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How to Go on a Giveback Getaway (And What Exactly That Means)

Devin Tomb
Photo credit: Hearst Owned

From Prevention

In more ways than ever, Millennials are putting their dollars toward philanthropy. Eighty-four percent of Millennial employees gave to charity in 2014, according to the latest Millennial Impact Report, at an average of $418 per year—even though we’re strapped with student loan debt and years away from home ownership. And if we’re not donating straight to a charity, we are buying in ways that give back.

We’ve figured out how to help others when we buy shoes (hey, TOMS!) and order glasses (thanks, Warby Parker!). Now, hotels and resorts are helping guests give back when they go on vacation. Think of it as a "giveback getaway," and I went on one in August when Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa invited me to experience its Paddle for a Cure event.

Photo credit: Hearst Owned

From Labor Day Weekend through October, Hyatt Maui made its 6th annual fundraiser for Susan G. Komen Hawaii bigger and better than ever. In the past, it had always been one hallmark event: a morning of stand-up paddle boarding along the beautiful Ka’anapali beach to raise money for breast cancer research. This year, in a massive planning effort, they expanded the fundraising events from summer's end through Breast Cancer Awareness Month. These were the highlights:

  • Bubble Rainbow Run for a Cure: Guests could run, walk, or just hang around Ka’anapali Golf Courses while getting doused in colored foam bubbles. Afterward, there was Bubble Fest: a sunset party and concert, along with jumping castles, water slides, bubble soccer, food trucks, and more—all for $25 a ticket.
  • Paddle Out for a Cure: All day, guests could sign up for a 1-hour SUP rental and lesson. For the $50 ticket, you also got a commemorative Cure tank top or shirt plus other ping swag, a complimentary yoga class, and happy hour pricing all day at the near but ’Umalu restaurant. Before you set to sea, you were handed a special flower to drop in the ocean in honor of a loved one.
  • Drive for a Cure: A high-energy evening at the Ka’anapali Golf Courses Driving Range. A $150 ticket included admission to the event, unlimited food and drinks, music from a live DJ, commemorative pink swag, braiding by local professional Emily Vida, and a photo bus (like a photo booth, but in a VW!). After hitting as many golf balls as we liked, we also got a special performance by Na Hoku Hanohano and Island Music Awards 2019 “Female Artist of the Year,” Anuhea.
  • Silent Auction for a Cure: Guests could bid from anywhere using their smartphone to win resort stays, gift certificates, and more. Highlights included stays at Grand Hyatts in Kauai, Bangkok, Denver, and Seattle and activities at Afterglow Yoga and Kapalua Ziplines. All proceeds went to Susan G. Komen Hawaii.

Beyond these events, the resort offered Cabanas for a Cure, where you could rent a cabana on the hotel property and relax among textiles by local artist Jana Lam plus your choice of two strawberry daiquiris or two mai tais, a tropical fruit tray, and iced water. A portion of the proceeds benefitted Susan G. Komen Hawaii. Then there was Dine for a Cure, Lu’au for a Cure, and Mani Pedi for a Cure, where the hotel’s restaurants, lu’au venu, and spa offered menu items with proceeds going to Susan G. Komen Hawaii as well.

Photo credit: Hearst Owned

What I loved most about Hyatt's take on a giveback getaway is that it's active. As opposed to staying at a property that's affiliated with a charity (which is still great!), golfing, stand-up paddleboarding, or getting a mani/pedi—all things you'd normally do on vacation—helps others at the same time.

If you love this idea but can't make it to Hawaii in time for next year's event, consider these other giveback getaway options—all dependent on exactly how much volunteering you want to sign up for:

Rockhouse Hotel, education: A beloved hotel on the coast of Negril, Jamaica, Rockhouse Hotel supports the Rockhouse Foundation, founded by the owners in 2004. Since then, they’ve renovated six schools in Negril—adding plumbing and technology, among other things—as well as renovated and expanded the Negril Community Library.

Omni Hotels & Resorts, hunger: In 2016, the company launched Say Goodnight to Hunger, where all 60 Omni properties have partnered with Feeding America to support local food banks and help provide nutritious meals to children, families, and seniors in need across the U.S. To date, nearly 15 million meals have been donated through Omni.

All Hands and Hearts, disaster relief: With a 4-star rating on Charity Navigator, this organization provides meals and accommodations to volunteers who are willing to travel to areas following natural disasters. Volunteer work can include rebuilding homes, schools, and community centers.

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