Hilton’s commitment to making a difference goes all the way back to its founder, hotel and hospitality pioneer Conrad Hilton, who started Hilton Hotels in 1919 with the purchase of a 40-room hotel in Cisco, Texas.
“Charity is a supreme virtue, and the great channel through which the mercy of God is passed on to mankind. It is the virtue that unites men and inspires their noblest efforts,” Hilton is credited as saying.
Moreover, Conrad Hilton believed that travel and hospitality made the word a smaller, more peaceful place by encouraging interaction between cultures.
That spirit of benevolence lives on after a century in business.
“Hilton’s founder truly believed that travel and tourism could be a tool for building mutual understanding, and that it could be a tool, by extension, for world peace,” said Daniella Foster, senior director of Corporate Responsibility for Hilton during a recent episode of the Meetings Today Podcast.
“Throughout our history, Hilton has continuously gone into markets where maybe there were no formal economies, or where travel and tourism didn’t exist, so in the spirit of that kind of pioneering mentality we wanted to launch the Hilton Effect Foundation,” she added.
Hilton’s Many Charity Programs Give Back to Local Communities
Launched as part of Hilton's 100th anniversary celebration, the Hilton Effect Foundation invests in the organizations and people who make a positive impact within the communities in which the hotel company operates.
The Foundation began the effort by offering 15 grants to create employment opportunities for youth, aid in disaster recovery and support water stewardship and sustainability.
The Hilton Effect Foundation stems from the company’s Travel With Purpose corporate social responsibility campaign, which has a goal of doubling the hotel giant’s investment in creating social impact.
The initiative also tasks Hilton with cutting its environmental footprint in half by 2030 in alignment with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
Since launching in 2011, Hilton says its Travel With Purpose program has resulted in its employees performing more than 1.3 million hours of volunteer service and the company donating tens of millions of dollars in the communities it serves.
Hilton Random Acts of Hospitality, Delivering Brownies to Chicago Fire Department Employees, Credit: Hilton
Hilton’s most recent charitable effort is the grassroots “Random Acts of Hospitality.”
The program encourages Hilton employees to give back via providing “meaningful, simple gestures for others that extend Hilton’s hospitality beyond the doors of its hotels.”
“Random Acts of Hospitality, as the title says, is about surprising people with that Hilton hospitality in unexpected ways outside of the doors of our hotels around the world,” said Carole Munroe, director of Portfolio, Loyalty and Content at Hilton.
“And our team members embraced the idea, took it to heart, and they made some magical things happen all around the world, and we could not be more proud,” she added.
According to Hilton, some prime examples of Random Acts of Hospitality gestures include:
- Team members from the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C., surprised nonprofit organization DC Central Kitchen’s culinary students with new knife sets and food scales.
- In Houston, team members from Hilton Americas-Houston treated volunteers from disaster relief organization Team Rubicon during their work rebuilding homes in Houston damaged by Hurricane Harvey. The Hilton team transformed the volunteers’ meal site into an elegant dinner.
- Hilton Shanghai Hongqiao and Hilton Sanya Yalong Bay Resort & Spa in China treated local taxi drivers to a car wash, refreshments and treats when they stopped at the hotels.
- During Ramadan, Hilton Garden Inn Mall of the Emirates in Dubai invited taxi drivers to stop by the hotel and receive complimentary meal boxes to break their fast at Iftar time.
- In Argentina, Hilton Buenos Aires delivered breakfast to brighten the morning for locals, including to the Navy Police responsible for security in Puerto Madero.
Learn more about Hilton's "Random Acts of Hospitality" in the video below.
Hilton’s Charitable Efforts in the Meetings Segment
Hilton launched Meet With Purpose in 2015 to serve the meetings and conventions segment.
An extension of its Travel With Purpose campaign, the meetings effort is supported by three pillars: Mindful Meeting, Mindful Eating and Mindful Being.
Since its inception, Hilton said Meet With Purpose has resulted in meeting planners and attendees donating 569 meals for relief aid, over 1 million hygiene kits for charities, 650 flower bouquets for local shelters and 1,000 socks for veterans, children’s charities and other nonprofit organizations.
According to Hilton, examples of how Meet With Purpose can be utilized at meetings include:
- Citrus Lift: Featuring oranges and orange-infused foods, this refreshing break offers attendees an assortment of vitamin-C powered snacks.
- Blooms & Cheer: Get the creativity flowing by creating flower arrangements that attendees can take home or donate to a local nonprofit organization.
- Yoga & Yogurt: This instructor-led yoga class followed by a balanced yogurt parfait bar is the perfect start to a productive day.
- Cut & Create Salad Bar: A twist on the traditional salad bar that lets attendees clip fresh greens straight to their plates from their seats.
- Sole Mates: Attendees can get a pair of socks to keep and donate a pair to veteran organizations, children's charities and other nonprofits with a note of encouragement.
“I think it’s part of what makes Hilton, Hilton, and when we launched the Foundation, we had an influx of emails in support and properties that reached out and said, ‘We want to bring this to our community, and we have some recommendations [for] nonprofits we want to support.
“We have 400,000 team members around the world—they care about this; they are the heartbeat of our business,” Foster said. “We are in the business of people serving people.
“So for us it’s kind of ingrained in our DNA and it’s a natural fit,” she added.
Listen to Tyler Davidson's interview with Hilton's Daniella Foster and Carole Munroe:
Don't have time to listen to the full episode? Read the transcript here.