On November 9, 2016, IINE’s President and CEO Jeff Thielman, Refugee Resettlement and Employment Services Manager Ashley Wellbrock, and Community Services Case Specialist Rahmatullah Aka, participated in a “Fireside Chat” with TripAdvisor’s Human Resources team and other staff in their Needham office.
During the visit, Jeff and Ashley spoke about the Institute’s mission and work, and Rahmatullah, himself a refugee from Afghanistan, shared his personal journey with 150 TripAdvisor employees. In response, employees assembled and donated hygiene kits and interview preparation booklets and handouts to support workplace readiness.
Employees followed the November meeting by collecting 700 pounds of clothing and household items, and $750 worth of gift cards for distribution to IINE clients to cover basic needs such as food and transportation. In addition to in-kind support, the TripAdvisor Charitable Foundation generously donated $30,000 to the Institute to help sustain services to new Americans.
As part of its commitment, TripAdvisor plans to continue hosting educational events about the refugee crisis for employees, area foundations, other corporations, and local communities. By developing a meaningful way for the company, its employees, and even its customers, to support refugee relief, TripAdvisor is setting the standard for how a company should engage in social responsibility.
“We wanted to do more than just support this cause with a donation,” said Tali Golan, Head of the TripAdvisor Charitable Foundation who has visited refugee resettlement camps as part of her work. “We’re the largest online travel company in the world, and our customers span the globe. We are experiencing the largest refugee crisis since World War II. While we support a political solution to the crisis, we want to make a difference in a meaningful way and can do that globally as well as locally by supporting organizations like the International Institute of New England.”