The philanthropic arm of Florida-based lodging group Innisfree Hotels focuses on community engagement and outreach.
Innisfree Hotels, a hotel management and development giant headquartered in Gulf Breeze, Florida, is making a larger footprint than its 15 waterfront properties spanning across the southern coastline. Founders Julian and Kim MacQueen wanted to create a legacy company and make positive impacts surrounding their properties that will affect generations. Rather than just writing checks, the MacQueens seek ways to truly invest in the community by using profits to pour back into the local area.
Through their philanthropic effort, The Hive, Innisfree Hotels’ corporate social responsibility program was created. The focus on giving back and bettering the community is woven into the tapestry of Innisfree’s workplace culture and expectations of its employees. As encouragement to focus on humanitarian projects, The Hive offers all Innisfree employees 24 hours of paid time off for volunteering. “By being invested in our communities, we are bettering the areas in which we live, work, and play,” says Rusty Branch, Innisfree Hotels’ vice president of community engagement and outreach.
The Hive’s mission is to empower and support people and create thriving communities. The focus is often on projects of significance that have the betterment for citizens at their core and where efforts extend beyond just funding resources. Here are some examples:
• The Parent University of Pensacola seeks to reach and provide services to parents and families through educational classes and resources.
• The Dixon School of Arts & Science, located in Pensacola, supports the underserved youth of Escambia County. Through initiatives of The Hive, the school has received improvements through renovations and has held fundraisers to benefit its students and facilities at the Pensacola Beach Hilton, an Innisfree property. Students of the Dixon’s Fine Arts Program create artwork to be displayed in an annual exhibit, “The Brilliant Star Gallery,” showcased at the Luna Fine Art Gallery located inside the Pensacola Beach Hilton. The students profit from the sale of the artwork, learn invaluable industry insight, and gain confidence in their craft.
• The Hive, in partnership with Project Search in Escambia and Okaloosa counties, provides on-the-job training and mentorship for mentally and physically disabled community members. The mentees shadow employees of Innisfree properties to learn both life and job skills. With the goal of building an industry workforce, the trainees can be included in employee evaluations for full-time employment.
“Innisfree’s hope is that all employees get involved and give back to their community in some way,” says Branch. For example, the mission inspired Rhiannon Reynolds, the general manager at an Innisfree property in Fort Walton Beach, to give back in her area by partnering with One Hopeful Place, a local homeless shelter. Reynolds’ hotel helps process and launder clean linens to donate to the homeless on cold nights.
Innisfree Hotels is filling the communities with hope and humanitarian goodness. The MacQueens discovered a need in the areas in which they invested, and with the efforts of their employees, associates, and The Hive, they are completing their mission to shape lives.