Keyed Into Hyatt
The Official Blog of Hyatt Hotels & Resorts
Kristen Berlacher

Kristen Berlacher

corporate responsibility

Kristen joined Hyatt’s Corporate Responsibility team in 2010 and manages the company’s global philanthropy, volunteerism and disaster relief efforts. Kristen is motivated daily by the incredible stories of her colleagues’ around the globe who bring Hyatt Thrive to life. She is also convinced that CSR is a key indicator in distinguishing between a good company and a great one. When she's not working, she loves traveling (of course!), family time, photography and hiking in Michigan’s Sleeping Bear Dunes.


December 5, 2014
Hyatt Thrive

#GivingTuesday Makes a BIG Impact & Hyatt Community Grant Winners Are Celebrated Around the World

Before our week of giving back concludes, I want to take a moment to reflect on all the momentum raised on #GivingTuesday and to thank our colleagues, community partners and friends who helped bring awareness to the importance of supporting our local nonprofits.

We were thrilled to see so many organizations and individuals take a stand on #GivingTuesday and share the powerful message on their social channels. All in all, we counted more than 350 posts on #GivingTuesday about our community grant winners and we are thrilled that so many people took action to share these great stories with their networks. Based on our analytics, it’s estimated that our potential reach on #GivingTuesday was over 260,000 with over 2.0 potential impressions too! Also, if you haven’t caught it already, check out what our Global Head of Corporate Responsibility Brigitta Witt has to say about why companies should care about #GivingTuesday here.

As we round out the week, I want to bring attention to our final grant winners and highlight their great work in our local communities around the world.

  • Grand Hyatt Istanbul in Turkey will award a Hyatt Community Grant to Koruncuk Foundation, which is a nonprofit orphanage that provides shelter, care, and education to 120 children in its various facilities or “villages.” The Hyatt Community Grant will sponsor the creation of a “Grant Hyatt Art Academy”. The foundation believes that children’s development relies not only on receiving basic needs such as food and shelter, but should also include activities that stimulate their self-esteem and provide them with a creative outlet. The academy would allow the children to express their creativity through various artistic platforms such as theater, handcrafts, sculpting, and painting.Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 10.22.01 PM
  • Grand Hyatt Shanghai will award a grant to the Shanghai Charity Foundation’s Education Fund. The Education Fund provides financial support to low-income and high-performing students in Shanghai’s Pudong District. The grant will specifically support high school and college students with $500 per year for three years to cover expenses for school tuition and basic needs.CIMG2042.jpg
  • Hyatt Place Hampi in India will award a grant to The Akshaya Patra Foundation, which fights hunger and malnutrition. The organization provides school lunches to 1.4 million children in 23 locations across 10 states in India. While the hotel is still new to the community, the team has volunteered in the foundation’s kitchen to help prepare the meals for students. The grant would provide lunches to 1,500 children for one year. For many of these children these lunches will be their only meal of the day. Because of the foundation’s meals, school enrollment, attendance, and performance have increased significantly in all the locations that it serves. Overall attendance increased by 12 percent and dropout rates decreased from 18 percent to 8 percent. Akshaya Patra’s unique model has been recognized internationally and received several accolades. In July 2014, President Bill Clinton visited the foundation during an official visit and, in 2007, the foundation’s school meal program was featured in a Harvard Business Review case study._01_3512
