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CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO-Normally, high-achieving executives from CB Richard Ellis would be preparing to live up the high-life here for their annual Recognition Conference, an award perk that set up free airfare, a stay at the Hilton Los Cabos Beach and Golf Resort, food and beverages and even spa packages. Faced with the massive troubles that all companies went through in 2008, however, the company decided it that instead of taking, it would be better to give back. It has canceled the conference, and will donate 225 vacation packages to charities, including 100 of the trips to veterans from the Jacksonville-based Wounded Warrior Project.

“This is not about our company trying to save money,” Chris Ludeman, CBRE’s president of Americas brokerage, tells GlobeSt.com. “The vast majority of the expense, about 90%, has already been spent. You have to book this stuff far in advance, the only thing not bought is the airfare. A number of our top-producing professionals expressed concern that in light of the economic circumstances, and the general, pain-causing climate, they didn’t feel good enjoying several days in an exotic location while people in their communities are suffering.”

Each of the packages consist of a three-night stay at the hotel. The total cost for all the packages is “more than seven figures,” Ludeman says.

The Wounded Warrior project, a non-profit organization to honor and empower severely injured servicemen and women, was a natural fit to donate to, he says. “We’ve sent an announcement out to the company asking employees to suggest other charity organizations, and we’ve formed a committee to deal with the remaining requests. We’ll work through the applications and make a decision by the early part of February for the balance of the packages,” Ludeman says.

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