At Kimpton Gray Chicago, Fundraising Begins at Home

CHICAGO—Sometimes, the best ideas are right in front of you. At the Kimpton Gray Hotel here, a fundraising opportunity all started with a little piece of flair worn by the hotel staff.

“Upon opening the hotel, we established a partnership with The Tie Bar. To match our branding, we organized custom Gray ties and paired them with colorful lapel pins,” said Dina Fenili, director of sales and marketing, Kimpton Gray Chicago. “Our employees throughout the hotel started wearing these silk pins, and our guests started asking questions about them and inquiring how they could purchase. We thought this would be an incredible way to honor and support various charities in the city of Chicago.”

Eye-catching yet meaningful, there’s also a limited-edition rainbow flower lapel pin—celebrating Pride Month—commissioned by the Kimpton Gray with The Tie Bar. This pin is available and on sale at the hotel’s front desk with partial proceeds donated to Center on Halsted. “We have also collaborated with the first-ever Pride in the Park event on June 29. The four Kimptons of Chicago will host a tent on-site with a complimentary selfie station and novelty giveaways,” said Fenili.

The Kimpton Gray Chicago has collaborated with Tie Bar for a Pride Month lapel pin.
The Kimpton Gray Chicago has collaborated with The Tie Bar for a Pride Month lapel pin.

Philanthropy and charity work are central to the Kimpton brand’s values. “It is a common ethos for each Kimpton property to get involved in the local community and philanthropic passions,” she said. “The Kimpton brand has been dedicated to social and environmental responsibility; that begins with our employees, extends to our guests and revolves around everything we do. Even the wine that we serve during our hosted wine happy hour is sourced from companies that support charitable causes.”

The team at Kimpton Gray Chicago seeks to align its efforts with charities that reflect the brand’s corporate social responsibility—wellness, diversity and environment. The other component is that it must be meaningful to the employees.

“We take into consideration what is happening each season. For Pride, we selected the Center on Halsted as we felt this was the strongest local organization seeking to identify health issues, understand factors that put people at risk and protect and inform them through programming.  We felt strongly that we wanted to give back in the name of health and well-being to our Chicago LGBTQ community,” she said. “Another current partner, the Daisie Foundation, seeks to provide ongoing opportunities for under-resourced women and children in need neighborhoods.”

Fenili became involved with the Daisie Foundation earlier this year as a way to mentor and assist with women in need. It grew into a much larger collaboration with events, panels and initiatives designed to give back to children in Chicago.

“We are always looking for fresh ideas from our teammates,” she said. “Each quarter, we adjust our charity of choice for lapel pin partial proceed donations. These different causes and recipients are recommended and researched to match the values of hotel management. It started as a small idea, and with the incredible support of all the hotel GMs and directors of sales & marketing, it turned into a really powerful initiative.”