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Good corporate citizens
TOPIC: Old and New
October 15, 2010
dartparksmk.jpg Dart Park, Bodden Town, opens.
Three businesses in the Cayman Islands know that being involved in the community makes them good corporate citizens.

CUC powers community involvement
Ever since establishing its Community Involvement Team in 1997 to coordinate employee participation in community outreach projects, CUC has lived up to its vision of being committed to Cayman’s youth and making a positive and lasting difference in the community.

This has been especially rewarding for the more than 100 employee volunteers who spend their lunch hours, evenings and weekends to serve as mentors for young people in various organisations, including the Cadet Corps and the Big Brothers Big Sisters programme. Other programmes that are near and dear to CUC’s volunteers include the special friendships they enjoy with differently abled young people from the Sunrise Adult Training Centre and the Lighthouse School.

In 2000, the company’s employees established the CUC Children’s Fund, which allows them to make annual contributions to assist organisations dedicated to accommodating the needs of Cayman’s young people. The fund facilitates a greater sense of involvement in the community for CUC employees, as it allows them to determine the causes they would like to support each year.

In an effort to promote academic excellence through sports, the company re-branded and sponsored the CUC Primary Football League with the Ministry of Education. The league boasts participation of football teams from 18 public and private primary schools across Grand Cayman. About to enter its sixth season, the PFL has the backing of employees who have served on the Cayman Islands National Football teams and continue to participate in the sport, either as players, volunteer coaches or referees.

The company has also been a staunch supporter of athletics and the Cayman Islands Athletic Association for over 25 years, solidifying its relationship with Cayman’s rising track stars and Olympians such as Kareem Streete-Thompson, Cydonie Mothersill and Ronald Forbes. The talents of Cayman’s young athletes continue to be identified during the annual CUC Track & Field Championships, which serve as the qualifying meet for the CARIFTA Games, the premier track and field youth championships in the Caribbean.

Over the 25 years, CUC has sponsored the various CARIFTA teams and in 2010 was a major sponsor of the XXXIX CARIFTA Games, which took place in the Cayman Islands.

This year marks the 22nd year the company has partnered with the Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association in sponsoring the CUC 800m Sea Swim, which has grown to be one of the biggest open water swims on the Cayman calendar behind the Flowers One-Mile Sea Swim, of which CUC is also a sponsor.

The company is also involved in working with the Sunrise Adult Training Centre and the Lighthouse School.

Trainees from Sunrise Adult Training Centre are treated to a Thanksgiving meal in November where the company sponsors the meal and employees enjoy a few hours serving and eating with the trainees. Also, once a year, employees take the trainees to Hollywood Theatres for a movie-outing. Students at the Lighthouse School are treated to an Easter Egg Decorating Party and Christmas Stocking Decorating Party by employees. In addition, employees assist with the Lighthouse School sports day and reading days.

Employees assist with the school-based Big Brothers Big Sisters programme at the George Town Primary School enjoying lunch and spending time with their adopted “littles” for a few hours every week. In addition, volunteers host a Christmas Luncheon and Party with their “littles” every year.

The Community Involvement Team assist financially with the annual Santa’s Landing as well as providing volunteers to man the various stations.

Working in conjunction with the Rotary Club, Rehoboth Ministries and the Government, CUC’s volunteers assist with the Meals on Wheels programme by delivering hot meals to senior citizens and disabled or less fortunate members of the community.

Other community programmes with which employees are involved include the Cadet Corps, Special Constabulary, Chamber of Commerce Earth Day Cleanups, Cayman Islands Scouts Association and many after-school programmes.

CUC’s employees are committed to remaining active in the community in an effort to serve as positive role models and to pave the way for the next generation. The company will continue to take a proactive approach to being the difference it wants to see in Cayman’s community.

Dart Group committed to Cayman
It has been said many times that the Dart Group is bullish on the Cayman Islands, but that philosophy extends far beyond the company’s investments here.

Dart Enterprises Communication Manager Lynn Smith-Moore said the Dart Foundation alone has donated US$25.5 million to various projects in the Cayman Islands, including $20 million to build the Cayman International School at Camana Bay.

“Dart Cayman Islands is committed to the country, its prosperity and quality of life for residents,” said Ms Smith-Moore.

