“I’ve had the privilege of traveling the world most of my life. I’ve seen the majesty of the Canadian Rockies, visited the ancient temples in Japan, and marveled at the natural wonder of Machu Picchu in Peru. Traveling has shown me what beautiful places exist all over the world; but at the same time, it has revealed the challenges, strife and poor living conditions that many people, especially children, must endure everyday.”
Dan Sullivan, CEO of Collette Vacations, and founder of the Collette Foundation visits Eyethu Preschool in Knysna
It was a fateful trip to Peru that sparked the genesis of the Collette Foundation for Daniel Sullivan, Jr., no stranger to the world of giving back. In the fall of 2006, he was awestruck during a visit to a Peruvian school. “My team spent an afternoon with the children of a small village. I was troubled by their diets, made up of mainly potatoes. I was disturbed by the fact that their school lacked basic supplies needed to engage the children in learning. And, I was disappointed in myself knowing that while I traveled extensively, I somehow managed to miss the opportunity to help the partner communities we visited. As the CEO of Collette Vacations, my mission has always been focused on trying to show the best our world has to offer, on giving travelers a unique perspective or insight into a destination.
But coming home from Peru made me realize that there was another part of this world, and as a steward of it in many ways, I could not look the other way. I had to do something – at least for the children.”
With over 150 Collette tours that visit destinations on all 7 continents, Sullivan immediately wanted to join employees, partners, vendors and customers together in the mission to enrich the lives of the world’s children.
The Foundation was officially launched in 2007, on the eve of Collette’s 90th anniversary, and will fund both supplies and manpower, roughly 150 employee volunteers, to establish and manage projects in destinations such as Australia, China, Cambodia, Fiji, Costa Rica, Ireland, Canada, Kenya, Mexico, Egypt, Peru, South Africa and the United States.
More than 25 percent of Collette’s nearly 600 worldwide employees have volunteered to participate on projects. Each project has its own task force to identify and manage programs, collaborate with foreign organizations, and allocate funding. Being in the travel business allows Collette’s employees to actually get on the ground and personally visit the sites they are working with to monitor effectiveness.
“It is our hope that the Collette Foundation will inspire others and make a difference one community, and one project at a time.”