ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 18, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Wyndham Vacation Ownership (WVO), the world's largest vacation ownership company and a member of the Wyndham Worldwide family of companies (NYSE: WYN), was awarded the 2016 Heart of Florida United Way Award for "Outstanding Philanthropic Corporation" by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Central Florida Chapter. This recognition is awarded to the corporation or corporate foundation that prioritizes philanthropy in the Central Florida community and is instrumental in encouraging others to be involved.
"We are truly honored to be recognized with the "Outstanding Philanthropic Award" from the Association of Fundraising Professionals," said Franz Hanning, president and chief executive officer at Wyndham Vacation Ownership. "At Wyndham, strengthening our communities and making a positive difference in the lives of others defines who we are as a company. Among our core values is our relentless commitment to improve the world around us, and we encourage all associates to support the communities where they live and work. I am incredibly proud of our passionate, engaged associates who are responsible for bringing to life our Count On Me! service culture each and every day." WVO was nominated for this award by the leadership team at Shepherd's Hope - a nonprofit organization that provides free medical care to the uninsured and underinsured men, women and children in Central Florida. Since 2010, WVO has actively supported Shepherd's Hope through volunteer service and donations, notably serving as a presenting sponsor at the annual Shepherd's Hope Celebrity Golf Classic. The event has generated more than $1 million over the years to provide nearly 12,000 individuals with medical care they would not otherwise have been able to receive. "It is sincerely our honor to have nominated Wyndham Vacation Ownership in recognition for their exceptional philanthropic spirit," said Marni Stahlman, president/CEO of Shepherd's Hope. "The company's service to our community comes through a whole-hearted team effort that is visible with countless volunteer hours and service to hundreds of nonprofit organizations including Shepherd's Hope." This year, Wyndham Vacation Ownership celebrates its 50 th anniversary and paramount in the brand's legacy has been its commitment to give back. In Central Florida, WVO remains committed to enhancing the community through sustained corporate social responsibility and the support of organizations that make vacation dreams come true for families. Since 2009, WVO has supported SeriousFun Children's Network camps, which provide a carefree, nurturing physically safe and medically sound setting for children with serious illnesses to experience the magic of camp. WVO maintains a strong relationship with Camp Boggy Creek in Eustis, Florida, and associates frequently volunteer, provide in-kind donations and participate in annual fundraising events. Last year, WVO donated more than $80,000 to Camp Boggy Creek and thousands more in volunteer hours and in-kind donations. Throughout the past year alone, WVO donated $73,000 and dedicated countless volunteer hours with hundreds of associates at Give Kids the World (GKTW) Village - a 79-acre, non-profit "storybook" resort in Kissimmee, Florida for families with children facing life-threatening illnesses. In 2014, the company played an integral role in the Give Kids the World (GKTW) "Extreme Village Makeover" where 400 WVO associates supported the initiative, renovating 88 villas with new paint, flooring, kitchens and baths, furniture, electrical, recycling materials and more. The initiative earned WVO recognition as the ACE Outstanding Philanthropic Corporation by the American Resort Development Association (ARDA). As part of the company's philanthropic commitment, WVO associates are offered one day of paid-time-off annually for community service known as a "Wish Day," allowing them the chance to give back to their local area. Last year, 6,886 WVO associates donated more than 36,000 volunteer hours.