Per the words of Hersha’s founders, there is no greater dignity than that found in service. “Hearts that Serve” is one of our core values and reflects our long tradition of social responsibility and community engagement. We believe that people are our strength. By putting people first, we are able to provide for our guests, care for our neighborhoods, support our associates, and have a strong presence in our communities to drive positive change on a local and global scale.
14,200 hours volunteered in our local communities since 2015
$320,000 raised for autism awareness since 2015
Provided clean water for 3,600 people for 21 years through funding from EarthView water since 2014
487,000 new bars of soap sent to developing nations since 2011
850 books donated to local schools in 2017
267 non-profits supported in 2017
A LOCAL APPROACH
Many of our hotels are strategically located in the heart of their respective cities. This provides our hotel teams the unique opportunity to become key members of the community and contribute to the local culture, ultimately creating shared value in the community.
As hotel owners and operators, we have the privilege of connecting our guests with our vibrant communities every day. We put an emphasis on ensuring our hotel locations are extremely navigable. Our portfolio has an average walk score of 83.6. This, along with our Independent Collection hotels’ neighborhood guides, allows our guests to easily navigate our neighborhoods to find restaurants, entertainment venues, and other points of interest while staying at our hotels.
Walkability (Walk Score) is a third party rating on a scale from 1-100, that measures how walkable a location is – such as proximity of nearby businesses, services providers, and recreational/outdoor space.
We also honor our ongoing commitment to our communities by partnering with local organizations to not only support our neighbors, but also give our guests an authentic experience while staying with us. Our associates invest in their communities by offering their time and talents. In 2017, our associates volunteered as mentors to future leaders, cleaned up parks and waterways, and provided items for food and clothing drives. In the past year, Hersha associates donated over 35,000 items of clothing, linens, books, toys, and school supplies to charitable organizations in our local communities.
In May, our properties and corporate offices showed their commitment to our communities by holding our annual Hersha Day of Service. Over 200 leaders across the company volunteered at various organizations including Habitat for Humanity, the SHARE Food Program, GrowPhilly Garden, and the Schuylkill Banks River Cleanup.
March is National Reading Month. Our Independent Hotels showed their support by hosting book drives and partnering with the United Way and Cradles for Crayons. Through their efforts and the participation of our guests, we were able to donate 850 books to support local schools in need.
GET TO KNOW THE TEAM
Kevin Catrambone, General Manager – Hilton Garden Inn 52nd Street
Each year Kevin Catrambone and his team spend part of their winter holiday helping a family in need through their annual “Adopt a Family” event. In 2017, Kevin and his team adopted a family who, a few years ago, fostered and adopted three young siblings. Unfortunately, due to health issues, their new family was going through some tough times. However, the team at 52nd Street was able to provide toys, clothing, and even a trip to Disney on Ice to make their holiday a little more magical.
HAVING A GLOBAL IMPACT
Our focus on communities is also reflected in our support of national and global programs that help care for those in need. We are fortunate to be in a position to create both awareness and consciousness for our guests and associates on pressing issues, while also helping members of our global communities.
CLEAN THE WORLD
There are communities around the world where two of the top five leading causes of death are hygiene related diseases, particularly in children. Simple hand-washing can lower the risk of diarrhea by 44-47% and acute respiratory infection in children under five years old by 50%. Our hotels have partnered with Clean the World to help these communities in need. We work with our hotel associates to collect partially used soaps that are sent to Clean the World. Clean the World then sanitizes these items and distributes new bars of soap to communities in need. Since the beginning of our partnership with Clean the World, our hotel donations created 487,000 new bars of soap.
We know for many around the world, water is a scarce resource. In fact, one in ten people lack access to safe water. In our effort to help, EarthView launched a private label water bottle sold at our hotels made from 100% recycled plastic. For each bottle purchased, we donate $1 to help bring water to those in need in partnership with Water.org through a program called WaterCredit. One of the largest barriers to safe water and sanitation is affordable financing. WaterCredit provides small, easily repayable loans to those who need access to affordable financing and expert resources to make household water and sanitation solutions a reality. In 2017, our donation from the sale of our bottles will provide clean water to over 1,700 people for 21 years. Since the end of 2014 when we started the program, we’ve been able to provide clean water to over 3,600 people for 21 years. By helping people obtain access to financing, we can help more people in ways that have a lasting impact.
To ensure our consistent engagement in serving the communities in which we live and work, Hersha created a dedicated philanthropic committee. This committee is the strategic agent behind partnerships with the National Constitution Center, Cornell University, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, along with many other local organizations in our hotel and corporate office communities. This committee meets regularly and provides a strategic focus to leverage our partnerships and create the biggest impact through community stewardship and revitalization efforts.
In September 2017, in collaboration with Cornell University, Hersha opened “The Hersha Center” at Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration. This Center, dedicated to our founders, is located at the center of campus and will be used for experiential learning for students studying hospitality and restaurant management.
Hersha started a partnership with the Malcolm Jenkins Foundation, which works with youth in underserved communities through the development of programs that emphasize education, character development, leadership, life skills, health and recreation. In 2017, the Hersha Philadelphia Office held a gift drive and provided over 100 toys and clothing items to families throughout the greater Philadelphia area.
In 2017, we were reminded of our interdependence on nature and that we are unified in how it can adversely affect the communities in which we live and work. We saw the impact of a record breaking hurricane season as Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria pushed through Texas and the Southeast Coast. At the end of 2017, we witnessed the West Coast enduring the most destructive wildfire season on record. In light of these natural tragedies, we were able to come together to provide support for those in need. Hotel teams volunteered at pop-up shelters and collected goods and donations, while corporate offices sent hygiene kits to those stranded. We continue to provide support in the rebuilding of these communities impacted by the hurricanes and wildfires.
GET TO KNOW THE TEAM
Neisha Williams – Hotel Manager, Hyatt Union Square
Neisha has been with Hersha for almost 10 years and her leadership and involvement in the community truly displays the heart of Hersha’s philanthropic values. During her time in Manhattan, Neisha organized a blood drive in partnership with the American Red Cross that collected blood for patients and hospitals throughout New York. Neisha is also an active member of the Hotel Association of New York City’s Sustainability Committee.
BUILDING OUR TEAM
At Hersha, we know that our competitive advantage is our people – our innovative, collaborative, and highly motivated associates. We believe an engaged workforce can foster the most inventive ideas, create competitive advantages, and make our dreams a reality.
For this reason we strive to provide our associates with opportunities for advancement and personal growth. In fact, over half of our General Managers (GMs) were promoted to their positions internally. For associates interested in management, we provide specialized leadership development trainings for rising managers. We also host a three day workshop to provide technical and development training to GMs and key corporate leaders.
It is through efforts like these that we are proud to have our Philadelphia Corporate Office named one of Philadelphia Business Journal’s Best Places to Work in 2017.
Pictured: Associates promote our Hersha Value of “Only Excellence”.
Thank you for reading through Hersha’s 2017 EarthView Sustainability Report. We are pleased and encouraged by the impact EarthView is making and by increased recognition from guests, our partners, and industry peers. We believe that owning and operating our hotels with sustainability as a core element of our mission is important to all of our stakeholders and we look forward to sharing our progress with you as we continue our pursuit of sustainable hospitality.