AHATA Impact Award, think globally, act locally

AHATA recently announced that in addition to its annual Employee Excellence awards, it is also launching the AHATA Impact Award to reward efforts made by member companies in four  important pillars of sustainability: Social Investment/Charitable Support — donation of time or funds; Environmental conservation — mitigation of climate change; Promotion of Aruban culture and Commitment to Employee Quality of Life improvement.

This is an exciting project. Congratulations, AHATA. We will be finally able to publicly say thank you to companies who selflessly serve the community.

AHATA plans to collaborate with a panel of judges from respected organizations to help develop the award program and the official criteria for application and evaluation.

Presently, AHATA members can apply for one or more of the 4 separate awards, and the applications for each category will be evaluated by the panel of five independent judges.

On the judge’s panel: Daniel Tecklenborg, Director of CEDE Aruba; Francielle Laclé, Sustainable Development Consultant and Lecturer at University of Aruba; Ray-Ann Hernandez, Director of UNOCA; Jan Noordzij, Owner and Director of Advance Human Resources Service and Rosabelle Illes, PHD, Psychologist and Assistant Professor at the University of Aruba.

The award was announced on the same day The Salamander Group was hosting its Tikkun Olam donation event, with recipients arriving at the company’s flagship store, T.H. Palm & Company at Playa Linda.

That program is a perfect fit for the Impact Award, and it has been going strong since the fall of 2007, when CEO Jodi Tobman announced she was starting an ongoing fundraising initiative, with regular donations presented to select not-for-profit foundations, on the island, once a year.

At the time Jodi decided that for three hundred and sixty four days a year, the diligent members of the Salamander Group will be collecting funds derived from sales, and on the three hundred and sixty fifth day, they will be handing out donations to local not-for-profit foundations who support the island’s well-being.

She recognized the big need, and her team has been working hard to fulfill their social responsibility, for the past SIXTEEN years.

At the gathering this week, Jodi explained the Tikkun Olam program is dear to her heart and she thanked those working as volunteers, to heal our community wounds.

Tikkun Olam means the repair of the world, in Hebrew, according to an ancient Kabala belief that the world is in need of fixing. Jodi, raised on charity as a way of life introduced it early on to all her popular retail stores.

The company must have donated a Lamborghini since 2007, or at least a small penthouse condo.

This week, seven foundations who are helpful in different ways received funds at a modest get together. Donation envelopes were presented by Angelica, on behalf of the store manager Stephanie and her team.

Recipients included: Koningin Wilhelmina Fonds voor de Kankerbestrijding op Aruba, Wilhelmina Cancer Foundation. Offering Support for Cancer Patients, Survivors, and their Families since 1961. The foundation reports the need is greater than ever.

Fundacion Contra Violencia Relacional, FCVR, the former Fundacion pa Hende Muhe den Dificultad, or the Foundation for Abused Women. Due to many social changes the organization is now more inclusive, resulting in the name change. In recent years the foundation provided a Safe Haven and Help for Victims of Spousal Abuse, men and women, and at least double the number of children. It has been active in our community since 1995.

Bon Nochi Drumi Dushi Aruba, is a beautiful educational project that encourages bedtime stories, reading books to children, and teaching the joy of print, which with the advent of technology experienced a severe blow. According to experts, reading to children is still the best way to teach them to express themselves and name what they feel.

Telefon pa Hubentud Aruba, Teen Telephone Hotline, offering support to youth, ages 8 to 18 since 2003. The foundation is answering thousands of calls, here, they recently branched out to include Saba and Statia, for the same services. The phones ring in Aruba and are answered by volunteers, well versed in the culture of the other islands.

Fundacion Autismo, Aruba, advocating on behalf of people with Autism, their families and their caretakers, since 2005. The foundation has a new board and is working with all stakeholders to increase the level of community acceptance and support.

Atelier 89, the local center for contemporary art workshops, an adult education facility, teaching a diverse art curriculum year round, and preparing for a Summer Exhibition with Aruban artists in participation.

One of the Salamander Group stores, The Juggling Fish on the Boardwalk at Playa Linda, fundraises exclusively for Mary Joan’s foundation, founded in 2007, dedicated to help and guide Breast Cancer patients.

The donations made by The Salamander Group, in collaboration with clients, were made possible thanks to dedicated staffers who helped direct a percentage of clients’ purchases to their favorite local cause. The Tikkun Olam menu is available at the stores, and clients can study it to choose their favorite charity.

The Salamander Group owns and operates The Juggling Fish, T.H. Palm & Company, and The Lazy Lizard, fun stores located in the hotel areas.

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February 15, 2023
Rona Coster