  • At Hyatt Regency Dallas in Texas, their local Women@hyatt chapter, one of Hyatt’s business resource groups for colleagues, nominated Girls Incorporated of Metropolitan Dallas for a grant award. Hyatt colleagues volunteer each month assisting with homework help, workshops and mock career fairs. The mission of Girls Inc. is to inspire girls from age 6 to 18 to become strong, smart, bold, and independent adults. The grant will support the organization’s research-based after-school and summer programs to help girls navigate gender, economic, and social barriers.Volunteering at Kids Inc
  • Hyatt Regency Dusseldorf in Germany will award a grant to Children’s Hospice Dusseldorf (Kinderhospiz Regenbogenland). The hospice provides respite and end-of-life care for children with incurable and life-limiting illnesses and their families. The hotel team has worked with this organization since 2011 by hosting various fundraisers. The grant will help refurbish the hospice’s seven bedrooms, which are now ten years old and in disrepair. More specifically, the grant will be used to buy new cabinets, wardrobes, and other pieces for furniture. The hospice can serve up to eight families at a time, hosting a total of 260 families over the course of a year.Regenbogenland Day of open Doors 2014
  • Hyatt Regency Gurgaon in India will provide a grant to Gaurav Niketan Trust, a small school that provides free education to underpriveldged children the age of 2 and 13. The students come from families of migrant workers who work on construction sites around Gurgaon, earning less than $35 per month. The school originated as an open-air “school in the street” and still has only the most basic infrastructure for the students, who would otherwise not attend school at all. At the school, the students learn English, math, social studies, and science. The grant will provide basic amenities, improve the current facilities, and provide scholarships for the oldest students so that they can continue to pursue their education. The school currently serves 200 students and the hotel team has been actively engaged since learn about the school. They have hosted several events for the students, volunteers have taught classes to students, and the hotel team even helped install a cement floor for the school prior to the monsoon season.Picture2
  • The team at Hyatt Regency Jersey City in New Jersey will award a grant to to build a garden at a local charter school. The team has already raised $7,400 on their own and the additional funds will help them reach their fundraising goal. is a program run by the National Gardening Association (NGA). Every year the organization provides 300 funding opportunities to schools, nonprofits, and communities to build and grow their own gardens. Since its creation, the program helped 10,000 schools and community-based organizations. The garden will be installed in Dr. Lena Edwards Academic Charter School, which is ten minutes away from the Hyatt property and serves students in a neighborhood where the poverty rate is double the average of the state and the median income is significantly lower than the state average of $30,000 per year.    KG-Brooklyn-Fall2014 (3)
  • The team at Park Hyatt Zanzibar in Tanzania will open its doors to the community before opening to guests in 2015! They are awarding a grant to The Creative Education Foundation of Zanzibar (CEFZ), a school that provides quality education to orphans and low-income, at-risk children. While Zanzibar has a flourishing tourism industry, few Zanzibaris have the skills to work in the industry. The school hopes to bridge that gap and offer Zanzibari children a chance to secure highly skilled, well-paid jobs in the future. One of the school’s main goals is to teach English to its children; thus the grant will allow CEFZ to hire an English teacher who would oversee the curriculum and serve as a trainer and mentor to other teachers.  Alternative One



