Hotels for Hope, a new Austin nonprofit that raises money through hotel booking services, has raised $6,000 in its first two weeks.
Hotels for Hope is the brainchild of entrepreneur Neil Goldman, owner of Austin Hospitality, a national hotel referral and management service.
Goldman said he launched the organization because of his company’s involvement with Special Olympics Texas and his desire to make charity a bigger part of his business model. He was also inspired by social entrepreneurs such as Blake Mycoskie, the founder of Toms Shoes, a popular line of shoes with a charitable goal. For every pair of Toms shoes that’s purchased, a pair is given out to a child in need.
“Helping others less fortunate has been a principle I’ve held onto since childhood,” Goldman said. “Hotels for Hope is a direct result of this lifetime goal. Our whole team knows that we are impacting our clients, hotels and our charities and making a global difference.”
Similar to Toms, Hotels for Hope is based on a matching donation program.
For every hotel room that’s booked, a hotel partner donates $1 to the Hotels for Hope fund and Austin Hospitality matches that donation dollar for dollar. That amounts to $2 for charity for every hotel room booked through Austin Hospitality.
The money raised will support four charities: Livestrong, Glimmer of Hope Foundation, Special Olympics Texas and the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors. Hotels for Hope’s four partner nonprofits were chosen because they have a special meaning to Goldman or one of his employees.
Goldman hopes that his charitable model will appeal to customers that want to give, but may not have the time to do so.
“You’re having a wedding and just booked 50 rooms, we’ll donate $100 in your name,” he said.
So far, every hotel partners that has been asked to participated in the program has agreed. As a charitable donation, the hotel’s gift is tax deductible. The group was incubated under the Austin Community Foundation and is working on achieving 501c3 status.
“Every hotel that we’ve gone to with this thinks it’s a great idea. It’s a partnership because the more we market this, the more we help the charities and the hotels,” Goldman said.
This year, Austin Hospitality is projecting to book 30,000 room nights, which equates to $60,000 charitable dollars, Goldman said.
“Our goal would be to reach half a million dollars within three years,” he said.
Austin Hospitality’s customers have the final say as to which of the four charities their donation supports. Customers may also give to these charities via the company’s Web site.