Distinguished expert in retail commerce and hospitality known for his passion for philanthropy, — Des Hague has been a keen supporter of numerous fundraising efforts and personally initiated the collection of more than 100 million dollars in total to contribute to numerous not-for-profit agencies and projects. A substantial part of the contributions was made possible through “Centerplate Promise”, a global program that Hague launched during his tenure as Chief Executive Officer and President with the events and hospitality services company Centerplate. The declared goal of the far-reaching initiative was the support of charitable projects in over 350 communities where Centerplate staff work and live, with a special focus on fighting child homelessness across the United States.
One of the many beneficiaries of Centerplate Promise was United Way of St. Joseph County, a non-profit organization based in South Bend, Indiana, that creates opportunities for residents by providing them with education, income, and health. Hague and Centerplate sought support from locals by giving away free food samples during a series of hockey games, asking visitors for voluntary donations in exchange, which went directly to United Way.
The unorthodox fundraising campaign worked so well that Centerplate applied the same principle to various stadiums and arenas in cities all over Europe and the United States, including San Francisco, San Diego, Baltimore, and New Orleans, where Centerplate employees collected money to support Juma Ventures, a San-Francisco based not-for-profit that helps young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to find suitable side jobs. “Juma places students in jobs that allows them to work around their school schedule,” explains Des Hague. “This gives them a chance to gain life experience, save money for educational expenses, and take advantage of Juma’s support network that guides them through challenging situations and decisions. At the same time they can follow their academic careers, which will ultimately turn them into independent and responsible young adults.”
In Baltimore, the program’s efforts had been so effective, that the city honored Centerplate in 2013, when Hague accepted a Business Recognition Award from the city’s mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who thanked him for the company’s outstanding commitment to improving the quality of life in the local community. Together with The Journey Home and United Way of Central Maryland, more than $1.3 million dollars has been raised since 2010, which were used to operate emergency shelters, and finance an employment program as well as a children’s coordinator program, which tends to the social and academic needs of children accommodated in the shelters.
Serving as the CEO and President at Centerplate Inc. from 2009 to 2014, Des Hague managed more than 40,000 employees and led the company through the global recession, doubling its profits while competitors were impacted significantly by the economic decline. Known for his relentless commitment to environmental sustainability, his passion for community building, and his dedication to reach out to underserved populations, Hague has touched and improved countless lives. He continuously strives to find ways to make a long-lasting, positive impact on people in cities and communities across the country and has recently pledged to double down his former goal of 100 million dollars by employing Crowdfunding among other innovative programs.
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