Annual Gala

Each spring, Richard Marriott and his co-chair are joined by a celebrity headliner to host a major gala in Washington, D.C. On that evening we 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 an entertaining and inspiring evening while helping challenged young adults achieve a better life.

Join us for the 2020 Gala!

On June 16, 2020 Mr. Marriott and co-chair Steve King (CEO Publicis Media and COO Publicis Groupe) will be at the Marriott Marquis Washington, DC for this year’s gala evening. They would love to have you join them as we celebrate our 30th anniversary of transforming lives through the power of a job. Commitments have already come in from these companies and we hope you’ll consider adding yours to the list. Click here for details and options for participation. We’d be thrilled to have you with us in June!

For more information, please contact Samantha Notowich at (202) 719-8066 or


The 2019 Gala raised $2.09 million for Bridges - a new record! We are particularly grateful for this year's co-chair, Steve King, CEO of Publicis Media and COO of Publicis Groupe, for his leadership and support.

Award-winning singer and 'America's Got Talent' finalist, Mandy Harvey, shared her remarkable story and gave a moving performance. She demonstrates the perseverance and optimism in overcoming challenges that Bridges hopes to inspire in its participants. Sodexo was recognized as Employer of the Year, and Jamethia Cook was honored as our Stephen G. Marriott Youth Achievement Award recipient. Jamethia, whose hard work over multiple years has allowed her to achieve her dream of becoming a pastry chef, reminded all of us why we do what we do. Together, these honorees showcased the possibilities an individual can achieve when they receive support and mentorship. Watch the highlights here.


The 2018 Bridges Gala raised over $2 million--including almost $80,000 during 'text-to-pledge'--for Bridges. We are so grateful to our co-chair, Julie Sweet, and her Accenture team for the incredible leadership and support that they lent to this year's event. They, and the 1,100 in attendance, made it an evening we won't soon forget.

We recognized Delaware North, 2018 Employer of the Year, and were treated to a lively conversation with award winning journalist, Cokie Roberts. The high point of the evening was meeting the Stephen G. Marriott Youth Achievement honoree Oscar Garcia. Oscar brought the room to its feet with his story of perseverance and achievement in the face of challenge. Watch the highlights here.

Bridges serves 1,000 other individuals like Oscar every year--individuals who ask nothing more than an opportunity to show what they have to offer. We hope you'll plan to join us on June 11, 2019 when we'll gather again to celebrate the ways that lives can be transformed through the power of a job.


The June 2017 recording-setting Bridges Gala raised over $1.9 million for Bridges, including over $90,000 contributed through the text-to-pledge initiative during dinner. We are grateful to all of the generous sponsors.

Arne Sorenson, President and Chief Executive Office of Marriott International, Inc., guided a lively conversation with our keynote speaker, Itzhak Perlman, whose accomplishments in music and life prove the power of perseverance and dedication.

We were pleased to recognize Carol Brown, PhD of Roosevelt University as our 2017 Leadership Award recipient. And, as always, the Stephen G. Marriott Youth Achievement Award was the high point of the evening and given this year to Matthew Morgan - a young man from Chicago who continues to beat the odds and defy expectations. Both of our honorees demonstrated what is possible when hard work meets opportunity.


June 16, 2016 was a very special evening for Bridges. We recognized Mark Stephany as our 2016 Leadership Award recipient and heard from keynote speaker Sugar Ray Leonard, who reflected on his triumphs in the boxing ring and how they are not much different than the triumphs of the young adults served by Bridges - once they have the opportunity to succeed.

As usual, the Stephen G. Marriott Youth Achievement Award honoree created the high point of the evening. Steven Chew - a young man who has been a part of the Bridges program since 2013 and who continues to achieve great success after overcoming great obstacles - reminded all of us of why we do what we do. Together, these speakers showcased the possibilities that can be achieved when we work together to provide opportunity to those who might otherwise be overlooked. The attached video offers a brief glimpse of the evening's festivities.

We raised a record $1.6 million for Bridges, setting us up to do even more as we look forward to the year ahead!


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 was 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:

  • Iconic Violin Virtuoso Itzhak Perlman
  • Olympic Gold Medalist and Boxing Legend Sugar Ray Leonard
  • Super Bowl Champion Tony Dungy
  • Academy Award-winning actress Marlee Matlin
  • 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.

Award Presentations

Past awardees have included:

  • 2018 - Delaware North - Employer of the Year
  • 2017 - Carol Brown, PhD, Roosevelt University - Leadership Award
  • 2016 - Mark Stephany, VP, Kellogg's Specialty Channels - Leadership Award
  • 2015 - Bank of America - Employer of the Year
  • 2014 - Kroger Company - Employer of the Year
  • 2013 - TJX Companies - Employer of the Year
  • 2012 - ARAMARK - Employer of the Year
  • 2011 - Target - Employer of the Year
  • 2010 -UPS - Employer of the Year