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.

2016

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! Click here for a list of our 2016 sponsors.

2015

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.

2014

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