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December 4, 2014
Hyatt Thrive

#GivingTuesday May Be Over, but the Spirit of Giving Back Lives On!

While #GivingTuesday is now behind us, the spirit of this social movement continues to live on through the thousands of people that took action to demonstrate the importance of giving back to our communities!

We were thrilled and humbled by the outpouring of our colleagues, community partners and friends who celebrated #GivingTuesday and our 31 Hyatt Community Grant winners several days ago. It was our goal to leverage #GivingTuesday to amplify the outstanding work of our 31 grant winners and to demonstrate that small acts of kindness in our communities around the world can lead to real global impact!

Throughout the week, we will continue to share the inspiring stories of our grantees and today I am thrilled to highlight the following winners:

  • Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Georgia is awarding a grant to Camp Twin Lakes, an organization that provides week-long summer camps and year-round weekend retreats for children with serious illnesses, disabilities, and other life challenges. The team at Grand Hyatt has partnered with CTL for the past five years by preparing the camp before the main season and helping with activities such as crafts, archery, fishing, and ropes courses while the campers are there. The hotel’s general manager is also on the board of Buckhead Hotel Council, which works closely with Camp Twin Lakes to raise funds. The Hyatt Community Grant will fund scholarships for 12 campers to be able to attend the camp.CampTwinLakes 1
  • Grand Hyatt Beijing, Park Hyatt Beijing and the Beijing Corporate Office in China are teaming up together to award a grant to China Siyuan Foundation for Poverty Alleviation. Together, this mighty team will work to build libraries in two schools in Beijing. The libraries will include everything from books, shelves, desks, chairs and even lighting and the Hyatt team will play a hands-on role throughout the process.R0011964
  • Grand Hyatt Melbourne in Australia is thrilled to award a grant to their partner, Melbourne City Mission to support their Academy Program, which reconnects youth (ages 15 to 25) who are disengaged from education to schooling. At the academy, youth who have had a long absence from education can find a supportive and flexible environment to learn and grow through accredited vocational training. The grant would specifically be used to support programs in the Western Suburbs of Melbourne, where some of the most disadvantaged suburbs in Victoria are located and where the youth unemployment rate is highest.
  • Hyatt Bangalore in India will award a grant to the Ashwini Charitable Trust, a community organization that educates and empowers underprivileged children in and around the slums of the Ulsoor neighborhood in Bangalore. The Trust aims to support the children until they are fully-employed and independent. The grant will specifically cover the costs of education and basic needs for 45 children. In addition to paying the students’ educational fees, it will provide various services including vaccination, financial counseling, mentoring, and computer classes.
  • The team at Hyatt Regency Hua Hin in Thailand is thrilled to award a grant to Baan Wang Pla School. The elementary school provides free education to underprivileged students in the Pranburi Dam area where many families cannot afford to send their children to school because of transportation costs and school fees. The hotel team has been supporting the school for the past three years. Associates volunteer at the school once a month, teaching English, arts, and other subjects to the children. The property also donates food and supplies to the school. The grant will help to fund the purchase and installment of a new solar-powered electricity system which will allow students to use computers.Baan Wang Pla 1
  • Hyatt Regency Minneapolis in Minnesota will award a grant to Youth Farm, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit that educates and trains youth through farming, cooking, and distributing food. During YF’s summer program, youth from ages 9 to 24 spend three days a week farming, distributing produce to low-income families, participating in leadership activities, and cooking. All YF programming is free and offered in racially, ethnically, and economically diverse neighborhoods across Minneapolis. In the past two years, associates of the hotel have helped prepare the farm sites for the summer program and hosted 12 participants for a day in the Hyatt kitchen. The property plans to expand its partnership with YF in the future by becoming a YF urban rooftop site and hosting chef table events using the ingredients that are grown on the property.Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 12.16.46 PM
  • Hyatt Regency Mumbai in India will award a grant to St. Catherine’s Home, a shelter for women and children. The organization serves unmarried women, orphans, and vulnerable children. At the home, women and children can find a safe and welcoming space where they can grow, learn, and find dignity. The organization offers a wide variety of services including vocational and professional courses, mental health support, and medical care. The Hyatt grant will fund some of the shelter’s educational initiatives such as computer, nursing, and graphic design classes.
  • Park Hyatt Ningbo Resort & Spa will award a grant to Ningbo Damin School, a school for children with mental disabilities. The school offers a nine-year curriculum that teaches students work and interpersonal skills. In addition to teaching children fundamental skills and building their confidence, the school’s ultimate long-term goal is to teach students the skills to find jobs and be self-sufficient after they graduate. Typically, these students will go on to work in hotels, supermarkets, and factories. Not all the students who attend the school are able to obtain jobs upon graduation but, on average, about 60 percent of them transition into the job market. The grant will help fund the creation of a bakery lab for the students. The school already provides bakery classes and noticed that students have a strong interest in this area. With the lab, students will have access to all the tools and resources they need to learn baking techniques.

To see all our grant winners and check out the social action from #GivingTuesday, visit


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December 3, 2014
Hyatt Thrive

Hyatt Community Grants Activated in Communities Across the Globe

In honor of #GivingTuesday, Hyatt announced the winners of this year’s Hyatt Community Grant awards yesterday. Since the program’s inception in 2008, Hyatt colleagues have helped direct grants to nonprofits in 123 cities, 26 U.S. states and 38 countries around the world. This year brings further celebration with the exciting milestone of $2 million in total grant funding since 2008.

#GivingTuesday is a movement through social media that celebrates and encourages charitable activities, volunteer opportunities and advocacy to support nonprofit organizations on the Tuesday after Cyber Monday. Yesterday, the social movement saw activity across social channels around the globe. Among this conversation were the voices of our colleagues as they celebrated and announced their local Hyatt Community Grant winners.

This week we will continue to highlight our grant winners and their incredible impact in the communities that we call home.

Hyatt Community Grants in Action:

