In 2015, Hersha partnered with Autism speaks to host over 30 families of children with Autism at the Philadelphia Zoo for a fun-filled "Blue at the Zoo."
The philanthropic achievements of our associates earned Hersha Marriott's Spirit to Serve Award in 2015. The award honors Marriott partners that demonstrate extraordinary associate engagement to ensure that their communities are healthier, more vibrant, and more prosperous as a direct result of their hotels' efforts.
Since 2011, we have donated enough soap to produce over 350,000 new bars to families in need.
Community is one of Hersha's core values and we have a long tradition of social responsibility and community engagement. This tradition began with Hersha's founders, and continues today with the EarthView program. As a company with hotels across the U.S., we engage in community stewardship that spans both here and abroad. In 2015, Hersha supported over 115 organizations.
This focus on community stewardship is important to our guests, investors, and business partners who would like to ensure they engage with corporate citizens that uphold ethical standards and values, and operate in a way that is beneficial to the communities in which they operate. In 2015, Hersha launched an Autism Awareness Campaign in collaboration with Autism Speaks. Through this campaign, supported by our hotels, corporate offices, and thousands of guests nationwide, we were able to donate over $90,000 for the research and awareness of Autism.
In 2012, we developed a corporate philanthropy program with a designated committee that convenes monthly. Through this program, we have identified specific areas of philanthropy where we can have the most impact including community stewardship, education, and the arts.
In 2015, we began a partnership with the Germination Project, a Philadelphia-based non-profit that aims to provide young leaders with opportunities to develop their skills and energize their ambitions. In September, Hersha hosted a trip for the 14 high school fellows to the New York Stock Exchange as an opportunity for them to learn about the stock exchange and global markets.
We continue to embrace our ongoing partnerships with organizations such as United Way, Cornell University, and the AH&LA Educational Foundation as well as fostering business practices that promote the public good.
We are proud to continue our partnership with Clean the World, the not-for-profit organization that collects partially used soaps and other hygiene amenities from our hotels. Clean the World sanitizes these items and distributes new bars of soap to communities around the world where the leading causes of death include hygiene related diseases, particularly in children. In 2015, we donated 21,000 pounds of soap and bottled amenities to Clean the World, which translates to over 58,000 new bars of life-saving soap distributed to children and families in need.
EarthView launched a private label water bottle sold at our hotels that is made from 100% recycled material and is 100% recyclable. For each bottle purchased by a guest, we donate $1 to clean water projects around the world. We beta tested the program in 2014 and in 2015, rolled it out to 10 of our hotels. We raised over $23,000 which will provide clean water to 920 people for 21 years. In 2016, we will continue to expand this program to additional hotels in our portfolio.