MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica: Sandals Resorts International’s (SRI) Gordon “Butch” Stewart has been making a positive impact across the Caribbean from the very beginning – something that has always been part of his way of life. His love for his land and people shone bright on many occasions - donating millions of dollars in cash, services, and materials to educational, civic, religious and charitable organizations not just in the Caribbean, but throughout the world. Stewart’s passion for service and helping those less fortunate was instilled in all his children, inspiring one of his sons, Adam Stewart, to formalize their dedication to the Caribbean by creating the Sandals Foundation in 2009 – the philanthropic arm of SRI. Together, the Stewart family has paved the way for others to inspire greatness in people, preserve justice, and give back to the land and people they love.
Serving as a dynamic force in shaping the lives and the future of the Caribbean for over 40 years, the Stewart family has created a prestigious award to recognize those who possess their same dedication to giving back to the Caribbean: The Stewart Family Philanthropic Award. This new award is dedicated to honoring executives, partners and individuals whose exceptional leadership in the philanthropic sector has strengthened, built up and inspired entire Caribbean communities. This year, Heidi Clarke, Executive Director of the Sandals Foundation, was honored as the first ever recipient of this tremendous accolade for her decade-long service and dedication to the Foundation while at the 18th Annual Sandals Travel Agency Recognition (S.T.A.R.) Awards, honoring top travel agents and their agencies at Beaches Turks & Caicos on December 9th. Over the years, Clarke has been instrumental in developing and maintaining relationships with nonprofit organizations in the Caribbean community, corporate partners and volunteers. According to Adam Stewart, Deputy Chairman of SRI and President of the Sandals Foundation, Clarke has helped impact close to 1 million people in the region and has implemented hundreds of projects and programs valued at over $58 million dollars over a 10-year period. The Stewart family is extremely thankful for Heidi Clarke’s unwavering commitment to the Caribbean community and the Foundation since its inception.
“It is with great honor that my family presents the first Stewart Family Philanthropic Award to one of the most big-hearted, purposeful individuals who has played an immense role in shaping the lives and the future of the Caribbean,” said Adam Stewart. “Heidi Clarke is the champion at the helm of the Sandals Foundation and has effortlessly done the most remarkable job in inspiring hope and creating a sustainable impact on the islands we call home. Heidi’s passion and strong commitment to philanthropy is unprecedented.”
The Stewart family is excited to continuously celebrate good stewards who embody the same strong commitment to philanthropy that they exude every day. Similar to Heidi Clarke, future recipients of The Stewart Family Philanthropic Award will exemplify:
- Dedication to improving the lives of others, carving out success and creating real change.
- Promotion of positive environmental and social transformation.
- Breaking out from the norm, thinking and doing different in order to serve his or her fellow Caribbean citizens.
- Transforming the power of a program idea into action, impacting entire communities.
- Providing opportunity to underrepresented, poor, and marginalized youth, playing an integral role in changing the lives of Caribbean children and families.
- Evidence of meaningful contributions to the nonprofit sector and significant achievements in his or her field, and/or the service sector.
- Ability to build and use organizational infrastructure to increase mission and community impact.
- A minimum of 10 years of experience serving others to create lasting change in the Caribbean and beyond.