Harris Rosen- A Pillar of Philanthropy

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Rosen Plaza is part of the Rosen Hotel and Resorts group, owned by philanthropist Harris Rosen. A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be invited to stay at the Rosen Plaza in Orlando. With over 6,300 guestrooms, it is the largest privately owned hotel company in Central Florida. What I got there was not only a wonderfully rejuvenating experience but a look at their vast philanthropy program. Mr. Rosen’s passion for giving back to the community has significantly impacted the Orlando area. He is fueled by the belief that giving back is simply ‘the right thing to do’ and he sure does do it!

A Peek Into Harris Rosen

Mr. Rosen graduated from the Cornell School of Hotel Administration and from there began his journey in the hospitality industry. He first worked at the Waldorf Astoria in New York, like his father and then took a few years off to serve his country in the US Army. Following his return, he joined Disney Company and was an instrumental part of the planning of the Contemporary Resort Hotel and the Polynesian Village Hotel. Four years later in 1974, Harris Rosen purchased his first hotel. Over the next 40 years, Rosen would go on to expand his hotel group and create an incredible organization who not only serves the community but invests in it.

The Harris Rosen Foundation

After an incredible amount of success, Harris Rosen wanted to share his blessings and good fortune with others. The purpose of his foundation is to help underserved communities, by providing education, hope, relief and other positive growth opportunities. He also works in conjunction with other philanthropy organizations and hopes to inspire the inception of other foundations who share a similarly positive mission. 

Donations Given By The Harris Rosen Foundation

  • In 1992, Mr. Rosen helped to save the aquatic center by enlisting celebrities, organizations and gathering donations to help preserve the many programs available today. The YMCA is now thriving with two Olympic sized swimming pools. Here, professional divers, swimmers and other athletes along with children can practice and excel. He has donated millions that will help to renovate the YMCA over the next few years. 
The Harris Rosen Aquatic Center YMCA unveiling. People pulling a tarp off of the new sign
  • In 2011, the foundation donated $100,000 to the victims of the Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan.
  • The Harris Rosen Foundation has aided the victims of hurricanes in North Carolina and Houston Texas. 
  • In 2019, the foundation donated 12 million dollars to advance research in brain cancer immunology treatments and health care at UF health. This donation also secured a partnership for the development for novel brain tumor treatments.
    • Brain tumor research holds a special place in the heart of Mr. Rosen, as he lost his son, Adam (26) to Gliomatosis Cerebri, a central nervous system tumor. In his son’s honor, Rosen started the Adam Michael Rosen Foundation which donates to and supports those affected by the disease. You can contribute to the foundation at The Adam Michael Rosen Foundation
Adam Michael Rosen Foundation Wing at UF focusing on Neurological Tumor Research

Philanthropy In Haiti

For the last decade The Harris Rosen Foundation has been helping the people of Haiti achieve a higher quality of life. The foundation has contributed to the country through supply drives, water filtration systems and the reconstruction of homes.  One of the largest problems that the people of Haiti face is access to clean water. In order to combat this, the foundation hosted a gala that raised enough funds to supply 250 water filtration systems to hospitals, schools, and orphanages across Haiti.  

Mr. Rosen standing with new homeowners in Haiti in front of their house

To help rebuild homes after the destructive Hurricane Mathew in 2016, The Harris Rosen Foundation partnered with the non-profit, Food for the Poor. They built and rebuilt 105 destroyed homes. The foundation continues to work on plans for the construction of sturdier buildings. 

Mr. Rosen thanked in Haiti by a man for helping to rebuild homes

Tangelo Park Program

The Tangelo Park Program is a reformation effort financially backed by the Harris Rosen Foundation. It has transformed the formerly underserved urban neighborhood into a model community. Many services are offered in this community at no cost such as quality childcare programs, parent effectiveness training, and post-secondary education or training opportunities.

Mr. Rosen and a young female Tangelo Park student

The Tangelo Park Program has four Tangelo community organizations:

  • Tangelo Park Elementary School: provides community based day care for small children,  Head Start Program, and a Pre-Kindergarten program. The school also provides parent support services, a food pantry through Head Start, and assistance for public utilities.
  • Tangelo Park YMCA: offers educational, emotional, recreational, teen programs, summer enrichment programs, and civic activities. 
  • Tangelo Baptist Church: supports the spiritual life of the community. It also helps families with access to education and social services, as well as assisting students in succeeding in school. Standardized test prep is also available.
  • Tangelo Park Civic Association: provides information about current community events, issues, and acts as a facilitator and liaison for Tangelo Park. 

The Tangelo Park Program has made an incredible impact on the Orlando community today. It is certainly an inspiration to all others who wish to impact society in a positive way.

Tangelo Park students showing their Christmas presents in a classroom

Mr. Rosen and The Harris Rosen Foundation, along with the staff of his hotels are devoted to giving back and truly making the world a better place one community, person, place or issue at a time. His hotel staff regularly enjoy volunteering for community service. Additionally, his hotels host benefits that give to the nonprofit sector each year. Overall, Mr. Rosen is truly a pillar of philanthropy and an example of what giving back really means. 

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