Choice Hotels International has expanded its “Your Community, Your Choice: Local Business Grant Program” to include 10 grants of $5,000 to franchisees with qualifying community outreach programs. The company is doubling the program in terms of numbers of recipients and grant money awarded.

TO RECOGNIZE AND support hotel owners’ community service efforts during the pandemic, Choice Hotels International will provide $50,000 in grants. The money will go to the recipients’ choice for local outreach programs.

Originally launched in 2019, Choice’s “Your Community, Your Choice: Local Business Grant Program” will award $5,000 grants to 10 winning franchisees, helping them to make a positive impact in their community. The program will help its hotel owners further their longstanding commitment to caring for the communities outside their hotel doors, the company said.

“Our franchisees and their hotel staff are always serving their communities as well as their guests, and over the past year they have truly exemplified the concept of ‘service’ beyond the hotel and into the local community — including everything from making masks for healthcare workers to providing rooms and meals to the most vulnerable,” said Patrick Pacious, Choice’s president and CEO. “To commend their unwavering commitment to community, especially amid these unprecedented circumstances, we are honoring them again with the ‘Your Community, Your Choice’ grant program and doubling the contribution and winners.”

Initiatives that will be considered for the grant include those supporting people who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic; rebuilding communities affected by natural disasters; caring for those less fortunate with food or clothing drives; mentoring youth or young professionals; promoting sustainability; honoring local heroes and supporting other local businesses or organizations, such as schools and parks, Choice Hotels said.

The deadline to apply for the grant is Sept.24. Winners will be announced Oct. 21.

In April last year, Choice Hotels conducted a program to provide mattresses to medical facilities under its “Stay Home, Send Beds” initiative, along with Serta Inc. The company support the International Franchise Association’s Franchising Gives Back program, which provides education, resources and direct financial support to small businesses and local non-profit partners across the country. It also partners with the American Red Cross and Operation Homefront, which provides housing to military families.

Other community support programs implemented by Choice include its Room to be Green program, which aims to reduce the company’s carbon footprint, and partnering with Clean the World to recycle discarded soap and shampoo from hotels so that they can be distributed to people in need around the world.

Choice Hotels has more than 7,100 hotels, representing over 600,000 rooms, in nearly 40 countries and territories.