In the Words of Chesapeake

Chesapeake Hospitality CSR: Focus on Philanthropy

Chesapeake Hospitality CSR: Focus on Philanthropy

October 29, 2018

When the Chesapeake Hospitality team came together for our most recent conference, one theme came through clearly: that we are men and women for others. Beginning with our core company mission, helping guests and colleagues experience what’s possible, every member of the Chesapeake Hospitality family goes to work each day to elevate the experience of those around them.

 Our company’s broader Corporate Social Responsibility strategy is founded on these fundamental principles, extending naturally into sustainability, community engagement, philanthropy and beyond.  For decades, the foundation of this program has formed organically through the charitable work and community engagement of those across the Chesapeake network.

 At the Corporate level, giving back to the community has always woven in to the fabric of our culture.

I came onboard to look after Hackerman-Patz houses, facilities on the campuses of hospitals where families of those receiving treatment can stay. We began with a hospital that wanted the facility to be run like a hotel – a high quality experience for each guest. We took this on knowing it wasn’t going to be a money maker because we deeply believed in the project. In time, additional hospitals noticed the quality and hospitality of that house and the role it played for families during the treatment process, and our portfolio has continued to expand.

 In 2013, we began partnering with Give Kids the World, an organization that covers the travel and accommodation costs for children on a Make a Wish experience. We began our partnership at $60,000 in 2013. This year, we gave $100,000, as a significant portion of our team spent time volunteering with the organization.

At the property level, we’ve seen our company principals support growing charitable and community-based engagement across a wide range of partnerships. An increasing number of properties are gathering belongings for children and those in need at homeless shelters, especially during times of need like the upcoming holidays. Many of our properties are active participants Wounded Warriors Project, collectively gathering donations for the program. Through programs like Stuff the Bus and Backpack buddies, a number of properties are engaged in helping children in local communities go back to school. And near our Corporate HQ, teams are engaged in supporting the House of Ruth, a shelter and support system for women who have endured domestic violence.

Beyond the corporate and property level, every single employee is encouraged to engaged in charities of their choice. Chesapeake provides $50 a year for employees to donate to any programs they select.  

Year on year, we’ve seen the power that comes from clearly conveying the role of charity and community engagement in our core values and actively supporting our teams in those endeavors. As we’ve seen remarkable levels of engagement and incredible stories continue to emerge across the organization, another thing has happened: our business has continued to grow. In addition to being good for the community, community engagement and wider philanthropy is downright good for business, underpinning a positive reputation amongst guests and local partners deeply supportive of long-term success.

Across a range of studies, it’s become increasingly clear that mission-driven companies are a significant factor in consumer decision-making. In our hotels that display literature or donation boxes for give kids the world, people will actually come up and say “I love that you do this.” And that’s a guest that absolutely will be coming back.