RISMEDIA, August 20, 2008-Over 900 employees and families of Group RCI, a world leader in leisure real estate and one of the Wyndham Worldwide family of brands, gathered recently for the emotional reunion of RCI co-founder Christel DeHaan and many of her former RCI employees. The scene was a carnival-style block party at the Carmel-area campus of the world’s largest timeshare exchange company to raise funds for Christel House International, Group RCI’s global charity of choice. At the close of the event, DeHaan was presented with the unexpectedly sizeable donation of $100,000.
According to the company, the 5-hour block party marked the celebratory conclusion of the ‘Summer of Christel House’, a six-week-long fundraising campaign created by RCI employees to raise both consciousness and cash for Christel House International which operates learning centers for impoverished children in Mexico, Venezuela, South Africa, India, and Indianapolis. Founded by DeHaan in 1998, the charitable organization seeks to break the cycle of poverty for children around the world and help them become contributing members of society.
“The passion demonstrated by the associates of RCI to help provide the 2,700 children of Christel House a better quality of life is both amazing and unprecedented,” marveled Geoff Ballotti, president and CEO of Group RCI.
“Christel DeHaan created an incredibly caring culture at RCI many years ago based on honesty, integrity, sincerity and community service. It’s a culture which is alive and well nearly 35 years later. And it’s a culture I’m both honored and humbled to be associated with.”
Attendees of the celebration were treated to a musical performance by visiting Christel House South Africa students Angelique Blaauw, Nontando Bonga, and Kyle Daniels, led by Luis-Miguel Delgado, a business development account executive with Group RCI. Blaauw 16, talked about teamwork, shared goals, and the power of “we” — a message fitting the occasion.
Congratulating the crowd on their creativity and caring, DeHaan was preparing to accept the donation of monies raised by local RCI employees when it was revealed that those had been combined not only with contributions from global colleagues as well as block party proceeds but also a match from the company’s corporate office, a sum totaling $100,000.00. “There are not enough words to describe how I’m feeling,” said DeHaan in response to the unexpected generosity. “From day one, RCI has distinguished itself through its people. This is a gift of love for which I am humbled and grateful.”
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