Annual Gala

Each spring, Richard Marriott and the Marriott Foundation for People with Disabilities host a gala in Washington D.C., to celebrate Bridges successes, honor achievement and generate additional resources to do even more in the future. The event is an opportunity for business and community leaders to gather for a fun and inspiring evening while helping challenged youth to a better life.


Culminating its 25th anniversary celebration, the 2015 annual gala was attended by almost 1,000 guests and raised close to $1.6M (full press release). Congressman Paul Ryan joined the festivities as keynoter, and recognition was extended to the Stephen Garff Marriott Youth Achievement honoree, Maurice Dupree of Chicago, and Employer of the Year, Bank of America. The attached video offers a sense of the spirit of the event, and gratitude for our many partners.


The Foundation kicked off what will be a year-long celebration of its 25th anniversary at the annual Bridges Gala, held at the new Marriott Marquis Washington, DC on June 11. Hosted by Dick Marriott and co-chairs Tom Baltimore and Neal Wilson, the evening was attended by 1,000 business and community leaders and raised $1.5M in support of Bridges youth. The event recognized The Kroger Company as “Employer of the Year” and featured keynote speaker Bonnie St. John. Garrett Jones, of Cobb County, Georgia, who has used his positive energy and unparalleled determination to overcome multiple challenges and become a superstar in his workplace, was recognized as the inaugural recipient of the Stephen G. Marriott Youth Achievement Award.


June 5 was a record-breaking night as co-chairs Richard Marriott of Host Hotels and Resorts, and Bernard Tyson of Kaiser Permanente welcomed 900 guests to the 2013 Bridges Gala, and announced that $1,360,000 had been raised to transform the lives of challenged youth. TJX Companies were recognized as Employer of the Year, Tony Dungy moved the audience with his heartfelt and personal remarks, and Maria Gomez, Youth Achievement honoree, capped the evening with her story of obstacles overcome and vocational success. From start to finish a wonderful gathering, reminding all in attendance of what Bridges does and why it's so important.

Past Headliners

Past headliners have included:

  • President George H.W. Bush
  • General Colin L. Powell, USA (Retired)
  • NFL Legend Terry Bradshaw
  • First Lady Rosalyn Carter
  • Actor James Earl Jones
  • Hall of Fame Quarterback Steve Young
  • Former Washington Redskins Head Coach Joe Gibbs
  • Orioles' Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr.
  • Academy Award-winning actress Marlee Matlin
  • Super Bowl Champion Tony Dungy

Past Employers of the Year

Past Employers of the Year have included:

  • 2014 - Kroger Company
  • 2013 - TJX Companies
  • 2012 - ARAMARK
  • 2011 - Target
  • 2010 -UPS