The holiday season is a time of year that provides unique opportunities to reflect on the year’s activities and accomplishments. It particularly invites a level of introspection regarding how we as individuals and organizations have given back to our communities and strategies that we can bring into and expand upon in the coming year.
As the operator of the nation’s largest portfolio of large-scale master planned communities (MPCs), The Howard Hughes Corporation (HHC) is acutely aware of the social and civic responsibility that accompanies this standing. We consistently strive towards not only making our developments sustainable, but also doing all within our team’s power to give back to our communities, protect the surrounding environments and ultimately build a healthier and more sustainable landscape for the future.
Year-long Campaigns and Charitable Giving
In keeping with the holiday season, gift-giving, philanthropy and charitable donations are excellent methods of pursuing sustainable initiatives while also providing for everyone in the community and enjoying quality time with friends, family and loved ones. Our company embraces these initiatives year-round through programs such as HHCares, the heart of our community-focused philanthropy that has supported over 350 causes through donations and volunteer work with local charities. HHCares donated nearly $3 million in 2020 alone, and in December of that year donated $30,000 to Feeding America, The National Alliance on Mental Illness and Toys for Tots. Our company also encouraged our team members to participate by offering a two-times donation match initiative – an extension of our holiday campaign.
While The Howard Hughes Corporation has invested in the long-term growth of its MPCs, its regionally focused teams have been equally vested in making a meaningful difference in cultivating community partnerships through philanthropic giving, volunteerism and cultural engagement.
HHCares proved to be of critical aid during the height of the pandemic, helping to support our communities by providing the means to maintain connections during periods of quarantine and social distancing, earning us the Leadership in Community Service and Corporate Social Responsibility award for The Woodlands from Communitas Awards. In Texas.
The Greens, our culinary and entertainment destination located in the Seaport, New York, also combined these ideas of philanthropic service with providing pandemic-focused aid. In addition to providing a socially distanced dining experience for guests, The Greens dedicates a portion of every party’s reservation fee to New York City philanthropies that support those most affected by the pandemic. This program has resulted in over $150,000 in donations to local community beneficiaries as well as thousands of dollars to organizations focused on mental health issues.
In addition to funding commitments to support critical community priorities, HHC considers development milestones another opportunity to engage its communities and give back in ways which strengthen to local social fabric. For example, HHC recognizes the traditional topping out of a building with a “Topping Out & Giving Back” event that celebrates not only the building’s addition to its skyline, but its contribution to the surrounding community.
At Ward Village in Hawaiʻi, the HHC team has also pledged gifts aligned with future development milestones, including $30,000 at the groundbreaking of each residential project. For every new home sold within Ward Village, the developer will contribute $500 out of sales proceeds, and homeowners will have the option to make a matching gift. In the last few months alone, Ward Village has gifted $225,000 to valued local nonprofit organizations.
The abundance of festive adornments such as Christmas trees and wreaths during the holidays also provide timely opportunities for both organizations and individuals to explore their carbon footprints. In Summerlin, Nevada, HHC offers Christmas tree recycling in partnership with Springs Preserve, UNLV Rebel Recycling Program and dozens of other local conservation organizations.
2020 saw the third highest collection to date, with 16,960 trees collected and recycled. Other year-round initiatives include our program to reduce energy, water, waste and carbon emissions along with improving indoor environmental quality and achieving green building certifications. To this end, HHC offers training for its employees on sustainable development and green building certifications, and our portfolio consists of LEED certified properties, ENERGY STAR certified properties and BOMA 360 certified properties. Of these, Ward Village, a 60-acre master-planned community in Hawall is particularly distinguished due to its LEED Platinum precertification.
Our MPCs are located in diverse environments throughout the country and HHC remains committed to customizing our sustainability strategies to reflect each community’s natural environment. One example is our approach to setting waste management policies, which take into account regional infrastructure, regulations and programs in order to create the most comprehensive and fine-tuned waste management programs possible in an effort to reach our waste diversion goal of 50 percent by 2027.
The Howard Hughes Corporation has always been dedicated to providing safe and sustainable communities and the holiday season was an opportune time for our team to reflect on the initiatives, programs and efforts employed portfolio-wide to achieve this goal. While there is always more to be done, HHC remains proud of the services it provides throughout the year to help those in need and nurture the residents, businesses, social and civic organizations that call our MPCs home—and provide the necessary tools to help them thrive. Looking ahead to 2022, our HHC team is eager to continue the work of the innovative placemakers upon whose collective legacy our company is built, and provide enjoyable, sustainable and memorable experiences for all.
Gautami Palanki is the VP of Sustainability for The Howard Hughes Corporation.