Marriott is one of the most popular, profitable, and recognizable hotel chains in the world, and it all started from one small root beer stand. The couple behind this powerful brand were the late J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott, who were passionate about education, the arts, politics, and other charitable causes. The Marriotts started their own philanthropic foundation in 1965, which is now run by their sons Richard E. Marriott and J. W. Marriott Jr., with a small professional staff.

Since the Washington, D.C., region is an important place for Marriott Foundation grantmaking, here are a few things for area grantseekers to know about the funder’s local giving.

There are Five Focus Areas

The Marriott Foundation has five well-defined focus areas for its giving: education, hospitality, opportunity, community, and health. Education interests include early childhood development, quality teachers and leaders, quality K-12 academics, and college and career readiness. Hospitality interests cover secondary school hospitality programs, colleges, and universities that prepare students for hospitality careers, and global hospitality programs.

Marriott awards opportunity grants for workforce development, youth development, and support for people with disabilities. The funder’s community grants address food security, safety net services, arts and culture, and building vibrant communities. Health grants go towards medical research, clinics, mental health, and support for diseases.

The D.C. Metro Area is Top Priority

Even though Marriott is a globally recognizable name, the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation sets aside a significant portion of its grantmaking to focus on the D.C. metro area. The foundation is based in Bethesda, Maryland, adjacent to Washington, D.C.

At the local level, the foundation regularly supports charities it has previously funded. The Marriott Foundation often makes grants for general operating support but also funds specific programs, capital campaigns, endowments, and scholarships. Examples of D.C. grantees include the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, Capital Area Food Bank, and Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington.

Unsolicited Requests are Unwelcome

According to the foundation’s website, this foundation does not accept unsolicited grant requests because its mission is broad and guided by the interests of its trustees. The foundation staff, meanwhile, works with researchers and thought leaders to assess current issues and develop grantmaking strategies.

For organizations that receive an invitation to submit a proposal from the Marriott Foundation, grants are typically approved biannually at board meetings. These invitations come out around March 1 and September 1, and the application process is conducted online.

For D.C.-area nonprofits interested in learning more, check out IP’s full profile of the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation: D.C. Metro Area Grants.

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