IHG? and its Hotel Owner Community Celebrate Groundbreaking at Give Kids The World Village
Four new villas to open to serve children with life-threatening illnesses visiting Central Florida nonprofit resort
IHG? (InterContinental Hotels Group), one of the world?s leading global hotel companies, and its owner community represented by the IHG Owners Association, today announced the groundbreaking on four new villas at the Give Kids The World Village in Kissimmee, Fla. Fundraising efforts, generated by generous corporate employees, hotel owners and guests through cash and hotel loyalty point donations, will make it possible for Give Kids The World (GKTW), an international nonprofit organization that provides cost-free Orlando vacations to children with life-threatening illnesses, to serve more families every year. As a founding corporate partner, the IHG family has contributed more than $6 million throughout the years, including pledging half a million dollars in 2012 to support construction of the new villas.
IHG and Give Kids The World have a shared history. Henri Landwirth, founder of Give Kids The World, was also a Holiday Inn? hotel owner. Landwirth had a passion for giving back to his Orlando community by serving guests visiting the local theme parks. The hotel was built first, in 1971. Then, by founding a nonprofit, he was able to seize the opportunity he saw to help fulfill the wishes of children battling a life-threatening illness, whose one desire was to visit the beloved theme parks of Central Florida. Give Kids The World was established in 1986 on the hotel?s property ? a memorable first for the Holiday Inn brand ? creating a unique legacy of hospitality and service. Today, Give Kids The World Village is a 70-acre ?storybook? resort that welcomes more than 7,000 families from across the United States and around the world every year.
?We are thrilled to celebrate this milestone, and that our brands, owners in the IHG Owners Association and our loyal guests have all been partners in helping this great charity achieve success during the past 26 years,? said Kirk Kinsell, president, Americas, IHG. ?We look forward to the success of the IHG Academy in collaboration with Give Kids The World, which will further enable their mission of fulfilling wishes for children with life-threatening illnesses.?
The four new villas to open in the Fairy Tale Forest at the Give Kids The World Village will join six existing villas adopted over the course of the partnership. Each two-villa building measures 2,600 sq. ft. and can accommodate up to sixteen guests. Annually, nearly 120 families will stay in each building while the children enjoy their wish of a once in a lifetime dream vacation. The dedication and engagement of IHG?s owners and guests of the Staybridge Suites? and Candlewood Suites? hotel brands, as well as frequent guests enrolled in the Priority Club? Rewards loyalty program have now made it possible for the accommodations in the Fairy Tale Forest to be fully developed and operate at capacity.
?IHG has been a loyal supporter of our mission since we welcomed our very first family at the Holiday Inn Main Gate East more than two decades ago,? said Pamela Landwirth, president, Give Kids The World. ?Since then, Give Kids The World has been able to restore joy and provide hope to more than 118,000 children from around the world. On behalf of all the families who will be able to experience a week of magical memories in their new home away from home, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to IHG, the IHG Owners Association and all its loyal employees and guests for making this possible.?
IHG also celebrates its commitment to making a positive impact on the local community around its hotels and corporate offices through the recently established an IHG Academy with Give Kids The World and the Holiday Inn Lake Buena Vista Downtown hotel. The IHG Academy is an initiative that brings together community organizations and educational institutions with IHG to help participants build their skills in hospitality and improve their employability in the hotel industry. There are now 100 IHG Academy programs worldwide that have benefited more than 10,000 people. Give Kids The World volunteers and staff will be able to participate in the IHG Academy to further strengthen their hospitality skills in service to the thousands of families who receive memorable, no-cost week-long vacation experiences at the Village.