  • Park Hyatt Dubai in the UAE will award a $5,000 grant to Emirates Wildlife Society, an affiliate of the World Wildlife Fund. Emirates Wildlife Society is an environmental organization whose mission is to inspire people and institutions to conserve biodiversity, tackle climate change, and reduce the United Arab Emirates’ ecological footprint. The grant will support a one-day sustainable office workshop designed for the private sector, which teaches participants how to carry out energy and water efficiency projects in their workplace.EWS-WWF DEWA 2
  • Hyatt Place Kansas City Airport in Missouri will award a $12,500 grant to Rose Brooks Center, which is one of the largest domestic violence shelters in the Kansas City area. The grant will go toward the center’s Economic Advocacy Program, which provides employment readiness and job obtainment services to domestic violence survivors. The hotel has hosted numerous food and supply drives for the center and the team is currently setting up a monthly on-site training at the hotel for clients of the center.Economic Empowerment 2
  • Hyatt Regency Kathmandu will award a $10,000 grant to longtime partner, Buddhist Child Home. BCH provides shelter, care, and protection to 34 orphans in Nepal. The grant will provide the children with educational services, educational materials, field trips, and workshops. Since 2002, the hotel has been participating in monthly birthday celebrations with the children and other activities such as swimming classes. The hotel also provides BCH with a daily supply of water and rice.Volunteers with Kids_HRKathmandu (1)
  • Andaz Wall Street in New York will award a $15,000 grant to Pencil, a leader in creating innovative and impactful models of collaboration between business and public schools. The grant will support the hotel’s ongoing work with Pencil as they embark together on the second year of their hands-on school partnership program focused on college and career readiness with a local middle school.
  • Grand Hyatt Mumbai in India will award a $15,000 donation to SMILE Foundation India, which provides basic education and health care to underprivileged children across India. The hotel has been working with this nonprofit for the last two years and the funds will support 500 children in their education program.image10
  • Hyatt Regency Merida in Mexico will award a $5,000 grant to an organization that they have been working with for the last three years called El Hogar De Loreto. El Hogar provides emotional support, medical care, and rehabilitation services to children with mental and physical disabilities. The grant will buy more rehabilitation equipment, including adaptive wheelchairs and other critical materials.  Hyatt Thrive_2



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December 2, 2014
Hyatt Thrive

Hyatt and Our Hotels Award $357,300 to 31 Nonprofit Organizations across the Globe and Celebrates #GivingTuesday

For Hyatt, philanthropy begins at home – in the many communities around the world that we call home. Through the Hyatt Community Grants program, we expand and deepen our community ties by empowering our colleagues to act as local philanthropists.

Hyatt Community Grants empowers colleagues to be local philanthropists by nominating local nonprofit organizations to receive funds from Hyatt to make a positive impact in their communities. The nonprofit organizations and the grants support Hyatt’s focus on education, health, economic development and environmental sustainability.

This year we are excited to announce our grant winners on December 2, 2014 which is now commonly known as #GivingTuesday. #GivingTuesday is a movement through social media that celebrates and encourages charitable activities, volunteer opportunities and advocacy to support nonprofit organizations on the Tuesday after Cyber Monday. In the same way that the retail sector takes part in Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday brings together nonprofits, corporations, governments, schools, and community groups to encourage generosity and the spirit of giving.

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Hyatt Runs

October 16, 2014
Hyatt Thrive, Our People

Thrive Thursday: Hyatt Chicago Marathon Runners Raise Nearly $25,000 for St. Jude

On Sunday, October 12th, nearly 45,000 runners took to the streets for the 2014 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Among the crowd of athletes were seven Hyatt colleagues from around the world who joined together to run and raise funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

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Thrive Oceans Day photo

June 5, 2014
Hyatt Thrive

Thrive Thursday: Celebrating World Oceans Day

On World Oceans Day people around this beautiful blue planet celebrate and honor the oceans. What’s there to celebrate, you ask? It’s simple, really. Our oceans:

  • Generate most of the oxygen we breathe
  • Help feed us
  • Regulate our climate
  • Clean the water we drink
  • Offer a pharmacopoeia of potential medicines

At Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa, the team is celebrating World Oceans Day in more ways than one while raising awareness and funds for marine conservations and sustainability.

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May 1, 2014
Hyatt Thrive

Thrive Thursday: April is Over, But The Spirit of Hyatt Thrive Lives On!

As our Global Month of Service comes to an end, the energy and impact of our colleagues will continue to be felt around the world. Throughout April, our colleagues have inspired us with countless acts of kindness and volunteer events. From hands-on service projects like Earth Day cleanups and building homes to raising funds for charity and exposing youth to hospitality careers, we’ve seen photos and heard stories from more than 150 hotels across 7 brands and all 3 regions!

Read on for a snapshot of the recent activity.  To see how all our colleagues are giving back #InAHyattWorld, visit

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April 24, 2014
Hyatt Thrive

Hyatt Teams are Thriving During Month of Service

We are more than half way through Hyatt’s global month of service and our hotels are buzzing.  This week was particularly special with many hotels turning their Earth Day celebrations into hands-on service projects.  Check out the stories below for a glimpse of this week’s action.  For a complete picture of our collective efforts, be sure to visit

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