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.


The 2016 Bridges Gala is scheduled for Thursday, June 16 at the Washington Marriott Marquis in Washington, DC. Hosted by Richard Marriott and 2016 co-chair, Aramark CEO Eric Foss, the evening will offer another opportunity to gather with friends and colleagues in support of this important work. Headlining this year’s event will be Olympic gold medalist and boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard. Click here to learn more or here to register to join us for the festivities. Click here for a list of 2016 sponsors to date.


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.

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:

  • 2015 - Bank of America
  • 2014 - Kroger Company
  • 2013 - TJX Companies
  • 2012 - ARAMARK
  • 2011 - Target
  • 2010 -UPS