Imagine traveling to anywhere in the world for the most incredible, once-in-a-lifetime trip. Imagine experiencing the culture of the community that resides there, the thrill of seeing a new corner of the world, and the beauty of nature around you. Now imagine being able to give back in the process. Companies are sprouting up, giving individuals the opportunity to have an exceptional trip while giving back to the community they travel to.
Photos courtesy of Off Season Adventures
Off Season Adventures allows clients to travel to destinations such as Uganda, Tunisia, Ethiopia and more — all while being immersed in the communities they’re giving back to. Tanner C. Knorr, the owner and founder of Off Season Adventures, has always had a vision of giving back, saying that “if we all contribute just a little bit to the communities and environments while we’re traveling, the world would be a better place.”
Off Season Adventures is unwavering in its belief of making the communities its clients travel to a better place than before. Earlier this year, the company installed a solar panel water pump system in the village of Kakoi, located in Tanzania. Because of this work, 15,000 people now have access to clean drinking water.
Photo courtesy of Off Season Adventures
Photo courtesy of Elevate Destinations
Not only do these companies give back in considerable ways, but the extraordinary landscape of the destinations and the connections made with the communities that reside there are already reasons to book a trip. Dominique Callimanopulos, the founder and president of Elevate Destinations, believes the most rewarding aspect is simply the connections made between the travelers and the community members of the area. “It tends to be really an exchange, it’s not just one way,” she says. “I think the travelers get at least as much out of the exchange.”
She recommends Africa more so her clients than any other destination, as she describes it as “just like nowhere else. There are very few places you could see such amazing beauty of untouched landscape.” She emphasizes, however, that Elevate Destinations is not into “one-off” visits and investments — and that the company is deeply invested in long-term community development of the destinations clients travel to.
Photo courtesy of Elevate Destinations
For some companies, there is also a focus on the environmental impact of traveling to the provided destinations. andBeyond, a company dedicated to providing luxury travel with a deep focus on environmental sustainability, offers private tours of the stunning landscapes in Africa, South America and Asia.
Photos courtesy of andBeyond
Clients are finding these trips to be evermore fulfilling and meaningful. Not only are they giving back to the communities they travel to, but there’s an underlying consensus — they get back even more in return.
REAL ESTATE EXECUTIVE TAMI HALTON PARDEE IS COMMITTED TO GIVING BACK, EMPOWERING THOSE WHO HAVE NO ROOF AT ALL.
Founder and CEO of Halton Pardee + Partners, Tami Halton Pardee is one of the nation’s premier real estate entrepreneurs, leading her Los Angeles-based firm to sell more than $3.8 billion worth of properties since its inception in 2004. Halton Pardee is also a prominent philanthropist who created the Life Change Warriors foundation in 2017 after years of promoting a culture of giving at her company.
In 2001 Halton Pardee was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), a devastating blow to a vibrant young woman just entering her thirties, but she drew inspiration and energy from this adversity. “That call from my doctor taught me I had to start planning my life, not just letting it happen,” recounts Halton Pardee, who adds, “I needed to start living my best life.”
Photo courtesy of Halton Pardee + Partners.
Halton Pardee founded Life Change Warriors to help people move beyond their own traumas, whatever those may be, and as a real estate professional and mother of four she focused her attention on homeless women and at-risk kids. The real estate executive had always been committed to returning some of her good fortune to the community, and Halton Pardee + Partners maintains a policy of donating a portion of all commissions to local charities, totaling more than $1.3 million over 14 years. But with her newfound sense of purpose, Halton Pardee yearned to be more hands-on in her giving, and those charitable proceeds are now directed primarily to Life Change Warriors.
The foundation translates Halton Pardee’s long-held philosophy of creating one’s best life through human connections, but presents it through a more structured methodology. Life Change Warriors offers six weeks of classes — she teaches them herself along with two life coaches — for people unable to get beyond their respective traumas, often relegated to living on the streets.
“Everybody lives in the past and believes that it dictates their future, but it doesn’t have to be that way,” insists the entrepreneur, who personally overcame her own traumas. “I want them to live their best lives,” reports Halton Pardee, who hosts students at her home for graduation dinners. The graduates receive a monetary gift to use as a deposit for an apartment or to pursue a degree or career goal, finally breaking the cycle of homelessness with a newfound sense of empowerment.
One of Life Change Warriors’ many success stories was a single, homeless mother named Sylvia, who after graduation from her six-week class went on to receive her high school equivalency certificate and was placed by the foundation in a job with a nonprofit affordable housing developer, where she has since been promoted to property manager.
“After selling a $10 million home, how can any agent not think of giving a portion of that commission to people who don’t even have a roof over their heads?” asks Halton Pardee, who notes the real estate industry is ideally suited to this kind of charity. “When you believe in someone, it can really change their life,” she says, noting that until many of her students begin classes, they have never before had anybody truly believe in them. “They need to know they’re worthy and that there’s a way out of homelessness, that they can escape whatever happened in their past,” explains the inspiring philanthropist.
Legrand, a company that brings power, light, and data to millions of spaces worldwide, aims to help wounded veterans with its charitable efforts.
By Sarah Binder
For the second year, Legrand, North America, a firm that specializes in electrical and digital building infrastructures, donated the proceeds from its national sales meeting fundraiser to Building Homes for Heroes, an organization that helps wounded veterans.
The funds — totaling $161,000 — stem from money raised by Legrand sales teams, executive leaders and partners, and matched by Legrand. They will be used to build new homes for veterans, and to install appropriate home automation technologies.
“Building Homes for Heroes is one of the national charitable organizations that Legrand supports as part of its Better Communities initiative,” says Brian DiBella, president of the company’s EWS division. “Our purpose in this initiative is to enhance community and employee welfare through programs that help people enjoy healthier, more productive and more rewarding lives.”
A portion of this year’s donation will support United States Air Force Captain Nathan Nelson, who was injured during his third tour of duty in Afghanistan. Nelson was part of a special operations team that came under heavy fire in September 2013. He sustained a spinal cord injury in addition to multiple other traumas. As a result, Nelson has no movement below his chest and limited use of his hands. He was awarded a Purple Heart and other commendations recognizing his bravery and sacrifice.
In addition to the monetary contribution, Legrand will also donate home automation and electrical solutions to Nelson and other wounded veterans. The products include: Intuity home automation and radiant RF lighting controls, which allow residents to regulate the lights and electrical outlets in their home via smartphone apps, Wattstopper sensors that automatically turn lights on when an individual enters the room and turn off when the room is unoccupied, and Plugmold multi-outlet power strips for USB charging. Once construction on the new home in Florida is complete, Nelson will reside there with his wife, Jennifer, and daughter, Eva.
“We’re really proud of the way Legrand stepped up and showed their support for our veterans, and for the wonderful work Building Homes for Heroes is doing on behalf of those members of the U.S. Armed Forces who return home with serious injuries,” says Paul Finnegan, executive vice president of sales at the Data Communications Division of Legrand.
Building Homes for Heroes is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that was founded in 2006. It builds or modifies homes to suit a veteran’s specific needs and gifts the home — mortgage-free — to them and their families.
“We are extremely grateful for Legrand’s support for our nation’s injured veterans,” says Andy Pujol, founder and president of Building Homes for Heroes. “Their generous contributions are critical in allowing us to advance our mission of giving back to those who have sacrificed the most to keep our country safe. Together, we are building homes and rebuilding lives.”
John Hoffman of Legrand, with Gonzalez and his family, Andy Pujol of Building Homes for Heroes, and Bob Bonacc of Legrand.