In one of his first initiatives as Sandals Resorts International (SRI) executive chairman, Adam Stewart has announced the creation of The Gordon “Butch” Stewart Tourism and Hospitality Scholarship designed to develop the next generation of Caribbean tourism leaders.
“My father fiercely believed in the power of possibility. He understood and celebrated the ability of people to rise above their potential and accomplish great things,” a Sandals release quotes Stewart.
“This scholarship’s core mission is to ensure a strong future for the Caribbean hotel industry by fuelling the talent pipeline with opportunity – a true reflection of my father’s passion for the region and its potential. That’s why I am delighted to honour his memory and the example he set by empowering our team members to dream big and dream bright,” added Stewart.
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Butch Stewart, who died on January 4, 2021 at age 79, was founder of Sandals Resorts and at the time of his passing was chairman of the luxury-included, all-inclusive chain of 20 properties across nine Caribbean territories.
On January 21 his fourth son, Adam, was named executive chairman of the Appliance Traders Ltd Group, three days after his elevation to a similar post at SRI, placing him at the pinnacle of the business, tourism and media empire built by the elder Stewart over the past 50 years.
The eponymous scholarship is funded through contributions raised by the Sandals Foundation — the brand’s non-profit philanthropic arm aimed at making a difference in the lives of the Caribbean people — and is available to full-time team members of the resort group who will be evaluated based on their financial needs, personal attributes, and success in their current role.
Working alongside the esteemed Sandals Corporate University (SCU) and in partnership with local colleges and universities, scholarship recipients will be eligible to receive funding for up to a four-year college programme in hospitality and tourism. Applications will be accessible through SCU starting June 1, 2021.
“When we launched the Sandals Foundation in 2009, we did so to put a formal face to the philanthropic efforts my father championed since he opened the doors of Sandals Montego Bay in 1981. It’s my honour now to formalise this scholarship in his name, cementing his passion for mentorship and his profound desire to elevate the promise of the Caribbean,” said Stewart, who is also executive chairman of this newspaper.
Sandals said that in addition to the scholarship programme, people wishing to help honour the late Butch Stewart and his love of the region he called home, can do so by donating to support the marine conservation efforts of the Sandals Foundation.
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“Through the creation and management of coral nurseries and marine sanctuaries, and by partnering with local community groups for mangrove restoration and turtle conservation, the Sandals Foundation has helped to restore and sustain the delicate marine ecosystems the world has come to know and love,” the company explained.
“Additionally, the foundation has continued its commitment to work alongside local schools and educators to integrate marine education in their curriculum, spearhead hands-on field trips to protected areas, and engage residents in coastal communities on proper solid waste management programmes to ensure the presence of environmental stewards for years to come,” the resort group added.
“The late chairman was most at home when on the water. He had an unshakeable love for the Caribbean Sea, and over the years, greatly contributed to marine conservation throughout the region,” the release quotes Sandals Foundation Executive Director Heidi Clarke.
“Mr Stewart has impacted so many people across the globe, and his legacy will live on as we continue to strengthen our partnerships and communities to be positive change-makers,” Clarke added.
Both entities — Sandals Resorts International and Sandals Foundation — say they will continue to do their part in furthering Butch Stewart’s “passion for philanthropy by educating the region’s people, providing the necessary tools and funds to further professional goals, and implementing initiatives to protect the islands he loved so much”.
The company said people wishing to get more information and to donate to The Gordon “Butch” Stewart Tourism and Hospitality Scholarship or to marine conservation efforts, should visit www.sandalsfoundation.org.
Source: The Jamaica Observer