It’s hard to remember what the Canadian travel landscape was like before the arrival of Sunwing. The group has grown by leaps and bounds since its founding just 15 years ago by owners the Hunter family.
Today, “team orange” is everywhere across Canada and into the south and beyond. But the company isn’t concentrating just on expansion: it has also developed the Sunwing Foundation to leave behind a positive footprint in destination.
The Sunwing Foundation raises funds though soliciting spare leftover foreign coins and cash from Canadians who are homeward bound. Those funds are then doubled by the Foundation, which picks up all administration costs. Over $600,000 has been donated to date.
With a few notable exceptions, the thrust of Sunwing’s efforts, according to Rachel Goldrick, Senior Corporate Communications Manager, is on youth development, training and education projects in the destinations it serves.
The first big project was building the Spicy Hill Early Childhood Institution in the parish of Trelawny, Jamaica (pictured) in partnership with Food for the Poor Canada and Helping Hands Jamaica.
The school is located near Royalton White Sands, a hotel Sunwing is closely affiliated with. The Foundation has also helped fund a major renovation of a high school in St. Lucia, replacing the roof and retrofitting the classrooms and technical vocation ward.
The Sunwing team also steps up to the plate when disaster strikes, as we saw this past fall during hurricane season in the Caribbean. Last September, office staff volunteered to pack up humanitarian aid. Montreal staffers prepared parcels for Cuba, while a Toronto team (pictured) got busy packing aid to Antigua and Barbuda.
“We had more volunteers than we could accommodate!” says Sunwing Travel Group President & CEO Stephen Hunter.
One notable exception to the destination/education focus is the Royal Canadian Legion, a cause dear to the Hunter family. Last 11NOV, for example, the funds collected in the Spare Change program were doubled by the Foundation, and a cheque for $5,000 was donated to the Royal Canadian Legion Poppy Fund.
You can find out more about the Sunwing Foundation here.