From the moment it opened its doors in 2009, Terranea Resort made charitable efforts a key component of its overall mission. Much of the vision came directly from the resort’s president, Terri Haack.
“Terri has had a very deep and strong personal commitment to giving back,” shares Gaye Vancans, community relations director for the resort. “She believes that humility and service are core ethics that we all should lead with.”
Indeed, Terri’s connection to the philanthropic world is both robust and diverse. A longtime contributor to the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), Terri is the current chairman of its educational foundation scholarship committee and has served on this committee for more than 25 years. She currently serves on the organization’s executive committee and board of directors, representing the national resort segment, is the incoming Vice Chairman for the AH&LA’s Resort Committee and is a member of the California Hotel & Lodging Association executive committee and current chairman of the association. Additionally, she is a founding board member and chairman of the Women In Lodging Executive Council.
Terri is also a member of the board of directors for Habitat For Humanity, current chairman of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Chamber of Commerce and a member of the long-term strategic planning board for Marymount California University. In her community she actively contributes her time and energy to a variety of nonprofit organizations as well as serving in leadership positions in business and civic clubs and organizations.
An advocate within the Los Angeles community, particularly within the Palos Verdes Peninsula, Terri has spearheaded numerous initiatives aimed at preserving the natural, cultural and historical integrity of the vibrant region Terranea calls home. Before the resort opened to the public, Terri had already formed partnerships with several local organizations including Algalita, the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy, the Marine Mammal Care Center and the Peninsula Education Foundation.
Since opening, the resort will have remitted more than $30 million in Transient Occupancy Tax to the city of Rancho Palos Verdes. In addition, Terranea was the Community Service Award winner in 2014 by the CH&LA Star of the Industry Awards.
Much of the local community’s embrace of Terranea can be attributed to Terri’s commitment to both charitable organizations and nonprofits. In addition to monetary support, the resort also encourages volunteerism and regularly raises awareness for the individual missions of its partners.
Examples include the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles’ #MakeMarchMatter Campaign; Earth Day and World Ocean Day in support of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy, LA Waterkeeper, The Bay Foundation and Art 2 Grow On, Inc.; National Breast Cancer Awareness Month supporting Play for P.I.N.K and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation; and Terranea Traditions benefiting Toys For Tots. The resort’s ongoing Chef’s Table Dinner Series and Full Moon Yoga offerings support American Red Cross Los Angeles, Peninsula Committee Children’s Hospital, Children’s Miracle Network, City of Hope, Habitat for Humanity, Meals On Wheels and more.
In addition to creating and ensuring memorable moments for the hundreds of guests who visit the resort each day, Terranea has a strong commitment to serving the community and encouraging the engagement of its more than 1,300 associates. Terranea’s Women In Lodging organization, with nearly 150 members, is dedicated to serving the community each quarter through support of Cancer Support Community, Dress for Success Worldwide West, Rainbow Services and more.
Each year the associates of Terranea select their charities of choice that will benefit from their time and financial donations. Fundraising activities include “Fun Friday,” where associates can buy ice cream, flavored popcorn, cupcakes, etc., and all profits go to the charity account. Additionally, associates serve two days with Habitat For Humanity to assist in building homes for its Los Angeles neighbors.
Charitable partners also include Purple Stride and Pancreatic Cancer Foundation. Each of these charities has special meaning to Terranea associates. “Terri allows us all to volunteer and make a difference with the causes we care about,” Gaye shares.
Under Terri’s leadership, the resort also maintains a strong commitment to the environment. Terranea boasts one of the most comprehensive recycling programs in the Los Angeles area and continues to evaluate and explore further enhancements that lead to the decrease of additional waste production. The South Bay Business Environmental Coalition honored Terranea with its SoCal Environmental Excellence Development (SEED) Award for Pollution Prevention in 2012 and Environmental Leadership in 2013.
The resort also earned the CH&LA Star of the Industry Award in 2012 for Good Earthkeeping. The Bay Foundation recently honored Terranea for their work and stewardship of the ocean and important kelp forest ecosystem.
“With a shared appreciation for the rare and beautiful natural landscape on the Peninsula, Terranea Resort has made every effort to support the work with us to protect and steward this unique environment on the Palos Verdes Peninsula—preserving one of Southern California’s most scenic and coveted coastlines for future generations,” says Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy executive director Andrea Vona. By encouraging guests to enjoy the area’s natural surroundings and learn about the local plant and wildlife they have helped protect, Terranea is providing enormous support to the conservancy for efforts to enhance the public’s understanding of the importance of protecting our rare natural areas.
“It is incredibly rewarding to work with Terranea,” Andrea adds. “They approach everything they do in a thoughtful and genuine manner and are able to execute with perfection. They have fully integrated into the community, and we are grateful for their support and their appreciation of the natural lands surrounding the resort.”
In October 2016, the resort debuted the new Terranea Turns Pink initiative—a breast cancer awareness program Gaye is particularly proud of. “The response we have seen from our associates and the excitement in doing something out of the box has truly been heartwarming,” she says. “Giving makes you feel good.”
Terranea will continue—as always—to develop and grow existing relationships while being open to new initiatives. “We have made a commitment to have a volunteer opportunity every month for our associates to partake in.” Gaye says. “Because of our unique location here on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, we have always recognized the importance of our relationship with the local community. We try not only to keep our doors open and welcome the community here, but we also know that we are privileged to live and work in this special place. We recognize the responsibility we have to preserve and take care of this land for all to enjoy. We truly care and want to see and be seen as much as we can.”