By Mark Tullis | Posted - Apr 19th, 2023





Dónde and Monticello Academy Give Teachers Cash to Fund Vacations

Monticello Academy, a charter school founded in West Valley City, Utah has partnered with Dónde, the vacation savings and recognition platform based in Salt Lake City, to become the first school in the nation to offer its teachers cash —$2,100 annually— toward vacation.

The nation's education system experienced immense pressure and change during the pandemic and through transitions to remote work and then back to in-person. Teachers are experiencing pandemic fatigue, says Monticello Academy, which is echoed by other studies and reports. U.S News indicated last summer that educators reported the highest level of burnout among all industries. A Gallup study found that 44% of K-12 educators either “always” or “very often” feel burned out at work. 

At the same time, the travel industry experienced high inflation causing travel costs to soar by up to 36% this year. As a result, 56% of Americans report they don’t believe they can afford to vacation. But 91% of employees view travel and vacations as critically important to their overall happiness, according to Amex Trendex, a monthly trend report from American Express

By partnering with Dónde, Monticello Academy employees can build up personal funds alongside Monticello’s generous travel reward. Through Dónde they have access to exclusive deals and personal travel planning services that take the stress out of the logistics of vacation. 

“We love empowering our teachers to travel meaningfully each year," says Dane Roberts, Executive Director of Monticello Academy. "We have a big emphasis on history and geography in our curriculum, so offering travel funds as an employee benefit has serious mission alignment. We also hope that this benefit helps us differentiate, while attracting and retaining the best people.” 

While many companies pull back on benefit spending as fears of a recession linger, recession resistant industries like education are doubling down and investing heavily in their employees to incent them to stay. 

Rilee Buttars, Founder and CEO of Dónde, was thrilled to partner with Monticello Academy, stating: 

“People working in the education system matter. Teachers matter. Administrators matter. The last few years have brought unprecedented challenges for that industry, and many have been forced to grapple with workplace burnout and fatigue. Teachers deserve to do something special with their breaks. We are excited to work with organizations like Monticello Academy who understand the value of diverse experiences, and make those experiences accessible to employees.” 

Dónde helps employees and employers by streamlining “travel as a work benefit.” The Dónde platform, a category-creating first platform of this type, enables companies to auto-match, bonus, and reward their employees for PTO travel. Employees can save into the travel savings account and book travel in Dónde's proprietary marketplace. To further lower the barrier to travel, users also have access to an experienced travel planner.

While the talent war continues, strategic moves such as offering vacation stipends are becoming a cost-effective and sustainable way for employers to stand out. The future of talent acquisition and retention may be less about offering the highest salary. It’s more likely about offering benefits that resonate with the organizational mission and personal goals of the modern day employee. 

Mark Tullis
About the Author

Mark Tullis - Mark is Co-founder and Editor of TechBuzz News. Born and raised in Ogden, Utah, Mark attended Weber State, Brigham Young, and Tufts Universities. He has been involved in tech, media, publishing and education since the 1980s. He enjoys spending time with his family, hiking, and playing the saxophone.



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