corporate social responsibility

How to Put the "FUN" in Fundraising And Engage Your Team For A Great Cause

By Mary Rudd and Matt West

Mary Rudd is the Talent Acquisition, Development and Corporate Responsibility Coordinator and Matt West is the Director of Talent Acquisition, Development and Corporate Responsibility at Real Hospitality Group, a partner of ECPAT-USA and member of The Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct (The Code).

Real Hospitality Group embarked on a mission this summer to put the “FUN” in Fundraising as well as to engage with our associates and come together for a great cause.  To do this, we decided to hold Real Hospitality Group’s first ever Fete en Blanc Eastern shore and RHG’s second Cycle for Freedom with SWERVE Fitness.

Fete en Blanc 2019:

Modeled after Dîner en Blanc held in Paris, a Feté en Blanc is an event in which picnic-goers gather in a public space to set up a temporary, chic dining experience.  An invitation-only, popup feast to celebrate our associates, the community where we live and work, and the summer solstice. Party attendees must provide their own provisions, table set ups and decorations and are required to be dressed “to the nines” in all white.  To build excitement and pique interest, there is a mysterious twist in that the location is kept under wraps until 24 hours prior to the event.  

As a hotel management company, RHG is working relentlessly to raise awareness and to help eradicate child trafficking in the hospitality industry and the hotels we manage.  We aspired to create a unique and whimsical event that would get the word out and maximize the monies donated to our chosen cause – ECPAT USA. What a better way to symbolize the innocence of children than with an all-white, decadent popup picnic?   

ECPAT USA’s mission is to protect every child’s human right to grow up free from the threat of sexual exploitation and trafficking, placing a strong focus on the hospitality industry.  Working one-on-one with communities throughout the nation, the legislatures and corporations, ECPAT-USA is leading the charge to end human trafficking around the world.   

Attendees received an email on Friday, May 31, to reveal that the first Annual Real Hospitality Feté en Blanc (scheduled on June 1) was to be held at the Windmill Creek Winery in Berlin, MD.  Guests arrived in their finest white regalia and were greeted at registration with a fantastic gift bag full of “all white” goodies donated by our very generous vendors. Activities included entertainment throughout the night, lawn games, henna tattoos, silent auction, selfie station, food trucks and of course delicious food.  Our MC closed the evening with the award to the group with the most grand and opulent “all white” table set up.  

This was a great event which brought together the community and RHG Associates, helped raise awareness of the issue of Human Trafficking and Exploitation and got various vendors involved in this cause. Our first Feté was a huge success with 75 attendees.  We are looking to build on to next year’s event and are now scouting for the venue for the 2020 Feté.

RHG Cycle for Freedom 2019:

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In New York, we hosted our second “RHG Cycle for Freedom” on June 29th 2019.  Our first Cycle for Freedom last year was a great success and very popular with our Associates.  Real Hospitality Group rents a studio with 48 bikes at SWERVE Flatiron District. Associates across our hotels can register a team of up to five people to take part.  The event is completely free for associates to register – all we ask is that they raise as much as possible using our Crowdrise fundraising page and ask friends/family/colleagues/vendors and communities to donate to the team.  The Cycle for Freedom is a fun filled 45-minute rhythm ride and the bikes are arranged into three teams. The team dynamic keeps you motivated, supported, and accountable, without ever singling you out. This was a great event to bring associates together from various hotels who may have never met but are on the same team – just like RHG working together towards a common goal.  Again, this event created a lot of awareness with our vendors making kind donations towards the cause. We can’t wait to do it again next year!

The goal of all of our fundraising activities aside from raising money for ECPAT-USA is to bring people together, have fun and raise awareness.  With these two events, we believed we were successful in achieving our mission.

To learn more about how to incorporate employee engagement and corporate responsibility activities to your company, check out our blog or email info@ecpatusa.org

Three Ways Your Company Can Fight Trafficking Today

Companies that acknowledge their role and responsibility in recognizing and preventing child sex trafficking are key to ending exploitation. Since we began working with the hotel and travel industry, we have seen the impact these partnerships have - including protecting countless children. You can use the following three ways to make your company a champion for children today.

1. Through Event Gifts

Now more than ever, customers are seeking responsibly-sourced products that make a difference, and the same should be true when it comes to corporate event gifts. Made at the Regina Center in Thailand, our fair trade keychains not only support our work to end exploitation, they provide income-generating opportunities for women at the center. The project enables women to stay in their villages and keep their children in school, which are two major strategies in reducing sex trafficking.

2. Through Venue Booking RFPs

Companies of all sizes and structures can integrate policies against human trafficking into an already existing human rights policy, adopt the policy on its own, and/or include it in the company’s employee handbook. In addition, large-scale travel purchasing can influence travel companies to take steps to fight human trafficking and child exploitation by including language addressing the issue in Requests For Proposals (RFPs). By making these requirements part of standard travel procurement practice, meetings and travel professionals send the message that child sex trafficking is unacceptable.

3. Through Training

Last January, ECPAT-USA launched a new e-learning to help previously untapped sectors of the travel industry join the fight to end human trafficking. Through the training, travel, and meetings professionals are given the tools to identify and respond to trafficking as well as how to take action with clients and suppliers. Check out the e-learning and free resources for travel professionals on our site today.


