For decades, the US government has been trying to eliminate homelessness across many states of the nation – the phenomena that has become one of the most urging examples of social crisis of the 21st century. A recent report by the National Alliance to End Homelessness concluded that on a single night in January 2015, 564,708 people had to sleep outside, in the streets, or were placed in shelters and transitional housing programs. Baltimore is no exception to the nationwide homelessness, with an estimated 3,000 people homeless on the streets of the city, many of whom are families with children. Feeling particularly passionate about the cause, acclaimed inspirational speaker and hospitality leader, — Des Hague has made it his mission to support charities in a variety of cities across the country, and in Baltimore these efforts focus on reintegrating the homeless with society.
Hague is credited with founding a program known as the “Centerplate Promise,” during his tenure as CEO and President of Centerplate, the fastest-growing hospitality group in North America. He established the program to support communities in which his employees work and live. Within the larger umbrella, individual programs were designed and tailored according to the specific needs of the community in question. As a result, Hague and Centerplate Promise became principal sponsors of the Journey Home initiative in Baltimore.
Under the leadership of Des Hague, Centerplate staged numerous remarkable fundraising events in Baltimore, for example “an Evening of Unexpected Delights,” a gala held at the city's Convention Center that raised almost $500,000 for the Journey Home. The glamorous event was only a small part of Hague’s contribution to Baltimore’s 10-year plan to eliminate homelessness in the city: “Centerplate works to enhance the communities in which we live and work. We’re extremely pleased to have helped raise over $1.3 million for the Journey Home Campaign over the past three years,” observed Hague following the gala. A number of individual projects were funded as part of the overall goal of helping the homeless, including an employment program and a children’s coordination plan to support the social and academic needs of the almost 1,000 homeless youth accommodated in the city’s shelters.
Countless other charities around the country are regularly supported as part of the Centerplate Promise program. Especially mention-worthy examples are Denver, where a number of scholarships have been awarded for the underprivileged, as well as Seattle, New Orleans, and San Francisco, where valuable funding has been provided to help at risk youth through support of the Juma Ventures program. In addition, larger not-for-profit organizations such as the St Jude’s Children’s Hospital and United Way have benefited from the philosophical initiatives and the direction of Hague.
Des Hague served as President and CEO at Centerplate Inc. between 2009 and 2014, during which time the company grew to become the largest hospitality business in North America, operating with more than 40,000 staff. Hague is renowned for focusing on delivering value for the client and restructured the company to deliver strongly along these lines, even in the face of the global recession. He has extraordinary knowledge within the food industry and has served on the board of the National Restaurant Association. Before joining Centerplate he gained experience as President of IHOP, the world’s biggest casual dining restaurant chain. Hague is widely known as a leading force in the global retail food industry and a recognized philanthropist.
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