Marriott and Yao Foundation pair up for youth education

Source:Global Times Published: 2017/11/9 16:23:40

Chief Operations Officer and Managing Director of Marriott International Greater China Henry Lee and Yao Ming at the charity gala dinner Photo: Courtesy of the Marriott North China Business Council

The 2017 Marriott Yao Foundation Charity Gala Dinner in Beijing raised 1,340,802.56 yuan ($202,492) on October 27. The funds will be used to educate youth in underdeveloped areas in China.

Themed "black and white" and jointly hosted by the Marriott North China Business Council and the Yao Foundation, the event kicked off at Renaissance Beijing Capital Hotel with a cocktail reception. An exquisite dinner, dance performance, lucky draw and live and silent auctions followed. The gala attracted more than 550 guests and was supported by 57 hotels under the Marriott North China Business Council.

Chief Operations Officer and Managing Director of Marriott International Greater China Henry Lee told Metropolitan that the partnership between Marriott and the Yao Foundation is based on shared values. "Our intention to partner up starts from our core values, and Marriott's 'Putting People First' culture shares similar values with Yao Foundation's 'Education through Physical Activities,'" he said.

Marriott is ceaseless in its drive to serve the community, which makes the Marriott team proud of the company and its culture, according to Lee.

"I believe a company with such values is definitely able to deliver long-term positive energy to the society," he said. "Meanwhile, Yao Ming started the foundation, aiming to gather resources and improve the education in rural areas. We admire that, and since Yao is the pride of China, we trust him and his team and believe they will do it well."

The partnership started as early as 2013 and is aimed at developing the physical education programs in rural China. The two bodies have signed two consecutive "three-year plans" since then. By the end of 2016, Marriott had donated 7.5 million yuan to build three Project Hope primary schools in the Sichuan and Guizhou provinces and sponsor the Hope School Basketball Season. By 2017, 720,000 students from 447 rural schools had participated in the basketball project.

Lee said that Marriott would fulfill its commitment and complete its donation of 13 million yuan by 2018. The funds will be used to build seven Project Hope primary schools and sponsor the 2014 to 2018 basketball seasons.

Lee added that the partnership will evolve in the future and more creative ideas will be brought into the partnership.

It has been a tradition for Marriott to hold a charity golf tournament and a charity gala dinner for the foundation every year. But this year, through a "Run to Give" charity run, the events were upgraded, extending to a greater public where employees and community members could participate. Another fundraising event is the basketball carnival that will be held by Marriott in Shanghai soon.

"Our partnership is valuable and pleasant. We share similar values, and our resources are well connected," Lee said. "After years of cooperation, the Marriott team and the Yao Foundation team are working and communicating closely with each other. We all say that we are one family now."


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