Impact of Philanthropy

Celebrating the Impact of Philanthropy

Hospitality Industry Generosity Helps Build Healthy Communities


Hospitality is defined as “the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers,” and “warmth, geniality, and friendliness” are among its synonyms, according to dictionary.com. Is it any wonder then that when it comes to philanthropy, the lodging companies who have built their businesses around comforting others, continue to escalate their impact on everyone they touch?

One of the greatest and possibly least recognized contributions of the hospitality industry is the great generosity of its corporations and the significant community support provided by its people. That spirit of giving helps fund efforts that enrich educational experiences for children, build healthy communities, and lend vital support to families in need. It’s not surprising that the impact of their philanthropy doesn’t often make the evening news because industry leaders aren’t using their goodwill as a PR platform.

“We don't necessarily do it to get a monetary return,” explains Marissa Silverman, general manager at the SpringHill Suites by Marriott Medford (InnSight Hotel Management Group). “When you give back to the community it makes you a happier person, and employees are more productive when they have a passion and a goal set forward. The employees have a drive and passion, and that trickles down to their work. That's the return that I see.”

For Ryan Snyder, president of Cannon Beach-based Martin Hospitality and outgoing ORLA Chair, philanthropy isn’t driven by a desire for recognition. “The reason for giving is not about us and our brand at all,” says Snyder. “We participate where there is need and passion. Occasionally, there is a cause that needs our facilities, a room, a meal, etc. When those occur, I have watched our team perform at a genuinely high level, which is very rewarding.”

Snyder served on the Make-A-Wish Oregon Board of Directors for six years, where he was able to witness firsthand the impact philanthropies have on lives, and not just the recipients of dreams come true. “I remember specifically the ‘wish’ a few years ago that occurred in Cannon Beach,” recalls Snyder. “The wish was embraced by every department of our company, and was truly a special memory for all those that were able to participate.”

Giving can be rewarding in many ways, according to Chris Erickson, general manager of The Heathman Hotel in Portland. “I think goodwill can go a long way, both with the team internally and in our community as well,” he notes. “I think people in our community will tend to support a business that is giving back, and we certainly appreciate that. It's just a small way to say thank you to the community supporting us.”

Most carefully plan which charities they will support each year and what those efforts will entail. “In 2005 we started a formalized charitable contributions process within Martin Hospitality,” reports Snyder. “It starts with a percentage of revenues from our hotels and restaurants and focuses on the primary areas of arts, education and children. We attempt to localize our efforts where we can, but regionally, and to some degree, nationally, we will share in the love as deemed appropriate. Locally, our recent primary beneficiaries have been the Coaster Theater, the Cannon Beach Children's Center, CASA, Local March of Dimes, Boys and Girls Aid, The Tiffany Autism Foundation, Oregon Ballet Theater, and the ProStart® High School Culinary Program. continue →