Five Ways You Can End Human Trafficking On Global Meetings Industry Day

On April 4, meetings professionals across the world will gather to showcase the impact the industry has on people, businesses and the economy on Global Meetings Industry Day. On this international day of advocacy, the meetings industry is also recognizing the unique role its associates play in the ending human trafficking. Chapters across the country are raising awareness of the issue and highlight how we can work together to protect children from exploitation.

Register for one of the events below to join the fight! We’re also making a special announcement on #GMID. Check our site on April 4th or learn more live at the events in NYC or Philadelphia!

In New York City

Global Meeting Industry Day Education & Engagement Event

Join SITE Northeast, Meeting Professionals International and PCMA NYC chapters in a special education and engagement presentation on Global Meetings Industry Day in conjunction with ECPAT-USA. You'll hear from speakers Carol Smolenski, Shanifa Bennett, Robin Carter, Jessica Schultz and David Peckinpaugh on how you and your company can fight the global issue of human trafficking.

Register here.

In the Bay Area

GMID Networking Event Benefiting ECPAT-USA

Join leaders from across the meetings and events industry at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square to showcase the real impact that business meetings, conferences, conventions, incentive travel, trade shows and exhibitions have on people, business and communities.

Register here.

In Philadelphia

Human Trafficking in the Hospitality Industry

Join PCMA Greater Philadelphia Chapter & MPI PHL at a special session shedding some light on the problem of human trafficking and how those in the hospitality industry can increase awareness of the issue. ECPAT-USA will be speaking alongside Hilton, Philadelphia CVB, Covenant House PA, and FBI.

Register here.

In Miami

Global Meetings Industry Day Benefiting ECPAT-USA

Join Site Florida & Caribbean for a global day of advocacy. Don’t miss the opportunity to celebrate the industry’s enduring business value and its $2.65 trillion in global economic impact.

Register here.

Anywhere Online

Last January, ECPAT-USA launched a new e-learning to help previously untapped sectors of the travel industry - including the meetings industry - join the fight to end human trafficking. Through the training, meetings professionals are given the tools to identify and respond to trafficking as well as how to take action with clients and suppliers. The e-learning and free resources for travel professionals are available anytime online.  

Atlas Travel Announces New Partnership With ECPAT-USA

(MARLBOROUGH MA) - Atlas Travel is proud to announce its partnership with ECPAT-USA, the leading policy organization in the United States seeking to end the commercial sexual exploitation of children. Human trafficking is an international and multi-billion dollar market whose proceedings are often unwittingly facilitated by the travel and hospitality industries. As a member of the travel and tourism community, it’s our responsibility to shed light on this global atrocity.

“We are proud of our ongoing commitment to our local communities and continually strive to set the standard for corporate contributions towards the betterment of society,” says founder and CEO Elaine Osgood. “We’ve spent considerable time and resources translating our long-standing culture of community empowerment into a foundational business pillar. We are honored and excited that these efforts have led to becoming the first New England-based travel management company to join ECPAT-USA in fighting global injustices against children.”  

In addition to partnering with ECPAT-USA, Atlas Travel has also become a member of the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct. The Code is the world’s first and only voluntary set of business principles travel and tour companies can implement to prevent sexual exploitation and trafficking of children. The Code provides members with support and resources to raise awareness; in turn, members commit to implementing six essential measures:

  • Establish policies and procedures against human trafficking and child exploitation

  • Train employees on said policies and procedures

  • Include a contract clause for business partners, including RFPs

  • Provide information to travelers

  • Support, collaborate & engage stakeholders

  • Report annually on initiatives

“Companies that recognize their role and responsibility in recognizing and preventing child sex trafficking are a key in ending exploitation,” said Michelle Guelbart, Director of Private Sector Engagement at ECPAT-USA.“We are excited to welcome Atlas Travel to The Code and as a new partner in helping us protect children.”

With these core measures in place, our work throughout the year will expand upon these commitments, especially raising both industry-wide and public awareness. We hope these efforts curb trafficking not only internationally, but domestically as well: human trafficking occurs in all 50 states, in cities and rural communities alike.


About Atlas Travel

Headquartered in Marlborough, Massachusetts, Atlas Travel offers corporate travel, vacation planning, and meetings and incentives services. For over thirty years, Atlas Travel has been providing easier travel and better management to companies around the globe. Through a wholly-owned UK division and affiliation with BCD Travel, Atlas Travel offers global travel programs to more than 110 countries. Atlas Travel is a certified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) and Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB), as well as a distinguished member of the Inc. 5000 list.

About ECPAT-USA

ECPAT-USA is the leading policy organization in the United States seeking to end the commercial, sexual exploitation of children through awareness, advocacy, policy, and legislation. For more than 25 years, ECPAT-USA has been leading the charge to prevent child trafficking before it happens. ECPAT-USA is a member of the ECPAT International network, with offices in 95 countries. For more information on ECPAT-USA, visit ecpatusa.org; for specific details on The Code, please visit ecpatusa.org/Code.