BCD Travel employees embrace ‘improve the world’ corporate vision with $750,000 commitment to Haitian school
ATLANTA, July 05, 2016 – The BCD Travel Foundation, the giving arm of BCD Travel, will provide $750,000 to cover operating expenses over the next five years to help fund L’Ecole de Choix—“The School of Choice”— a private, non-profit elementary school in Mirebalais, Haiti. The funds will be raised by employee-led fundraising efforts and matching contributions from BCD Travel and its private owner.
In addition to monetary contributions, the BCD Travel Foundation will organize and fund trips to L’Ecole de Choix (pronounced “schwa”) for BCD Travel employees who wish to volunteer service hours at the school. The BCD Travel Foundation will also help promote additional fundraising initiatives for specific projects at the school, such as playground improvements and sanitation expansion.
“Our support of Choix is a natural fit for our company because it’s aligned with our organization’s core values. We encourage and enable our people to make a difference in the lives of our customers and our communities,” said Leslie West, senior vice president of BCD Travel and chair of the BCD Travel Foundation board. “Our foundation looks for ways to take this passion for helping others beyond serving customers to improve the lives of people around the world, with an emphasis on helping children.”
Added Kathy Jackson, executive vice president of Global Client Management and executive chair of Corporate Social Responsibility: “Our commitment to corporate social responsibility is written into our vision statement—we promote positive social impact by improving communities worldwide. We summarize that commitment as simply ‘doing good with everything we do.’”
Choix opened in October 2011 and now educates 180 children from grades one through six. The philanthropic arm of Zynga, the gaming company behind Farmville and Words With Friends, provided seed money for the school’s original physical infrastructure. Choix’s operations now are supported entirely through individual contributions and philanthropic partnerships such as with BCDTF.
Choix’s mission is to develop future Haitian leaders by empowering students to shape their own futures, strengthen their communities, create their own choices and, ultimately, to change the world. With a commitment to gender equality and inclusion, the school’s curriculum focuses on leadership development and communication skills for children living in the deepest conditions of poverty in Haiti.
The poorest country in the western hemisphere, Haiti has an average literacy rate of 53% and only half of school-age children attend school. Fewer than 30 percent of Haitian youth graduate from sixth grade. The 2010 earthquake in Haiti destroyed almost 50% of the nation’s schools and devastated the three main universities in Port-au-Prince.
Christian Dahl, senior vice president, Strategic Talent Management & Global Human Resources, and vice president of the BCD Travel Foundation board, believes that corporate social responsibility is essential to the company’s success. He said the best employees are drawn to companies that demonstrate a genuine concern over the impact their businesses have on people and the environment.
“Without question, employees are driven by a need to make a comfortable living, and they want their company to succeed as a business,” Dahl said. “But people spend half their lives at work, and when possible they want to leverage all that effort to create positive social change in the world. That’s why we think corporate social responsibility goes hand in hand with being a competitive and successful company.”
About BCD Travel
BCD Travel helps companies make the most of what they spend on travel. We give travelers innovative tools that keep them safe and productive, and help them make good choices on the road. We partner with travel and procurement leaders to simplify the complexities of business travel, drive savings and satisfaction, and move whole companies toward their goals. In short, we help our clients travel smart and achieve more. We make this happen in 109 countries with a global client retention rate of 98%, the highest in the industry. For more information, visit www.bcdtravel.com.
About BCD Group
BCD Group is a market leader in the travel industry. The privately-owned company was founded in 1975 by John Fentener van Vlissingen and consists of BCD Travel (global corporate travel management and its subsidiary BCD Meetings & Events, global meetings and events agency), Park ‘N Fly (off-airport parking) and Airtrade (consolidation and fulfillment). For more information, visit www.bcdgroup.com.