Spirit of Giving

December 21, 2014

Bill dc central kitchen group shotEach year, I talk to a group of job trainees from Washington D.C. Central Kitchen and try to leave them with a few words of wisdom.  We recently met in our executive boardroom. It’s a far cry from the streets of the nation’s capital where many used to live. DC Central Kitchen’s mission is one that I embrace: “Combating Hunger, Creating Opportunity.” They do that by training unemployed adults for culinary careers.

In this season of giving, there’s no better feeling than helping someone less fortunate. I’ve personally focused on the terrific organizations in my hometown of Washington, D.C. I like to get involved and visit the food banks, habitat builds, free clinics and job training sites. Taking care of others was instilled in me at an early age. 

I’ve tried to bring these core values to our company and to live up to our core values by taking care of our people and providing them with opportunities to grow.

This holiday season, here are a few things our hotels do that you can get involved in as well:

  • Marriott Hotels collects hundreds of gifts for children on behalf of Toys for Tots using our lobbys as drop-off locations.
  • We partner with the Capital Area Food Bank to provide food for the hungry here in the Washington, D.C. region. A few years ago, I had the privilege of recognizing Father Eugene Brake, who has dedicated his entire life to helping the homeless and providing for those in need.  
  • Residence Inn hotels in the U.S. participate in “Holidays for Heroes” for The Red Cross. It’s a card-writing program for military service members and their families.
  • TownePlace Suites makes blankets that are delivered to Children’s National Medical Center here in Washington, D.C.
  • Fairfield Inn & Suites works with Habitat for Humanity across the country.

As I looked across the boardroom, I saw the eyes of the DC Central Kitchen trainees light up when I mentioned my kitchen jobs early in my career – I worked the deep fryer, ice cream sundae maker, and I was a soda jerk.  I’ve also washed a lot of dishes. I have been in their shoes, learning how to run a kitchen, and I loved it.  Working in a Hot Shoppes kitchen convinced me that this is what I wanted to do for a living.  It was non-stop action, chaotic, yet very rewarding especially when a customer gave you a compliment.  The kitchen was my passion, and still is.

So, what great advice did I give these trainees?  I said, “You got a lot of good recipes out there – follow them. Don’t try to be cute and freelance on the ingredients.  Follow the recipe. Don’t be too creative.” This I learned from my own experience, and the early days in our family restaurant.

How are you giving back this holiday season?  Leave me a comment. 

I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the Move.

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I used to do a lot of volunteer work with the homeless and the aged. My circumstanceshave changed for sometime . I shifted to engaging people I meet everyday and engaged them on man's intertwined need to help and be helped. I share my experience of what I am doing i.e. sharing experiences and the joy that comes with it. That by helping others I was helping myself as well as I fulfill that need to help other, I was fulfilling likewise my need to be helped. It is symbiotic. I guess, we can be creative in helping out regardless of our circumstance in life.You give out what you receive and vice versa -I call it the essence of our life cycle.

I must say that you are worthy of emulation. Being a go-getter myself, I am always amazed by people who work through the journey of life from grass to grace....

This year, not just through the holiday season, I have given back to my community in several ways. Two main ones are:
1. I have become a member of the Americorps and am serving at the Family Crisis Center.There, I teach service learning, do one-on-one youth mentoring, help youths with career and education planning and just be there for them emotionally given their situation.
2. Two years ago, I started a program called "homeless drive" I go out downtown when the temperatures are severely cold and I give out warm clothing( that I buy from the Goodwill store) and hot coffee. Sometime, if my budget permits, I buy beagles or bread and serve that with the coffee. Its on a small scale (50 coffees a night)given my financial situation but I always feel good knowing that I have placed a smile on a homeless person's face and given them some warmth.

Mr. Marriott, I am a new member of your Marriott team as of December 2,2015, and I must say that I have worked in the hotel industry for 30 years, just to get to this point in my life. I am truly grateful to be here at The Courtyard by Marriott in Richmond, California. I have been truly touched by reading some of your blogs and the fact that you are a practicing Christian, am I am. This really inspires me to a greater belief that all things work for good, for the children of God.

