Washington, D.C., September 6, 2017 – The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation (AHLEF), the not-for-profit affiliate of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), announced that nearly $1 million was awarded to 372 scholarships this year – of which 131 were given to minority hospitality management students. AHLEF administers several scholarships for students who are enrolled in a hospitality-related degree-granting program at an American college or university. Applicants are evaluated based on academics, related work experience, extracurricular activities, financial need, honors, and personal attributes. Scholarship awards range from $500 to $6,000, contingent upon the program and the student’s enrollment status.

“The core mission of the Foundation is to ensure a strong and viable future for the entire lodging industry by fueling the talent pipeline through training, research and educational opportunities,” said Rosanna Maietta, AHLEF’s Interim President. “These grants allow a new, aspiring workforce to establish long-term careers in our growing and dynamic industry. Funded solely through the generous contributions of our industry partners, AHLEF continues to build on its legacy of empowering our current workforce and building the next generation of hoteliers.”

Scholarship Programs Include:

AHLEF administers eight scholarship programs that are available to incoming freshman through graduate level for students studying hospitality management and awarded $851,500 to students across the country. Two of these programs are dedicated specifically for minority students:

  1. The Annual Scholarship Grant Program, the foundation’s largest, is co-administered with 70 universities and colleges. In 2017, 269 students, nominated by AHLEF affiliated schools, were awarded $563,000 in funds. The program is supported by proceeds of the Americas Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS), the Foundation’s Annual Giving Campaign, previous AHLEF capital campaigns, annual special events and the following scholarship endowments:
  1. The Hyatt Hotels Fund for Minority Lodging Management Students awarded $42,000 in scholarships to 21 minority hospitality management students. Since its inception in 1988, this program has awarded 393 students with scholarships totaling $786,000.
  2. JHM Hotels awarded 21 scholarships totaling $45,500 through the Rama Scholarship for the American Dream Program. The fund, established with a $1,000,001 endowment on the 25th anniversary of the Rama brothers’ first hotel purchase, provides the financial support to help others create their own “American Dream.” To date, the fund has awarded $817,800 in scholarships to 492 recipients.
  3. The American Express Scholarship Program awarded 14 scholarships totaling $21,500. Founded in 1994 by American Express, it is designed specifically for current hotel employees and their dependents. The fund has awarded more than $406,000 in scholarships to 344 students and hotel employees. The program also offers professional development scholarships for distance learning and certification offered through the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI).
  4. The Ecolab Scholarship Program awarded 12 scholarships totaling $23,000. Established by Ecolab in 1997, the program has awarded more than $429,000 to 289 hospitality management students and hotel professionals. The program also supports scholarships for professional certification offered through EI.
  5. The Incoming Freshmen Scholarship was disbursed to 27 students for a total of $100,000. In conjunction with this scholarship program, the PepsiCo Foundation Scholarship awarded four scholarships, totaling $14,000. The PepsiCo Foundation established this fund with a $250,000 gift to provide perpetual scholarships to hospitality management students. To-date the fund has awarded more than $151,000 to 62 students.
  6. The Graduate Scholarship Program awarded $80,000 to 16 students in hospitality programs at the graduate level.
  7. The Arthur J. Packard Memorial Scholarship Program, the Foundation’s oldest award, provided three scholarships totaling $10,000. This program, started in 1974 to honor third-generation hotelier Packard’s numerous accomplishments in the lodging industry, is awarded to three students at AHLEF-affiliated four-year educational institutions. Each school nominates their top student to compete. The first-place winner is Elizabeth Babson from Johnson & Wales University-Denver, second-place is Grayson Jamroch from Missouri State University, and third-place is Brittany Tam from the University of San Francisco.

This year, AHLEF is projected to distribute more than $1.6 million to prepare promising college students for a career in hospitality, attract and retain quality industry professionals, and fund valuable research for lodging properties. For more information about AHLEF scholarships and other programs, contact Michelle Poinelli, senior vice president, foundation programs, at (202) 289-3181 or, or visit


AHLEF is the industry’s philanthropic organization, dedicated to helping people build careers that improve their lives and strengthen the lodging industry. Founded in 1953, AHLEF is a subsidiary of the American Hotel & Lodging Association and provides resources for hospitality-related education and research.

Serving the hospitality industry for more than a century, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) is the sole national association representing all segments of the 8 million jobs the U.S. lodging industry supports, including hotel owners, REITs, chains, franchisees, management companies, independent properties, bed and breakfasts, state hotel associations, and industry suppliers. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AHLA focuses on strategic advocacy, communications support, and educational resources for an industry that advances long-term career opportunities for employees, invests in local communities across the country and hosts more than one billion guests’ stays in American hotels every year. AHLA proudly represents a dynamic hotel industry of more than 54,000 properties that supports $1.1 trillion in U.S. sales and generates nearly $170 billion in taxes to local, state and federal governments. Learn more at