About Us: Community Involvement
Building America One Community At a Time®
The community is one of our highest priorities at Rosen Hotels & Resorts. We have a great commitment toward dedicating substantial resources of time, money, and hands-on help to the ongoing improvement of our hometown and its people. Over the years, Rosen Hotels has led a number of initiatives to enhance the quality of life of our immediate neighbors, our city, and our industry.
Rosen Hotels & Resorts supports organizations that impact our associates and enhance the quality of life in the Central Florida area. Our financial and volunteer resources are focused on the areas of education, wellness, animal welfare, and cultural diversity.
All charitable requests, whether financial or in-kind, must be submitted through our website by completing the online Community Giving Form.
Harris Rosen Foundation
Groups that benefit from the Harris Rosen Foundation are significant to Harris Rosen, president and owner of Rosen Hotels & Resorts. Aside from his love for the hospitality business, Mr. Rosen has a passion for giving back. Through the years the foundation has focused on education, the community of Tangelo Park in Orlando, and the people of Haiti. Now that passion is growing and extending to newer communities and groups in need.
Tangelo Park Pilot Program
The community of Tangelo Park is located approximately one-quarter mile southeast of Orlando’s International Drive tourist area. From the late 1980s through the early 1990s, Tangelo Park characterized a typical urban community with low socioeconomic demographic problems: overt drug problems, poor school attendance, declining test scores, and high school dropout rates.
The Tangelo Park Program began as a result of a grass roots program that attracted local media attention and attention from local government, civic groups, and Harris Rosen. In 1993, after a successful effort to reclaim their neighborhood from urban blight and drug dealers, Tangelo Park community leaders met with Mr. Rosen and the Orange County School Board superintendent to discuss the possibility of a scholarship program for Tangelo residents; together they established the Tangelo Park Pilot Program.
Mr. Rosen provided the financial backing for the pilot project and collaborated with community leaders to establish an advisory board with the continued support of the Tangelo Park Elementary School, the Tangelo Park YMCA, Tangelo Baptist Church, and the Tangelo Park Civic Association. With financial support guaranteed by Mr. Rosen, the Tangelo Park Program oversees the fundraising, educational needs, and scholarship distributions for its citizens–ages 2 to 22. At no cost to its citizens, TPP offers:
- Pre-school opportunities for every Tangelo Park 2-3-4-Year-Old
- Parenting classes and vocational or technical opportunities for parents with children in school
- Full tuition, room, board, and living expenses for every Tangelo Park high school graduate who is accepted by a vocational school, community college, or public university in the state of Florida
Second Multimillion-Dollar Community Education Initiative Launched in Parramore
Parramore, a neighborhood west of Downtown Orlando, is the next neighborhood Mr. Harris Rosen has his focus on to expand his philanthropic and highly successful community education initiative program that he started in Tangelo Park. This initiative offers free preschool at a new public school set to open in Parramore on August 2017. Teachers’ salaries will be paid for by the Harris Rosen Foundation. Twenty-four preschool classrooms designed to accommodate up to 12 children each, for a total of 288 children, will welcome two-, three-, and four-year-old children.
Children who attend the new elementary and middle school and then graduate from Jones High School, will receive a free two or four-year college or vocational school education, also paid for by the Harris Rosen Foundation. Free tuition includes meals, books, and transportation.
The University of Central Florida (UCF), who is a partner in this initiative, announced that scholarships will be provided to four-year degree students of the College of Medicine who attended the new Parramore School, graduated from Jones High School, and successfully completed an undergraduate program at UCF.
The Rosen Foundation Scholarship
The Rosen Foundation Scholarship Endowment has been created to fund the Tangelo Park and Parramore Scholarship Programs, the UCF Hospitality School Scholarship Program, and Rosen Hotels & Resorts’ Dependent Scholarship Program.
Rosen College of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida
With Orlando fast becoming the most visited tourist location in the world, Harris Rosen believed it would only be fitting for the city to have the best hospitality program available in the country. He donated $10 million to establish the Rosen College of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida, which was built right next to Rosen Shingle Creek hotel. The gift is the largest ever pledged to or received by the UCF Foundation. Under current Florida law, gifts of this size qualify for dollar-for-dollar state matching, which translates into $20 million for a facility and faculty providing students with a world-class education equal to the Orlando hospitality industry itself.