In response to your question as to "How are we giving back this Holiday Season?" I would like to say that I serve as Outreach Director for our church, Praise Chapel in San Francisco. This is a satisfying experience because I helped coordinate efforts from various sources in giving back to the less fortunate families and children of the neighborhood this past Christmas. Having joined the Courtyard in Richmond, the management team also participated in an event on December 20th, 2014, where the Richmond Police and Fire Departments, along with Toys-R-Us, along with other sponsors, including the Courtyard by Marriott, gave away more that 1,400 bags of food, bags of toys, and 437 brand new bicycles to families in Richmond.

I truly believe in "Paying it Forward" every year to those that have less than we have. As Jesus said, "Do unto others, as thou would have done unto you."

Every year, I pick a charity of choice with whom to "share" our Christmas.
Last year, reminiscent of my Grandma, who used to give all the grandkids polar fleece sweaters for Christmas, I actually, for just a little while, shared her special brand of Christmas magic, and made 4 little polar fleece sweaters for 4 little Christmas elves. All were made from little polar fleece blankets, so it was a hug, and a sweater, all in one!
This year, it was "Food Year", so "Turkey with the Fixin's for 4" - complete with a bag of apples for the reindeer - went to our Salvation Army food bank.
I always wonder about the "family extension" included in every year's "special Christmas Family" tradition, and hope that the glow of many moments of wonder and love provides a little warmth and love from our family, to theirs.
Happy Christmas, and all the best in the New Year!

....and many more years of health, joy, and caring for you and yours in the years to come, Mr. Marriott. God Bless! mMarriary,of

I think it's awesome when others give from the heart to other people. This year I was able to get my General Manager and another Coworker with our children to participate and packing food bags for over 1600 families in need for food during the holiday.I usually do it with my son with the boyscouts but this year after 10 yrs they didnt participate and as a tradition my family will continue to help this organization. This year I wanted to get my Courtyard Family involved.Thankful for my General Manager,My Coworker and our children for keeping hope alive for these families

Love your blogs

My wife and I and my two sons find a family in need and play secret Santa. We try to do it anomalously, its what you do when no one is looking. My one son gave many dollars of food and gift card to Serbian refugees, the nicest and most humble family in Boise, Idaho.

My wife and I gave a Gift card loaded with money for a single mother who just lost her husband.

We feel so much better when we do this. We also volunteer where we can.

Thank you Mr. Marriott for you and your families example of charity and lessons of life.


Really great interesting post, thank you for sharing!

Dear Bill, as a retired Marriott Associate I heard your experience message on a number of ocassions and always reveled in the fact that we both "Soda Jerked" likely using similar Bastian-Blessing equipment. My Jerk time was in an authentic drug store fountain in Indianapolis, Indiana during the 1950's and long before my Marriott employment. It was my first experience in the hospitality world and I can understand why the trainees lit up with you describing those experiences of your own. Thank you for continuing to share your early experiences with so many generations of food and beverage professionals. You inspire us all!


Personally, after a decade and a half working in charities, in a way I've done my bit, but you know, actually you're right, I'll have to think of something to do this year too. So genuine thanks for the challenge – which I accept.

Wishing a very happy holiday season, to you and yours, and to all the Marriott associates.



Very nice and heartwarming article Mr.Marriott. I know you really care about the Marriott family, and people in general.
I conveyed to my people about the importance of caring and
giving back to the community, many who need help, not only at
Christmas but throughout the year. Show appreciation for your
own staff, and all the people who help to make your business
a success. We treat our people like you do Mr. Marriott,we
instill in everyone, the need to build family relationships, being there for everyone, not only during the holidays, but
in a time of need. Providing opportunities as you say, is vital to our business success, and giving our people the tools to perform their duties and mentoring, will promote job stability and of course employee satisfaction, which is tantamount to guest satisfaction!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to the Marriott family of Hotels and Resorts Worldwide!

John R.Vicente CHA/3D
Managing Director
Midcities Lodging Associates

Undoubtedly we achieve our greatest fulfilment not by accumulating but by "giving". Each holiday season is a great moment to remind us of this. I believe the greatest gift one can give is nothing better than sharing our wisdom - by sharing our hard earned knowledge, our experiences, learning with others, we are making them truly richer, better individuals. Wisdom gives hope, and it is hope that keeps the world moving - so, pls continue sharing your valuable wisdom, learning and principles as they form powerful inspiration for others.