“Work” and “exciting” don't have to be oppositional. At Brookfield Properties, the amenities we deliver are just as exceptional as the places we create.
Making a positive contribution to the communities where we operate is fundamental to our way of doing business. Amidst the global pandemic, our focus has remained on helping ease its impact on our employees, properties, and the communities they serve. A Cause for Caring was a global effort by Brookfield Properties, empowering team members across all businesses globally to support causes of their choice, with a focus on helping those most impacted by COVID-19. The company matched all donations 2:1.
As one of the world’s largest landlords, we believe that buildings are more than physical structures. They are catalysts for positive change. Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, we have been committed to helping our communities, tenants, residents and partners get back on their feet.
As a global organization, we are in a unique position to offer immediate relief and make an impact in the communities where we operate, whether that’s through large-scale support of national efforts or targeted, fit-for-purpose engagement across the communities where we operate.
From hosting webinars on how government aid packages can support small and mid-sized businesses, to negotiating rent relief measures and providing additional operating and marketing support to get our properties ready for a new normal – our team members have played an incredibly important role in keeping our business moving forward.
Throughout our businesses, we began by implementing enhanced safety measures and cleaning protocols in all our properties to protect the health and safety of our tenants, residents and visitors. We also followed national and local guidance in reopening our properties, adhering to all public health protocols, and working closely with our property management teams for a safe, phased and orderly reopening. We also felt it was critical to support local businesses who were incredibly effected during the pandemic.
In collaboration with the Brookfield Cares program, and the A Cause for Caring corporate social responsibility initiative, our people from across the globe curated unique initiatives to support our communities. Thousands of us further reached into the communities where we live and work through participation in our Brookfield Properties COVID-19 Matching Program.
These are the stories of our global community, united together, in support of the communities and the world we share.
As community builders, we are keenly aware of the unprecedented challenges presented by the global pandemic and the resulting impact on people and communities where we live and work.
From a kid's drawing contest that raised over $17,000 to the Rev It Up Fitness Challenge that engaged over 200 team members leading to a $26,000 donation, our development team led the way on our Cause for Caring initiative. As builders, we have access to thousands of masks and eye guards that local hospitals can use as personal protective equipment. In the early stages of the pandemic, when PPE was in critical short supply, Brookfield Properties, along with The Leading Builders of America (LBA) and our trade partners responded by donating protective eyewear, N95 masks and dust masks for health care workers across the US. The campaign secured well over $50,000 worth of PPE for frontline healthcare workers.
In California, where our team has grown to over 1,700, our commitment to the community goes beyond the physical. Between our development, land and housing, office, retail, logistics and multifamily teams, we contributed just under $2 million to relief efforts in support of residents needing shleter, food security and other essential services.
It has been extraordinary to see our global teams pivot to help our tenants and residents navigate the impacts of this changing economy and world.
Bill Powell, Chief Operating Officer
In our retail malls we were able to use our parking lots as COVID-19 testing locations. In addition, we provided additional healthcare worker parking, police command and training centers and blood donation facilities.
Internally, there was an incredible uptake by retail group team members. Within one week, donations to Cause for Caring reached $70,000, and have since swelled to over $150,000. With operations across the United States, team members shared their generosity with over 200 local causes.
Brookfield Properties’ retail group encouraged team members to select any charity that played a role in the community’s COVID-19 recovery or may have been impacted by the pandemic. This allowed individuals the flexibility to choose whatever meant most to them in their community. Brookfield Properties’ retail group operates throughout the United Sates, including Hawaii, Denver, Iowa and Illinois, to name a few, so it was important for team members to have the ability to choose their own preferred local causes. Some charities and non-profits that team members donated to included:
Within our office business, we offered the use of spaces to healthcare workers and community groups. This included providing free parking, refrigeration and pick-up points.
When London, England went into lockdown, our European team took immediate action. As panic buying set in and shelves in grocery stores were emptied, many frontline hospital workers were left without the groceries they needed after their long shifts. To help solve the problem, the non-profit Help NHS Heroes set up click-and-collect food box pickup points on hospital grounds where frontline workers could take home boxes full of ingredients for well-balanced meals and other necessities. Brookfield Properties’ Europe donated £148,000 to fund the infrastructure for the pop-up shops on the grounds of Charing Cross, Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea, Hammersmith, St Mary’s, and the Western Eye hospitals.
