Signature Travel Network launched a new charitable foundation, Travel Elevates, at its annual sales conference at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on December 3 (hosted through December 5). The mission of Travel Elevates, according to Signature, is to “leverage [its] global travel partnerships to elevate people through education and economic empowerment.”

Travel Elevates is an independent nonprofit foundation supported by Signature staff, members, clients and preferred partners. It is designed to encourage travel to new destinations and to promote service projects in local communities in those regions. The foundation will select two projects annually to support. Alex Sharpe, president and CEO of Signature Travel Network, says that Travel Elevates will also help increase the visibility of ongoing projects and highlight new opportunities for its members to support.

The inspiration for the foundation, Signature says, came during the travel network’s annual Horizon Club trip with Micato, which took place this past spring. As part of the trip, Signature collections funds to sponsor a new Computer Learning Center at Harambee Center in Mukuru, near Nairobi, Kenya. Donations, which totaled $140,000, came from the Signature team, partners, members and Micato customers.

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Signature says that more projects like this will be supported on a yearly basis with a more streamlined process. All proceeds are to be used to fund ventures and projects. The foundation will also splotlight nonprofit projects spearheaded by Signature members and partners.

Good to know: Signature advisors will be able to suggest projects to their clients in destinations they are visiting and can add charitable components to their itineraries. “The ultimate goal is to educate the traveling public about options available to give back during and after their travels,” Signature said in an official release.

Travel Elevates’ advisory board comprises Alex Sharpe, Karryn Christopher, Robert Martinez and Katrina Petty of Signature; Nina Patel of Vacations That Matter; Olga Placeres of Preferred Travel of Naples; Osvaldo Ramos of TravelStore; Lorna Macleod of Micato/AmericaShare; and Gary Murphy of AmaWaterways.

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