Harris Rosen has once more offered a tremendous gift to further secure a high-quality educational institution. For the first time ever, an endowed deanship has been established by Mr. Rosen to secure top talent in this prestigious role amongst faculty. Mr. Rosen hopes the endowed deanship will help university administrators find and secure the best academic leader available who will offer leadership, vision, and guidance to continue to keep Rosen College of Hospitality Management at UCF on the cutting edge of industry trends.
Bethune-Cookman College Bronze Statue Project
Harris Rosen served as the honorary co-chair of the Bethune-Cookman College Statue Project with the late Dr. Dorthy Height, President Emeriti of the National Council of Negro Women. The purpose of this initiative was to have a statue sculpted of America’s beloved Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune including fountains and landscaping on the campus of Bethune-Cookman College, which Dr. Bethune founded in 1904. The fundraiser was a huge success. In January 2005, the statue was unveiled on the Bethune-Cookman College campus.
YMCA Aquatic Center
Facing tough financial times, the YMCA Aquatic Center located on International Drive closed eliminating an important resource for area residents. In 1992 Mr. Rosen fought to keep the YMCA Aquatic Center open to the public. Reversing this situation would prove to be one of Mr. Rosen’s biggest challenges, one that he met successfully.
The Aquatic Center reopened its doors and now serves the best youth group of divers in America, synchronized swimmers, master swimmers, high school swimmers, and senior citizens seeking therapeutic water treatment.
Haiti Relief-Rebuild-Sustain Program
The Harris Rosen Foundation has been dedicated to helping Haitian brothers and sisters living in Haiti attain a level of self-sufficiency for over a decade. It assists in the areas of education and health with donations to hospitals, orphanages, and schools in Haiti. Over the years our Haiti Task Force visited Haiti several times to deliver medical and school supplies, which were collected in the Central Florida area through supply drives and donations from local businesses. In addition to analyzing the needs of Haitians and devising a plan of action to help, they are also responsible for ensuring all supplies delivered to Haiti go directly to the people who most need help.
The one area where Haiti needed the most help is one we often take for granted: a clean water supply. In Haiti much of the water is so contaminated that just one glass may cause serious illness or even death. On September 10, 2005, The Harris Rosen Foundation and the Task Force hosted the Water for Haiti Gala. The funds raised at this gala event were used to purchase close to 250 water filtration systems that were delivered to hospitals and schools in rural areas of Haiti.
Weeks after the historic and devastating earthquake of 2010, the foundation delivered 20,000 pounds of supplies to the Port-au-Prince and Beauchamp areas. Our people were on the ground in Haiti, along with fixed-wing aircrafts, to facilitate delivery of these urgently needed medical supplies to wherever they were needed.
Since 2010, the Foundation has focused on rebuilding and sustaining, including identifying ways to design and construct sturdier buildings. The plan was to build eco-friendly, earthquake-and-hurricane-resistant houses called “Little Haiti Houses.” Mr. Rosen and his team worked with the Haitian government on securing land, but when negotiations ended in the dissolution of a Memorandum of Understanding, the project was put on hold. Anxious to continue the work in Haiti, the Harris Rosen Foundation partnered with international nonprofit Food for the Poor to build a new elementary school in Haiti. Construction is underway for the six-classroom school located in Jon L’Abeille, a small town in the city of Cayes. It will serve students in kindergarten through sixth grade. The collaboration between the Harris Rosen Foundation and the nonprofit is an extension of the foundation’s domestic commitment to provide educational opportunities for disadvantaged and underprivileged youth.
Click Here for Updates on the Rosen Foundation's Haiti Initiatives
Coretta Scott King A.N.G.E.L. Award
Harris Rosen was one of the four people honored with the A.N.G.E.L. (Advancing Nonviolence through Generations of Exceptional Leadership) award on January 17, 2015. Mr. Rosen was acknowledged for his 20-plus years of commitment to Tangelo Park in which he launched a three-fold educational community service initiative that has had a direct impact on the increase of graduation rates amongst youngsters in the Tangelo community and helped lower the crime rate in the neighborhood.
When Rosen created the Tangelo Park Program, the community’s high school dropout rate was 43 percent higher than the national average. Not long after the program began, high school graduation rates soared to almost a zero dropout rate. To date, more than 280 young people have now attended college or vocational schools.
