It is in our character as hoteliers to take care of people and places. And as business people we recognize that the vitality of our business is directly linked to the vitality of the communities where we operate. When we open a hotel, we unlock untold potential because we are not only building a business, we help build the community that surrounds that business.
To help do that, we focus our community involvement in three areas—all with the goal of helping associates and neighbors around the world reach their potential. With 1,146 properties across 100 countries working together and focused on a few key issues, Starwood can have a tremendous impact and countless lives can be improved.
Our presence in a market creates jobs and long-term economic benefits, and we further this positive influence through our focus on communities. By unlocking and cultivating a community's potential with mentoring, general education and specialized training in job skills, life skills, and literacy, individuals flourish. As individuals flourish, communities grow stronger, becoming even more vibrant destinations our guests want to visit.
We place tremendous value in our indigenous surroundings. Our involvement in local area restoration, preservation and beautification projects ensures that these unique travel experiences are kept alive for our guests, associates, families and communities. It's important that all our environments fully reach their potential as well.
When disaster strikes, Starwood is ready. Responding to neighbors in need is about caring for people when it matters most—addressing the most basic needs when natural disaster strikes so people can get on with things that will keep them on track to reach their potential.
Guests at participating hotels in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia Pacific are invited to donate US$1 to UNICEF's education programs. This partnership has raised over US$25 million and improved the lives of millions of children since 1995.
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