Innisfree Hotels, Habitat for Humanity

Innisfree Hotels may best be known for building hotels on beautiful beaches. Yet the hotel company is also building community – through donations to nonprofit organizations near its headquarters in Northwest Florida.

Since 2012, Innisfree has helped Pensacola Habitat for Humanity build more than 36 houses for families in need through a Florida tax credit program by which local sales tax stays local.

The program has been around since the 1980s, according to Habitat’s Director of Corporate and Community Relations Sue Evans. Habitat for Humanity began using it in the late 90s, and the local office in 2002. Since then, the organization has benefited from over $11 million in donated sales tax receipts from companies like Innisfree, whose $1.6 million contribution amounts to 13.8% of the money available in Escambia County through the program.

In the 2014 program year, Evans says $3.2 million came to Habitat in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties, for a total of 17 percent of the monies available statewide.

“People talk about our tax money going to Tallahassee, but this is a way for us to see it again,” Evans says. “Our legislators have to fight to pass it each year.”

Innisfree Hotels is among the top tax credit sponsors of Pensacola Habitat for Humanity, building 32 houses in the last four years, with another four on the horizon.

By law, the tax credit program requires a commitment of 200 volunteer hours. If a company is unable to pledge its employees to fulfill them, Habitat can find other companies, or retired and military volunteers to complete the work days on its behalf.

Yet even before construction begins, there’s a lot of time that goes into completing applications, cutting checks and making occasional calls to the Department of Revenue. That’s what makes sponsors like Innisfree so special, according to Evans.

“Julian MacQueen and Brooks Moore have the ‘busy-ness’ of running their business, and yet they do this so the community can benefit,” she says. “It means a lot. I love the tax credit program, I love the companies that participate … and I love Innisfree.”

Moore is thrilled for Innisfree Hotels to be a part of this life-changing program.

“I can think of very few things that are more rewarding than helping local citizens and neighbors realize the dream of home ownership,” he says.

In June 2016, Innisfree’s Chief Marketing Officer Jill Thomas sat on the panel of Habitat for Humanity’s Community Summit to share a presentation about Corporate Social Responsibility.

Innisfree Hotels formally established a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program in 2015 called The Hive, a busy place for the Innisfree family to connect with each other while doing good for others.

“At Innisfree Hotels, we are committed to bettering the communities where we live and work, leading by example to inspire other companies to do the same,” Thomas says. “The tax credit program benefiting Habitat for Humanity is a wonderful opportunity for local businesses to enhance quality of life right here at home.”

After all, what is more important than home?

To learn more about the program, please visit the local Habitat for Humanity website.

To learn more about the CSR program of Innisfree Hotels, please visit our Hive webpage.

– By Ashley Kahn Salley

Lead Storyteller, Innisfree Hotels