Shanghai, CHINA – Marriott International (NYSE: MAR) today announced a three-year agreement with the Yao Foundation to support educational programmes for children in rural areas of China. The Yao Foundation is a highly regarded charity organisation established in 2008 by former professional basketball star Yao Ming under the auspices of The China Youth Development Foundation and aims to promote the all-round development of Chinese youth by providing them the opportunities to improve their education, sports skills, health and self-esteem -- www.yaofoundation.cn. [Pictured: Simon Cooper and Yao Ming officiated at the co-operation signing ceremony between Marriott International and Yao Foundation in Shanghai on June 19]
Since its founding, the Yao Foundation has helped more than 9,000 rural Chinese children who have studied at the 15 Hope Primary Schools it has funded. A building block of the Yao Foundation’s activity, the Project Hope programme aims to provide education to children aged from 6 to 14.
In addition to constructing the schools, the Yao Foundation also teaches Chinese youths basketball skills in order to help them build their sportsmanship and self-confidence by partnering with leading Chinese and multinational companies to initiate and implement a programme called “Yao Foundation Basketball Season”, which in 2012 and 2013 saw 67,000 children attend.
Under the terms of the three-year agreement, Marriott International will donate $800,000 to the Yao Foundation to establish three Project Hope schools in the Southwestern region of China. The Marriott donation will also be used to support the Yao Foundation Hope Primary School basketball season programme in 2014 and 2015.
The first of the Hope Primary schools that Marriott International will support as part of its relationship with the Yao Foundation will be the Yong Shou Primary School in Shi Dong County, Sichuan Province. The funds will be used to rebuild one of the academic buildings, originally built in 1989, to meet the earthquake resistance criteria. The Yong Shou Primary School covers three villages and one community and has a sustainable student supply with a long-term future.
Speaking at the signing ceremony at the JW Marriott Hotel Shanghai at Tomorrow Square, Simon Cooper, president and managing director of Marriott International Asia, said: “Marriott International has a heritage of putting people first and opening doors to a world of opportunity for its guests, partners and associates. The key to making this happen is education, especially for the younger generations. We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with the Yao Foundation and to make a contribution to support children’s education in China.” [Pictured: Ten media participants took part in a basketball interactive shooting game with Yao Ming and Simon Cooper at the ceremony.]
“Yao Ming is one of the most popular athletes and role models for youngsters in China. He is renowned for his tremendous support for rural communities in the country and he understands the value his influence can bring to take a leading role in society as a whole. His views and vision resonate with Marriott International’s core values. Yao’s environmental initiatives echo Marriott’s global commitment to supporting the communities we serve through our Spirit to Serve programmes. Therefore, I believe the collaboration between Marriott International and the Yao Foundation will be an extremely positive and impactful one as we more than double in size in China over the next few years to have some 140 hotels in the country.”
Commenting on the relationship with Marriott International, Yao Ming said: “I would like to express my gratitude to Marriott International for its tremendous support of the Yao Foundation and Project Hope. Marriott International is one of the world’s leading hotel companies with a rapidly growing presence in China. Its participation will call for more multinational or domestic companies to share our vision for supporting education for less advantaged children, helping them to create a bright future.”
Marriott International has been operating hotels in mainland China since 1997, and in Hong Kong since 1989 and has always managed its hotels with a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility in the communities the hotels operate in, which stems from Marriott’s vibrant corporate culture. Marriott’s growth in China will see it open on average one hotel a month for at least the next five years.
Each Marriott hotel operates a Spirit to Serve programme which supports and benefits underprivileged children in local communities, based on the key pillars of shelter and food, the environment and aiding less-advantaged children. Marriott International is very proud to belong to thousands of communities around the world, and believes that strong neighborhoods, towns, and cities are vital to the well-being of our society and its economic development.
In China - Marriott International’s second biggest market globally – the company also runs a number of corporate programmes to support the communities and environment in the country, including The Nobility of Nature programme. Nobility of Nature launched as a collaboration between Marriott, Conservation International (CI) and local community organisations to protect the headwaters of Asia’s water tower in Sichuan Province, which provides fresh water to more than two billion people and feeds several key Asian rivers, including the Yangtze. The programme also drives sustainable operations and efforts in Marriott’s China and Hong Kong hotels.
Marriott contributed $500,000 (approximately 3.4 million RMB) to support freshwater conservation by assisting rural communities with building sustainable businesses, such as bee-keeping, that protect the environment while supporting the community’s development. During the past two years, Nobility of Nature has supported two bee-farming cooperatives in Guanba Village and Yingjing County in Sichuan and nearly 6,000 local residents are participating in the project.
Marriott International also supports a number of other educational initiatives in China such as the recently announced Marriott Institute of Hospitality Education in co-operation with Anhui Zhong-Ao Institute of Technology which is aimed at developing the future generation of the hospitality workforce in China.
Marriott International, Inc. (NYSE: MAR) is a leading lodging company based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, with more than 3,800 properties in 74 countries and territories and reported revenues of nearly $12 billion in fiscal year 2012. The company operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts under 18 brands, including Marriott Hotels & Resorts, The Ritz-Carlton, JW Marriott, Bulgari, EDITION, Renaissance, Gaylord Hotels, Autograph Collection, AC Hotels by Marriott, Courtyard, Fairfield Inn & Suites, SpringHill Suites, Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites, Marriott Executive Apartments, Marriott Vacation Club, Grand Residences by Marriott and The Ritz-Carlton Destination Club. There are approximately 325,000 employees at headquarters, managed and franchised properties. Marriott is consistently recognized as a top employer and for its superior business operations, which it conducts based on five core values: put people first, pursue excellence, embrace change, act with integrity, and serve our world. For more information or reservations, please visit our website at www.marriott.com, and for the latest company news, visit www.marriottnewscenter.com
Yao Foundation is a specialized fund by Yao Ming under the auspices of The China Youth Development Foundation and aims at promoting the all-around development of Chinese youth by providing them the opportunities to improve their education, sports skills, health and self-esteem. Since Yao Foundation established, more than 9,000 Chinese rural youth have benefited from studying in the 15 Hope Primary Schools it has funded. Besides constructing the school buildings, the Yao Foundation also improves the educational experience of Chinese youth by partnering with leading Chinese and multinational companies to build libraries, computer rooms, kitchens, and sports and exercise areas in local schools. In 2012, the Yao Foundation initiates a new programme called the “Yao Foundation Hope Primary School Basketball Season.” In 2012 and 2013, the programme teaches around forty thousand Chinese youth basketball skills. More importantly, it will help them build self-confidence and learn sportsmanship which will be crucial for their development in the future. For more information about Yao Foundation, visit www.yaofoundation.cn.
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