“I am so honored that the Tangelo Park Program has been recognized by The King Center and I am truly humbled to receive an award given in the spirit of Mrs. Coretta Scott King,” said Rosen. “I will be happy to accept the honor on behalf of the Tangelo Park community and especially all of the youngsters who have worked so hard over the past 20 years to better themselves through the gift of education.”
Jack & Lee Rosen Southwest Orlando Campus and the Rosen JCC
Since the Harris Rosen Foundation purchased the property on which the Jewish Community Center owns and operates the Jack & Lee Rosen Southwest Orlando Campus, the campus has seen a boom in growth and improvement. Harris Rosen’s goal is to promote the JCC within the community and to help this campus grow to accommodate its increasing membership. “These and future additions will help make the Jack & Lee Rosen Southwest Orlando Campus a more integral and permanent part of the Jewish community,” said Rosen. “Education and recreation are vital to the center’s role in the community.” He’s also pledged to help significantly reduce the debit of the Maitland Jewish Community Campus by spearheading a $1 million matching funds capital campaign. Learn more about the Jack & Lee Rosen Southwest Orlando Campus and Rosen JCC.
Cornell Alternative Spring Break
In March 2008, Cornell University expanded its Alternative Spring Break program to send its college students to Tangelo Park in Orlando, Florida. Cornell students who volunteered for this hands-on learning opportunity in our city spent spring break with the children of Tangelo Park to enrich their college studies and, in turn, enrich the lives of the children they served. Every year since, Cornell students spend their spring break volunteering in Tangelo Park.
The inaugural spring break of 2008 attracted nine students to spend a majority of their time working with pre-school through fifth grade students at the Tangelo Park Elementary School. They also participated in a science night in conjunction with sixth graders from Southwest Middle School. Cornell students also mentored students of Southwest Middle School and Dr. Phillips High School. Within their busy week, Cornell students made time for art projects with some of the two-, three-, and four-year-old children in the community.
Cornell University’s Alternative Spring Break program offers its students the chance to hear personal stories from the students and residents of Tangelo Park, educators, service personnel, and care providers who all provide insight into the Tangelo Park community. The week ends with a reflection session where Cornell students and a planning team examine the effects of public service and philanthropy on at-risk families and their experience with socioeconomic diversity, community involvement, and current social issues in the Tangelo Park community.
Green Meetings & Lodging Initiatives
In 2008, Rosen Hotels & Resorts launched Rosen Green Meetings, an environment-friendly meetings initiative designed to assist meeting planners in reducing burdens to Florida’s natural resources typically associated with large meetings and conventions, including reducing excess paper hand-outs and forms. On the Rosen Green Meetings website (www.rosengreenmeetings.com), planners will find tips for holding greener meeting and links to additional green meeting organizations. Planners will also learn in greater detail how Rosen Hotels & Resorts helps the local environment while hosting great conferences, meetings, and vacations.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection recognizes Rosen Hotel & Resorts for these efforts, to which we’ve been awarded the esteemed Green Lodging Program Three and Two Palm Hotel designations. These awards certify that a hotel has voluntarily increased energy conservation and pollution prevention measurements and is committed to conserving and protecting local natural resources.
We also make it easy for our guests to enjoy an environmentally-conscious stay at our hotels. Guests at Rosen Plaza, Rosen Centre, and Rosen Shingle Creek have access to electric vehicle charging stations, thanks to a partnership with Orlando Utility Company. An organic herb garden at Rosen Shingle Creek provides farm-to-table flavors, and the Shingle Creek Golf Club converts used cooking oil from our hotel restaurants into bio-fuel used by our golf course maintenance equipment. Leftover food from our restaurants is converted into animal feed and compost by an off-site facility. For all the efforts visible to guests, just as many—if not more, take place behind the scenes. Instead of driving to work, Rosen associates can opt to ride the bus at a discounted rate, search for carpool opportunities posted on a company-wide message board, or, in certain departments, opt to work alternate schedules of four 10-hour days to help reduce gas costs.
Our eco-friendly efforts are a big part of the Rosen Hotels & Resorts way of life, so much that we adopted a friendly green mascot named Nesor, the Eco Hero, to symbolize our environmental-conservation efforts. (Nesor is Rosen spelled backward.) “Nesor attends community and employee events and reminds the Central Florida area about the importance of being green,” said DeeDee Baggitt, director of engineering. Once a year, an associate who has promoted outstanding green efforts and created new ways to help the environment is recognized with the Environmental Steward Award. Being green isn’t just part of our culture, it’s a huge part of how we do business.