane Ike, but also have been historically neglected due to lack of local funding. The Adopt-A-Schoolprogram, launched in fall 2009, currently operates on a quarterly basis and invites guests to join staff on day excursions to the North and South Caicos Islands delivering much needed supplies and labor. Due to the growing interest in volun-tourism initiatives, Grace Bay Resorts expects to increase this initiative to operate on a monthly basis in late 2010. To date, the adopted schools include: Iris Stubbs Primary School, Marjorie Basden High School, Charles Hubert James Primary School and Adelaide Oemler Primary.
“We conceived the idea of the Adopt-A-School program and the Community Foundation as a way for our guests to give back to the destination in which they are visiting,” says Mark Durliat, CEO of Grace Bay Resorts. “This initiative is a great representation of the ideals and goals at Grace Bay Resorts. We are really proud to bring this project to our guests and feel that it is a natural extension of the conservation and education programs for which Grace Bay Resorts is known.”
Grace Bay Resorts has committed an initial donation of $100,000 for a minimum of one year for the Adopt-A-School and Community Foundation. Once the refurbishment of these schools is complete, funding will go to support the upkeep of the equipment and educational programs on-site. Grace Bay Resorts’ Community Foundation Program has also identified additional areas in need of guest outreach including the re-development of local community parks, a scholarship program for staff members and breakfast programs for underprivileged children in the Providenciales area.
“Our goal is to motivate guests to reach into their own lives and choose something meaningful to contribute besides money,” says Durliat. “We have already had several guests donate educational books and other items to the schools. Already we have had a guest in the toy business express interest in donating toys and a film maker with interest in contributing educational films and a projector. Thoughtful donations such as these have a great impact on the school kids while also providing guests with an opportunity to personally connect with this project.”
In addition to the Community Foundation, Nikheel Advani, COO of Grace Bay Resorts recently announced a partnership with The Bodhi Tree Foundation, a non-profit organization charged with mobilizing support from travelers and the tourism industry to protect places and people around the globe. Founded on the “Power of One” philosophy, Advani, an advisory board member on the foundation, has pledged to match each $1 guests donate per room night towards the cause. For more information visit www.thebodhitreefoundation.org.
About Grace Bay Resorts
Grace Bay Resorts is a boutique developer and operator of high-end, luxury resorts and branded residences, founded from its flagship property Grace Bay Club in Turks and Caicos which opened in 1993. Led by Mark Durliat and Nikheel Advani, the developers and hoteliers behind this renowned resort, and Michael Brewster, Managing Partner of Denver-based SV Capital Partners, Grace Bay Resorts provides development, branding and management for its brand and is expanding its award-winning services into other Caribbean destinations and Latin America, with a target of 10 properties in the next few years.
About the Grace Bay Resorts Community Foundation
The Grace Bay Resorts Community Foundation is an initiative launched in mid-2009 by Grace Bay Resorts CEO Mark Durliat to educate its staff on social responsibility while providing ongoing community volunteer efforts to the Turks and Caicos Islands. The Foundation committee consists of twenty local and expatriate employees who are focused on identifying and executing projects that can benefit the community as a whole and with which guests of its properties can identify and actively participate. Early initiatives include the “adoption” and rebuilding efforts of four local schools, the reconstruction of two local parks, a yearly scholarship program for several of its staff and breakfast programs for underprivileged school children.