“The youth of the Cayman Islands are the future of the country. So we believe it is vital that we in the private sector support initiatives that enable them to develop into active members of the community.”

The Dart Foundation is a private family foundation established in 1984 by William A. Dart and Claire T. Dart in Mason, Michigan, where it continues to be headquartered. Historically, the Dart Foundation’s preference was to make grants toward education and youth programmes, but it has also supported other causes, such as health, disaster relief and journalism programmes.

Here in Cayman, the Dart Foundation’s support included developing public parks in each of Grand Cayman’s five districts and donations to a number of organisations, including the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands, the Cayman National Cultural Foundation, Junior Achievement, the Young Caymanian Leadership Awards, East End Primary School, the Cayman Islands Little League Association and Cayman Maritime Heritage. 

After Hurricane Ivan devastated Grand Cayman in September 2004, the Dart Foundation donated $1 million to the National Recovery Fund, which helped repair or rebuild numerous homes.
Jim Lammers, vice president of the Dart Foundation, spoke about the focus of the Foundation’s donations.

“While the Dart family supports a broad range of Cayman organisations, they are primarily interested in programmes that seek, in creative and innovative ways, to improve the educational opportunities afforded our children, provide constructive alternatives to at-risk youth and encourage responsible community development.”

Although the support from the Dart Foundation for initiatives in the Cayman Islands has been great over the years, and it has included $600,000 in donations since the beginning of last year, the Dart Group supports the Cayman Islands in many other ways.

“We also give corporately directly from our Cayman office,” says Ms Smith-Moore, explaining that the group of companies based here in Cayman - known as Dart Cayman Islands - also supports dozens of charities and events. Over the years, those charities have included Big Brothers Big Sisters, Children & Youth Services Foundation, the Golden Apple Awards the Lions Club of Grand Cayman, the Cayman Heart Fund, the Rotary Central Science Fair, Cayman Islands Hospice Care, Cayman Business Outlook, the Cayman National Orchestra and many others.

In addition, Camana Bay hosts a number of charitable or cultural events, including the Festival of Trees, Taste of Cayman, the Cayman Jazz Fest, the Children’s Book Festival for Cystic Fibrosis Trust and many others.

RE/MAX gets involved
Part of being a good corporate citizen is getting involved in the community.

Kim Lund, owner/broker of RE/MAX Cayman Islands, says his company is very much involved in Grand Cayman.

“A long time ago, we made a conscious decision to become very active in the community,” he says.

The real estate company set up a committee to look at various ways RE/MAX could get involved.

“Our goal was to get involved in as many worthwhile organisations and charity events as possible,” he says.

Over the years, RE/MAX has offered sponsorship to many children’s programmes, including the FC International Summer Football Camp, the Cayman Islands Little League programme, the Cayman Islands Rugby Club junior team and the Cayman Islands Tourism Association’s Christmas for Kids initiative.

RE/MAX has also been involved in sponsorship of the Chamber of Commerce’s golf tournament and Earth Day events, the Cayman Islands Marathon and the Young Caymanian Leadership Award.

Lund says involvement means more than just donating funds for sponsorships and that staff members often volunteer time to participate in events, like manning a water station during the annual Cayman Islands Cancer Society’s Stride for Cancer run/walk.

“We have almost 100 per cent cooperation of the staff,” he says.

The company is also well known for its title sponsorship of The Breast Cancer Foundation - RE/MAX Breast Cancer Gala Dinner, an annual event that was launched in 2008. Lund lost his first wife Brenda to breast cancer in 1998 and RE/MAX annually sponsors the annual Lions Club of Tropical Gardens’ Brenda Tibbetts Lund run/walk as well.

This list of community initiatives RE/MAX is or has been involved in goes on. The company has sponsored a squash court for the Squash Club, sponsored an endangered blue iguana for the Blue Iguana Conservation Fund, donated to the Meals on Wheels programme, the Cayman Islands Humane Society’s Petapalloza Fundraiser, the Veteran’s Association donation drive, and other community initiatives.

“We do all of this with the sole purpose of getting involved in the community,” Lund says. “We want to give something back and show our appreciation to the community.”
 
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