Hotelier and Philanthropist Harris Rosen Receives Inaugural “Ring of Giving Humanitarian Award” from BlackHistoryTours.com and the Florida Task Force on African American History
ORLANDO (July 28, 2011) – On Friday, July 15, Harris Rosen, President & CEO of Rosen Hotels & Resorts, become the first ever recipient of the BlackHistoryTours.com, Inc. “Ring of Giving Humanitarian Award,” presented in conjunction with the Florida Task Force on African American History (FTFAAH), the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Transatlantic Slave Trade (TST) and historically black colleges and universities.
This year, the groups jointly produced the “African American Heritage Tour: An Educational Adventure,” the first of a series of historical and educational tours of Florida. The tour, which took place July 10-15, was designed to provide an in-depth look at African American history in north and northeast Florida to educators of grades K-12, university and college personnel, religious and community leaders, and history enthusiasts. The tour included some public and private school students. With three honor students who flew to Florida from the Johnson College Prep School (named for John H. Johnson the founder of Ebony and Jet Magazines) in Chicago to experience stops in Innisbrook, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Daytona Beach and Orlando, where participants stayed at the Rosen Plaza hotel and took a tour of the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management, as well as attending workshops and lectures.
The FAAHTF, UNESCO, TST and HBCU all provide training and advisement to Florida’s K-12 schools. The collaboration of the organizations helps to ensure implementation of Florida Statute 1003.42(h) statewide, a mandate to forge external partnerships involving corporations, national associations and philanthropy organizations. The creation of the Ring of Giving Humanitarian Award reflects the groups’ effort to forge external partnerships with the business community.
Mr. Rosen was given the award during the group’s closing breakfast on July 15 by State Representative Geraldine Thompson and Sherry Sherrod DuPree with UNESCO, who lauded the hotelier for his support of the heritage tour as well as his involvement in various educational endeavors and African American philanthropies.
“As the first recipient of the Ring of Giving Humanitarian Award, Mr. Rosen has set the standard extremely high for years to come,” said DuPree. “We are proud to give the inaugural award to someone who has done so much for children, for education, for African Americans and minorities, in Central Florida and beyond.”
Rosen was honored to receive the first award from the joint organizations. “I’m happy to be a part of this joint effort to aid Florida educators in teaching the African-American history of our state and to help forge new partnerships between the education and the business communities,” said Rosen. “When we work together, we can open doors we never thought possible.”
In the 1990s, Rosen created the Tangelo Park Pilot Program which continues to provide a free preschool education for all 2-, 3- and 4-year-olds in the disadvantaged Tangelo Park neighborhood near Orlando’s attractions corridor. The program also provides all Tangelo Park high school graduates with a free education at a vocational school, community college, junior college or a four-year public college education within Florida. Thus far, approximately 190 Tangelo Park youth have received full college scholarships from this program.
Further demonstrating his commitment to education, Rosen donated a 20-acre site and $18 million to help construct the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management, which opened in January 2004. He also established a $5 million dollar endowment for the college that provides approximately 100 scholarships annually to students attending the college.
With more than 30 percent of his workforce either from Haiti or of Haitian descent, Harris Rosen is actively involved in disaster relief for citizens of Haiti. Since the earthquake in January 2010, the Harris Rosen Foundation has raised more than half a million dollars in relief. In recent years, Rosen hosted a “Water for Haiti” benefit, partnering with Air Mobile Ministries in Titusville, Fla. to raise $350,000 to purchase portable water purification systems for Haiti.
Rosen also uses his charitable organization as a means to encourage young people to give back. When students at Lake Highland Preparatory School (LHPS) conducted fundraisers to collect money for victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, they asked Rosen, who serves as Orlando’s Honorary Consul General of Japan, to match what they raised. The students of LHPS raised an astounding $43,240, and Rosen matched the amount dollar for dollar.
Additionally, Rosen also served as the Honorary Co-Chair of the Bethune-Cookman College Statue Project with the late Dr. Dorothy Height, President Emeriti of the National Council of Negro Women. The fundraiser was successful, and in January, 2005, a statue of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, the school’s founder, was unveiled on the campus.
Over the past 38 years, Rosen Hotels & Resorts has grown from 256 to approximately 6,300 rooms, approximately six percent of the total guest rooms in Central Florida. Today, the Rosen family of hotels, which includes the new Rosen Shingle Creek, the award-winning Rosen Centre and Rosen Plaza, and four leisure properties in the Orlando tourist corridor, including the Quality Inn International, Quality Inn Plaza and Rodeway Inn International and Comfort Inn Lake Buena Vista, remain committed to providing outstanding value for all guests. For more information, visit www.rosenhotels.com or call 866-33-ROSEN.