The operator of Casa Del Mar and Shutters On The Beach Hotels was among the 11 Community Support honorees recognized by the Westside Shelter and Hunger Coalition (WSHC) at its 14th annual Success Breakfast on September 25. [Santa Monica Mirror, October 1-7, 2009] ETC Hotels, the new brand name for the Edward Thomas Collection, has a history of involvement with Coalition member Chrysalis that goes back to approximately 1992, when each organization came to Santa Monica.
Nonprofit Chrysalis describes its dedication as “helping economically disadvantaged and homeless individuals become self-sufficient through employment opportunities.” Its concentration on assisting people to become more employable had already proven successful in downtown Los Angeles when it was considering an expansion to Santa Monica in about 1992. At the same time, ETC President and COO Tim DuBois was introduced to Chrysalis by a member of his church who did volunteer work for the nonprofit.
DuBois was then involved in launching Shutters On The Beach Hotel in what was then a somewhat dicey neighborhood at the foot of Pico Boulevard, and so his interest in Santa Monica’s homeless population was not only a matter of social responsibility but also involved “a business solutions point of view,” as he explains it. “Chrysalis is one of the singular agencies that breaks the cycle of poverty,” he says, “and that means getting [homeless persons] a job.” It’s the “teach them to fish and you’ve fed them forever” analogy, DuBois notes.
DuBois and ETC became involved in Chrysalis; he joined the agency’s board of directors – and chaired the board from 2003 to 2007 – and the hotelier took an active role in the work of the nonprofit.
Today, ETC caters three holiday parties each year for people served by Chrysalis, and it hosts the annual graduation of the Chrysalis Women’s Empowerment Program. But more importantly, ETC hires the people served by Chrysalis.
The nonprofit has what it calls a “social enterprise business unit” that provides transitional jobs as a stepping-stones to the working world. Chrysalis Works is a professional street maintenance service that provides skills and experience in maintenance and recycling, and Chrysalis Staffing is a temporary staffing agency that enables people to reenter the job market through short- and long-term temporary work assignments. The first operation contracts with business improvement districts, including ones in Culver City, North Hollywood, and the downtown L.A. historic district; it has recently been hired by Santa Monica’s Bayside District to provide additional maintenance services downtown.
ETC Hotels hires through Chrysalis Staffing when “we have a need in our hotels for special work” such as major events or other occasions requiring special staffing, says COO DuBois. Even apart from the “social reward” from using Chrysalis Staffing, it “makes business sense,” says DuBois, as “Chrysalis is a reliable supplier of people to perform the work,” he explains.
On top of all that, Chrysalis President and CEO Mark Loranger appreciates the support that ETC has given the nonprofit in the community at large. “ETC Hotels has also been our advocate in the community through the years,” he says, “as they have told other hotels and businesses in Santa Monica about the good work we do.”
But it’s not all a one-way street. Tim DuBois told the Mirror, “I get more out of Chrysalis than they get out of me.”