This is a case study that's a part of the 2021 REIT Industry ESG Report, an annual report detailing the REIT industry's environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance details in the publicly traded U.S. REIT industry. Featured case studies showcase REIT leadership and ESG innovation from a variety of sectors and serve as a practical tool for stakeholders to assess the scale and impact of the REIT industry's ESG commitments and initiatives.
In a year that halted so much of everyday life, Washington Prime Group (WPG) town centers across the country met 2020 with resilience, persistence, and compassion for guests, communities, and partners—launching leading initiatives designed to support small businesses and community organizations.
WPG town centers across the U.S. hosted more than 1,000 goodwill efforts as part of WPG Cares, an initiative where local management teams embrace their roles as community ambassadors and work with local organizations to transform town centers into spaces for social good. When stay-at-home orders shut down many town centers, WPG found ways to remain an integral part of the community, such as hosting blood drives, distributing meals for students unable to attend school, providing a drop-off location for personal PPE, setting up COVID-19 testing sites, and even hosting a socially distant high school commencement ceremony.
Upon safely reopening WPG town centers in late summer, WPG Cares continued to help with community goodwill efforts, including serving as a suitable location for voter registration, hosting socially distanced outdoor community events, offering free drive-in movies and music concerts in parking lots, providing complimentary meals to local heroes including hospital workers, and providing drive-thru sites for the community to donate and distribute food, clothing, and personal items for individuals and families in need.
"At Washington Prime Group, we believe in what we can accomplish together and embrace opportunities to improve our communities, the lives of our colleagues, and the environment. Our town centers serve as gathering places within the community, which is why sustainability is an essential part of what we do every day."
Cheryl VanPatten, Senior Vice President, Chief Information Officer, and Chair of WPG's ESG Steering Committee
In early 2021, WPG town centers are serving as COVID-19 vaccination sites, including a formerly vacant 80,000-square-foot anchor space that is now home to a vaccination megahub at Morgantown Mall, in Morgantown, West Virginia. The megahub, established by WVU Medicine, is the first of its kind in the state and serves to vaccinate as many people as possible in North Central West Virginia.
In these instances and countless others, local management teams recognized a need in their community and felt empowered to deliver when it was needed most. WPG plans to continue its WPG Cares initiative well beyond the pandemic.
Washington Prime Group is a retail REIT and a recognized leader in the ownership, management, acquisition, and development of retail properties.