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Marriott International on course to raise over 920,000 USD (6.1 million RMB) for Yao Foundation to support underprivileged Chinese youth

November 13, 2017 Responsible Tourism No Comments Email Email

Marriott International’s partnership with Yao Foundation has raised over 920,000 USD (6.1 million RMB) from the gala dinners that took place in three different cities in the Mainland to ease the plight of underprivileged schoolchildren in rural China. Marriott Worldwide Business Councils, Greater China’ hosted charity gala dinners in Shenzhen, Beijing and Shanghai in late October and early November. All net proceeds generated from ticket sales and the galas’ charity auctions will fund Marriott-Yao Foundation Hope Primary Schools in less developed regions in China.

Yao Foundation was established in 2008 by former basketball player Yao Ming – the first overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft, an eight-time NBA all-star, and a 2016 NBA Hall of Fame inductee – following the massive earthquake that devastated parts of China’s Sichuan province. The foundation mainly focuses on the well-being and development of Chinese youth, primarily with regards to education, health, environmental protection, volunteerism and engagement. Marriott and Yao Foundation have been working together since 2013 to support rural education. By the end of 2016, Marriott International had donated 7.5 million RMB to the project and completed the reconstruction of two primary schools in Sichuan province and one in Guizhou province, with another four schools in the pipeline.

“We are delighted to have this chance to work with Yao Foundation to bring educational opportunities to China’s rural children.  As the largest hotel group in the world, Marriott International is not just about opening new hotels; what we care about is building – building people, building economies and building communities,” said Craig S. Smith, President and Managing Director of Marriott International Asia Pacific.

“We’re very proud of what we have achieved with Yao Ming and our partnership reflects Marriott’s core value of serving our world. The results are also aligned with our new social impact and sustainability platform ‘Serve 360’, where we do good in every direction, including empowering the needy through creating opportunities.  Marriott International will continue to help Yao Foundation to better the lives of schoolchildren in China,” Craig continued.

Guests at this year’s black tie dinners enjoyed three different themes – ‘Expect the Unexpected’ in Shanghai; ‘Hollywood Night’ in Shenzhen and ‘Black & White Night’ in Beijing. In total, more than 1,750 guests attended the dinners which all took place in Marriott properties.

At the gala dinners, J.W. Marriott, Jr., Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board of Marriott International, expressed his gratitude to everyone in attendance via a video message. “There are now three Hope Schools and the fourth is on the way. These schools not just change the life of underprivileged children but also assisting families and communities there. Helping children and communities is important to me and my family, and it acts our core value on ‘Putting People First’,” said J.W Marriott, Jr.

Debbie Harrison, Global Officer, Marriott Culture & Business Councils, also told guests during a real-time video call how much she appreciated the Yao Foundation for their vision and also thanked Marriott’s associates who work so hard to improve their communities.

“We are grateful and appreciative of all the support from Marriott International for funding education and sports programs for children in rural China over the past few years. Marriott’s commitment to building seven new schools brings hope and has the power to effect tremendous change to children’s lives. Marriott International brings together their business partners, guests and associates for this charity project, and this is what makes it as a good role model in promoting corporate social responsibility and rendering support to local communities,” said Yao Ming.

Highlights of the charity dinner:

Honorable guests witness the special moment on stage when Craig S. Smith, President and Managing Director of Marriott International Asia Pacific, presents the check to Yao Ming

‘Expect the Unexpected’ in Shanghai – 3 November, 2017

The evening was centered on a creative theme ‘Expect the Unexpected’ at W Shanghai The Bund. Jointly hosted by 91 Marriott International hotels in East China Business Council across 22 cities covering 17 brands, these gala events greeted 900 attendees including corporate guests and individual sponsors. Guests enjoyed splendid live entertainment and a delightful dining experience crafted by the Marriott culinary team. The gala raised 3.89 million RMB – a record breaking donation from one night.

Henry Lee, Chief Operations Officer and Managing Director of Marriott International Greater China (3rd left) with the team present the check to Ye Li, Management Committee Member of Yao Foundation (2nd left)

Black and White Night in Beijing – 27 October, 2017

The Black Tie Charity Gala Dinner was supported by 57 Marriott hotels from North China Business Council in Beijing, Tianjin sub-council, Shandong sub-council and Northeast Sub-council. Over 550 guests enjoyed the event which kicked off with a cocktail reception, followed by an exquisite dinner, dance performance, lucky draw, live auction and silent auction. The event raised 1.34 million RMB.

Stephen Ho, Chief Executive Officer, Marriott International Greater China (left), presents a check to Ye Dawei, Executive Director of the Yao Foundation.

‘Hollywood Night’ in Shenzhen – 1 November, 2017

Jointly organized by a cluster of 54 Marriott Hotels in Shenzhen, Guangzhou, other cities in Guangdong and Hainan, a gala dinner with the theme ‘Hollywood Night’ was held in The St. Regis Shenzhen. There were 300 corporate guests and individual sponsors attending the gala dinner, including Mr. Stephen Ho, Chief Executive Officer, Greater China Marriott International; Mr. Duke Nam, Area Vice President, South China Marriott International; Mr. Jakob Helgen, Area Vice President, Hong Kong, Macao, Shenzhen and Hainan Marriott International; Mr. Richard Taffs, Vice President of Operation, Greater China Marriott International and celebrity Mr. Michael Wong.  The gala raised a total of 875,829 RMB to further support educational projects for underprivileged children in rural China.

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