- Jan 25, 2018
The Chamber is pleased to announce the three winners of the twelfth annual Business Awards, which recognize excellence in the Northbrook business community. The award winners, each meeting its own criteria, will be recognized at the Chamber’s Annual Meeting and Dinner on February 26th.
Hilton Chicago Northbrook Receives Corporate Citizen of the Year“]The Corporate Citizen of the Year is recognized for promoting a spirit of giving and community involvement.
While being part of one of the most nationally recognized names in the hotel industry, the Hilton Chicago Northbrook is also the story of a family owned and operated business that cares about its neighbors, quietly giving back to the local community and helping individuals who are rarely in the spotlight.
The Allgauer family’s involvement in the hospitality industry in Northbrook dates back several generations. General Manager Holly Allgauer-Cir’s grandfather founded Allgauers, the original building on the property, which served as a restaurant and banquet facility from 1974 – 1984. Her father Frank Allgauer built a single hotel tower in 1984, establishing Allgauers Hotel, then a second tower in 1988, which later transitioned to the Hilton flag.
But despite its growth and brand name, the hotel has always had a special place in its heart and time for those who are often the most vulnerable and least recognized in society– youth of all ages and in particular children with special needs.
The hotel also donates brunches and overnight stays to churches and synagogues for their fundraisers, as well as other organizations that support youth such as adoption agencies and service groups. The hotel estimates the value of its nearly 150 annual donations to community causes to be around $30,000.
But the value of some of the donations has no price tag. “We support virtually any local organization that offers programs or services for children or children with special needs,” comments Holly. On any given day, amidst busy travelers checking into the hotel or executives listening to a presentation in one of its banquet rooms, children from the nearby Cove School, which serves youth with special needs, might be enjoying a pizza making session, or engaging in an activity to learn about the hotel industry.
Twice a year, the hotel opens its doors and gives Cove students a rare, firsthand opportunity to shadow the staff and learn more about the inner workings of the hotel, including explanations about all of the equipment, tours of the restaurant and the kitchen, and a chance to meet and ask questions of the hotel staff. In addition, the hotel also helps support the Cove School prom every year. “Our partnership with the Hilton Chicago Northbrook has made a significant difference in the lives of our students and stands out as a model within the community,” comments Executive Director Dr. Sally Sover. “We are deeply grateful for all that they do.”
Other students benefit as well. For students at Glenbrook North High School who are interested in the hospitality industry, the hotel offers a chance to attend a half day training session to learn more about the hotel and also gain valuable advice about resume writing and meal preparation. The hotel also sponsors and supports numerous other activities at the high school, including the business DECA club.
For the last ten years, the hotel has also donated breakfast and lunch for the prestigious Glenbrooks national debate team tournament every November, as well as help support the team’s year-end party. The hotel has also sponsored a rib-off cooking event, with all proceeds dedicated to Youth Services of Glenview/Northbrook.
Because of the hotel’s generous donation of its largest banquet area, the Chamber is able to hold its July Business Expo and After Hours, where 60 exhibitors can set up displays about their business. All hospitality at the event is provided by the hotel. Also, thanks to the hotel’s generous donation of space, the Chamber is able to sponsor a Meal Packing event, making it possible for over 250 Chamber members from 102 businesses to pack 50,000 meals for needy families last year.
But generosity doesn’t end there. Both Holly and her father Frank give of their time and serve on community boards. “Giving back to the community is a family commitment,” comments Holly. “Going back to the days when we started out as just a restaurant, we have always believed strongly in helping our neighbors.” Holly sits on the board for The Lexi Kazian Foundation Helping From Heaven, a charitable organization that is dedicated to improving the quality of life for families with children with special needs. Locally, she is currently Chair of Chicago’s North Shore Convention and Visitors Bureau board, and also serves on the Chamber board.
Holly also points out that Hilton has a global platform “Bright Blue Futures” which works to educate and offer opportunity to all youth. “Fortunately, our local efforts actually dovetail perfectly with the national initiative,” says Holly. “It’s tied in to what we are already committed to doing.”
The Hilton will donate its $500 honorarium accompanying the award to The Cove School.