November 8, 2011; Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle | Some of us regular travelers occasionally grab those little unused soap bars to donate to homeless shelters as a matter of individual social responsibility. There is also an Atlanta-based project, the Global Soap Project, that collects and recycles partially used and unused soap into new bars for distribution to developing countries. Now, with $1.3 million from Hilton Worldwide, the global Soap Project is taking a big step forward in terms of productivity and scope.

Founded just two years ago, the Global Soap Project began in the basement of the husband and wife team of Derrek and Sarah Kayongo, who began processing unused and partially used soap bars for refugee camps and other sites where there was a danger of disease due to inadequate sanitation. In this short period of time, the Global Soap Project has provided more than 25 tons of soap to countries such as Haiti, South Sudan, Uganda, and Afghanistan.

The deal with Hilton is intended to generate 1 million four-ounce bars of soap. As a part of the investment agreement on with Hilton, Hilton will take a seat on the Global Soap Project board of directors. The Hilton investment provides an important potential boost to the Project, especially if the deal includes a partnership with all of the Hilton properties, not simply the Hilton Worldwide hotels. The Hilton firm owns more than 3,750 hotels and timeshare properties, with 615,000 rooms in 85 countries, under such names as Hampton Inns, Embassy Suites, and Doubletree.

Unless we’re missing something here, this looks like a good nonprofit and a good corporate investment.—Rick Cohen