Opening Doors to Opportunity Capital Campaign Receives $500k Pledge from Host Hotels & Resorts and $250k Pledge from the Robert A. Alter Family

Washington, D.C., December 1, 2016 — The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation (AHLEF) today announced that Host Hotels & Resorts has corporately led the Opening Doors to Opportunity campaign and set the expectation for meaningful pledges by committing $500,000 to the effort. Similarly, the Robert A. Alter Family has generously committed the lead personal gift of $250,000. These two gifts offer tremendous support to the campaign and have encouraged more than 100 individual and corporate donors to collectively commit more than $7,000,000 toward the campaign’s goal of $8,000,000.

“We are in the business of people and this campaign is investing vitally needed dollars into our industry’s future talent while also equipping us to invest in the career trajectories of our current employees,” said Ed Walter, President & CEO of Host Hotels & Resorts. “We committed at the $500k level because, through the Foundation, we can make the biggest impact securing the human and research capital we need to tell our industry story, create meaningful guest experiences, and make our industry stronger and more durable for future success.”

“The future of the hospitality industry is dependent on the education of our future generations,” said Bob Alter. “The Foundation has supported all of us for more than 60 years and my family is honored and proud to support scholarships, professional development and research efforts that contribute to the education of our youth and the success of future generations of hoteliers.”

A comprehensive fundraising effort, Opening Doors to Opportunity, is engaging Brands, Owners, Management Companies, Partner State Associations, Independent Properties, and Allied partners in support of the individuals and research that serve the hospitality industry. The effort will provide $4 million to increase the amount and number of academic scholarships that are given to hospitality students; $2 million to increase professional development which will make an impact locally and nationally; and $2 million to tackle innovative research projects in support of the entire hotel and lodging industry. The first capital campaign in more than 15 years, the Foundation anticipates reaching their $8 million campaign goal by December 31.

“Talent has to be a number one priority for all of us in the hotel industry, and supporting research and exceptional students as future leaders is our shared responsibility,” said Campaign Chair, Kirk Kinsell. “Receiving two substantial pledges from one of our industry’s leading corporations and individuals is incredibly affirming of the timeliness and importance of this capital effort. I consider it a privilege to join many of our industry’s top professionals, including Ed and Bob, in asking our peers to support this industry-wide, limited-time effort that ultimately supports all of us.”

“I am incredibly proud of our campaign success thus far and firmly believe Host’s gift and Bob’s personal pledge raised the sights of many donors to support the Foundation at historic levels,” said Minaz Abji, AHLEF Chairman. “The future of our profession is bright, but only if we prepare now and provide support to the individuals who are studying hospitality management and working and growing in our companies. This campaign truly will open doors to many opportunities for many more research studies to receive funding, and current students and industry associates to receive academic and professional development scholarships.”

To learn more about the campaign and see a list of donors who have already pledged their support, visit To support the future of the profession, and have your name added to the list of notable donors, contact Christianna Luy, Campaign Director, at 202-289-3135 or



Founded in 1953, the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation has spent 63 years identifying, cultivating, and supporting the human talent, research, and initiatives most vital to the progress and prosperity of the lodging industry. The Foundation works in tandem with the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) to educate the future hospitality workforce, research trends and opportunities that will impact the sector, and empower the industry to grow stronger and faster. For more information visit: