In what may be described as the perfect homage to celebrate the picturesque beauty of the Caribbean and the home of its newly reopened Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort, Executive Chairman of Sandals Resorts International, Adam Stewart, has named the Bahamas National Trust its 2021 recipient of the Stewart Family Philanthropic Award.
Formalised in 2019 with his father – hospitality mogul, devout philanthropist, Chairman and Founder of luxury inclusive Sandals and Beaches chain of resorts, the late Gordon “Butch” Stewart – the Stewart Family Philanthropic Award recognises the efforts of persons and organisations who, for more than 10 years, have also been giving back to build and inspire Caribbean communities.
In presenting the award, Adam Stewart described the BNT as “champions for species conservation and resource protection” with their work representative of “an act of reverence to the power of nature; developing an unshakeable path towards the sustainable management of the ecosystems in [the] country.”
The Bahamas National Trust (BNT) is the first environmental organisation of its kind in The Bahamas, serving as a national environmental watchdog since 1959 and providing advice to the government toward the sustainable development of the country.
As the national park management agency for the country, the BNT operates across the islands of Andros, Abaco, Exuma Cays, mainland Exuma, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama, and Inagua, covering over two million acres of land and sea. In addition to park management, the organisation also engages in research, habitat restoration, and educational outreach reaching thousands of people each year.
Over the years, the Stewart family’s personal philanthropic efforts and the charitable work of the Sandals Foundation has been a vehicle for sustainable transformation in the Caribbean.
The annual award recognises the network of partners and stakeholders who also help make change happen.
In accepting the award, Executive Director at Bahamas National Trust, Eric Carey noted, “I’m honoured to accept the Stewart Family Philanthropic Award on behalf of the BNT. We are very grateful and would like to thank the Stewart family for recognising our important work in education, community and the environment. We would also like to thank the Sandals Foundation for their commitment to conservation and protecting the natural resources of The Bahamas and The Caribbean. The Sandals Foundation has proven to be a committed friend and steward of the environment, and we cannot thank them enough for their help in advancing the work of the BNT.”
The BNT’s National Conchservation campaign stands as one of its most notable efforts to raise awareness around the depleting Bahamian conch fishery which represent the national food and a true Bahamian specialty. The campaign helped to build momentum and inspired nationals to employ more sustainable habits in order to save the conch industry.
Currently, the BNT is collaborating with the Sandals Foundation to, among other things, develop the island’s first primary level environmental curriculum to support students and educators.
In 2020, Joseph Wright (a.k.a. “Papa Joe”), Executive Director of Great Shape! Inc, was virtually presented with the coveted award by Adam Stewart on behalf of the Stewart family for his selfless dedication to providing services including dental care, eye care, literacy, computer training and equipment across the Caribbean. And in 2019, Heidi Clarke, Executive Director of the Sandals Foundation, was honoured as the first ever recipient of the Stewart Family Philanthropic Award for her decade-long service and dedication to the Sandals Foundation.
Current and future recipients of The Stewart Family Philanthropic Award must exemplify:
Dedication to improving the lives of others, carving out success and creating real change.
Promotion of positive environmental and social transformation.
Breaking out from the norm, thinking, and doing different in order to serve his or her fellow Caribbean citizens.
Transforming the power of a program idea into action, impacting entire communities.
Providing opportunity to underrepresented, poor, and marginalised youth, playing an integral role in changing the lives of Caribbean children and families.
Evidence of meaningful contributions to the non-profit sector and significant achievements in his or her field, and/or the service sector.
Ability to build and use organisational infrastructure to increase mission and community impact.
A minimum of 10 years of experience serving others to create lasting change in the Caribbean and beyond.