In India, the team assisted in distributing over 25,000 meals to underprivileged individuals and frontline workers, as well as over 500 dry ration kits in Mumbai. Further, supporting Earth Saviours, Gurukul, the team helped provide supplies to approximately 450 senior citizens, mentally impaired and low income individuals who live in NGO's shelter home.
In Australia, which was impacted by bushfires and COVID in early 2020, the team was able to provide over 1,000 surgical masks to Tamworth Hospital Helped Oz, as well as provide free parking lot access to frontline workers at Brisbane Private Hospital. One partner, OzHarvest, provides food to those in need. We assisted by donating leftover food from their office spaces across Australia and through monetary donations. The Brookfield Properties team also made monetary donations to their food retailers to make pre-made meals, which were then donated to OzHarvest to redistribute in Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. Brookfield’s support helped OzHarvest to rescue 890kg of food which equals to providing 2,687 need.
In Brazil, upon hearing about the A Cause for Caring Campaign, Brookfield Properties Brazil’s small team of 64 stepped up to make a difference, raising $17,000 within just a month of joining the charitable campaign. The team focused on feature causes that aided and contributed to COVID-19 relief in their country, which included União Rio, Fique bem em Casa, União SP and Apontar. And in the US, a kids drawing contest, virtual trivia night and a beautiful digital cookbook was created featuring popular dishes from retailers across our portfolio engaged team members in fun and delicious ways. The team was able to raise an impressive donation of $540,000 for their communities.
When COVID-19 hit, the effects of the pandemic were felt globally. Unlike other sectors there was no the option to work from home for most hospitality industry employees. This resulted in a substantial impact on the industry and our hospitality team knew immediately they wanted to help.
“Giving back is so important during this time. We felt this especially because this crisis hit our segment hard. In April 2020, the unemployment rate for hospitality workers in the U.S. was 39%. We needed to do something,” said Nelson Garrido, Senior Vice President of Information Technology for Hospitality.
Initial efforts focused on addressing the effects of people sheltering in place, which included:
Caring for our communities is embedded in our culture, inspiring our team’s work every day. Within our multifamily business, we raised over $100,000 and collected funds for 70 different charities. In addition to donating to charities like foodbanks and local United Way chapters, associates shared their support with organizations dedicated to civil rights, education, the environment, health, youth development and the arts.
The team also launched several internal intiatives, like the DRAWing Attention to Giving contest. Participants were asked to illustrate what the terms 'helping others,' 'hope,' and 'giving,' meant to them. There were three categories of entries: ages 0-7, ages 8-11 and adults. Winners in each category were voted on by associates and the prize was the chance for the artists to select the charity of their choice to receive a donation in their honor. Teams also garnered support through mini-challenges, like the opportunity to ‘win’ the ability to wear jeans to work by donating to a cause.
“We were trying to find a way to engage, not just associates, but their families because many team members had kids at home that might be looking for a project to keep them busy,” Charity Katz, Manager of Internal Communications, mentioned. “We also wanted to open the door for families to talk about what it means to give and why it is important.”
Creating opportunities for each team member to direct their donations to the causes most important to them was empowering and opened a space of reflection, even in a global campaign. “When you have everyone working towards the same passion, all focused on community impact, it really shows how great our teamwork is,” Charity expressed.
“We are a small but mighty team of about 30, and I am really proud of how we were able to rally and mobilize during this campaign,” said Allison Hsu, Office Manager with the logistics team.
The two featured causes chosen by the logistics group were the North Texas Food Bank in Dallas, and the Giving Kitchen in Atlanta. Within the course of just under two months, the team was able to donate an astounding $45,000 between the two philanthropies. The North Texas Food Bank helps distribute donated, purchased, and prepared foods through a network of more than 200 partner agencies in 13 Texas counties. The Giving Kitchen in Atlanta provides financial assistance and support services for food service workers, who are some of the most hardworking and vulnerable members of the community.