Spas are places devoted to overall well-being through a variety of professional services that encourage the renewal of mind, body and spirit. Several International SPA Association (ISPA) member spas are taking that a step further and are focusing on educational programs, fundraisers, donations and other philanthropic gifts.
"Spas are great at customizing and responding to their customers," said ISPA President Lynne McNees. "Consumers feel good about going to businesses that give back. Spas are successfully doing their part and supporting the communities that support them. The spa industry has been paying it forward for years and we are becoming more aware of the good deeds spas and their providers are doing."
Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa in Lantana, Florida, partners with the United Way of Palm Beach and Habitat for Humanity. In the process of renovation this year, Eau Spa will donate everything that still has value in Habitat for Humanity building programs, according to owner Eva Hill. The spa also contributed to Family First and Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse during the holidays, donating toys and clothing.
"We chose these charities because they do a great job guiding families to reach goals, and in the meantime they help them to get through hard times," said Carolina Griffith, head of Eau Spa's children's beauty at coast program. "It is very important to give back to the people in need, especially kids."
The Club at Las Campanas in Santa Fe, New Mexico, chose a widespread approach to giving back and developed a philanthropic partnership with the Santa Fe Community Foundation after a membership survey demonstrated the spa's guests' dedication to the community. The partnership produced the Las Campanas Community Fund, a permanent investment of 5 percent disbursed annually to local charities-as much as 75,000 dollars in 2012. "Our programs are founded and supported by members and have become integral to our operation," said Todd Shaw, director of fitness, tennis and spa.
Some spas work philanthropy into both their mission and hiring practices. Spa Shiki at the Lodge of Four Seasons in Lake Ozark, Missouri, requires that, upon interview and hiring, each associate understands he or she must give one complimentary treatment per month to one of four local charities. The spa shares its initiatives with clients and asks for financial help during certain months, such as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
"In giving I have received so much more back in return: Gratitude, great friendships, a sense of peace and fulfillment," said Ann Brown, spa director. "I have also seen it truly change some of the staff's attitude about life and being selfless."
In addition to donating to philanthropic institutions and local nonprofits, Kurotel - Longevity Center and Spa in Gramado, Brazil, also partners with schools to promote healthier lifestyles.
"Health is the greatest asset that a person can possibly have," said human resources manager, Deise Cristina Arend. "In the same way we hope to change bad habits in our customers, we also believe it is important for the people in our community."