The Caribbean Hotel Foundation, the region’s largest scholarship program for the tourism industry, raised US$140,000 in 2004, double 2003 totals.
Fulfilling a promise by its leadership to intensify fundraising, CHF hopes to aid youth seeking enrollment in hospitality and tourism studies in the face of frequently prohibitive costs.
The 2004 increase is due largely to CHF’s new corporate scholarships.
‘The additional funds will allow us to increase the amount of scholarships to as much as US$7,000,’ said Gill Titcombe, CHF coordinator.
Traditionally, scholarships have ranged between $1,000 and $5,000.
The corporate contributors were led by Virgin Holidays, which pledged an annual $10,000 donation, won last year by an outstanding Trinidadian.
Since then, Interval International has pledged $45,000 during the next three years, clearing the way for an annual $7,500 Interval International scholarship.
More recently, the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association gave $30,000 to the foundation, which will award two cruise association scholarships this year, allocating the balance for following years.
‘An increasing percentage of (our) private-sector partners are realizing the impact of their actions on the (Caribbean) communities,’ said Mr. Titcombe. ‘With their progressive concern to improve the quality … of the Caribbean hospitality workforce and their families, we (are) confident of (reaching) our goal of increasing available funds in 2005 and beyond, … offering) both more and larger scholarships to dedicated young people.’
In addition to providing students and professionals with financial assistance for their tourism and hospitality studies, CHF also donated $25,000 in hurricane relief in 2004, raising $10,000 at the St Lucia Fundraising Golf Tournament and another $15,000 through Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.
Applications for 2005 scholarships are open until March 31. Application forms are available at www.caribbeanhotelfoundation.org.