Marriott International is filling a tall order to help support educational programs for children in rural areas of China. The hotel company has partnered with former professional basketball player Yao Ming and has signed a new three-year agreement to donate $800,000 to the Yao Foundation, a charity organization established in 2008 to promote the all-round development of Chinese youth by providing them the opportunities to improve their education, sports skills, health, and self-esteem.
“Marriott International has a heritage of putting people first and opening doors to a world of opportunity for its guests, partners and associates,” said Simon Cooper, president and managing director of Marriott International Asia. “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.”
The donation will help the Yao Foundation establish three Project Hope schools in the Southwestern region of China. The money will also go towards supporting the Yao Foundation Hope Primary School basketball season program in 2014 and 2015.
The first of the schools to benefit from the Marriott funding will be the Yong Shou Primary School in Shi Dong County, Sichuan Province. The money will rebuild one of the academic buildings, originally built in 1989, to meet the earthquake resistance criteria.
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.”