Hotel Industry Foundation Distributes $500,000 To Hospitality Students Through The J. Willard Marriott Memorial Scholarship Fund

WASHINGTON (March 2, 2021) – The American Hotel & Lodging Foundation (AHLAF) today announced that it has officially disbursed more than $500,000 in academic scholarships through the annual AHLAF J. Willard Marriott Memorial Scholarship Fund. This fund has supported more than 330 hospitality students across the country.

“The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation has a long-standing record of supporting talent, and we are extremely grateful for their ongoing commitment to the AHLA Foundation and the next generation of hospitality professionals,” say Rosanna Maietta, AHLA Foundation president & CEO. “Without this critical financial investment, fewer aspiring individuals would be able to pursue their dreams of lifelong careers in the industry.” 

The AHLAF J. Willard Marriott Memorial Scholarship Fund was established as a commitment to the lodging industry and to support the development of its future leaders. The AHLA Foundation disburses the J. Willard Marriott Memorial Scholarships annually to undergraduate hospitality management majors at colleges and universities across the U.S. Students are chosen based on academic performance, financial need, relevant work experience, extracurricular activities, personal attributes, and a passion to pursue a career in the hotel and lodging industry. 

“We are honored to see the scholarship fund reach this major milestone in its growth, and we celebrate the highly qualified recipients who have been able to pursue and achieve their educational goals,” said Mieka Wick, executive director of The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation. “The Foundation is committed to providing and expanding opportunities that support students’ academic and professional careers—this gift affirms our support for generations of students to come. We are inspired by partnerships with organizations like the AHLAF, which play a central role in helping develop and shape the hospitality industry’s future leaders.” 

Throughout the years, The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation’s investments have helped students get one step closer to their dreams by providing much needed financial support. A few of their stories are highlighted below: 

  • Amanda Sendgara, Rochester Institute of Technology: Amanda’s parents immigrated from Laos and have worked tirelessly to support her education as a first generation Asian American. To this day, Amanda’s family struggles financially, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the scholarship helps to tremendously alleviate some of her financial burdens. She looks forward to working in the hospitality industry and helping with event management.
  • Ndidiamaka Chimah, Rochester Institute of Technology: Ndidiamaka aspires to work in a variety of roles in hospitality, including hotel and resort management, cruise operations, foodservice, and spa management. One day, she plans to operate her own chain of hotels and to start her own non-profit to help minority individuals.  
  • Patrick Napier, University of Southern Mississippi: After graduation, Patrick plans to pursue a career in the resort industry, focusing on either golf clubs or casinos. His goal is to become a general manager of a resort and to use that position to improve both his business and local community.    

The AHLA Foundation awarded $1 million in academic scholarships for the 2020/2021 scholarship season. For more information about AHLAF scholarships and other programs, visit www.ahlafoundation.org

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About The AHLA Foundation
The AHLA Foundation, the charitable giving arm of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, is dedicated to helping people build careers, improve their lives, and strengthen the lodging industry. Since its founding in 1953, the Foundation has distributed over $27 million in support of the industry and is committed to ensuring a strong and viable workforce for the entire lodging industry. The Foundation is funded solely by contributions from generous individuals and companies who want to give back to the hotel industry and ensure a successful future. Learn more at www.ahlafoundation.org.