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Marriott International Pledges RMB13 million to Yao Foundation’s Mission

for Supporting Education in Rural China


Shanghai, China, May 8, 2015 – Marriott International and Yao Foundation, a charity organization established by former basketball star Yao Ming, today signed a new co-operation agreement focused on fostering children’s education in rural China. According to this three-year agreement effective January 2016,  Marriott International will offer an additional commitment of RMB8 million to establish four new Hope Schools, provide supporting resources and organize three basketball seasons for all the Hope Schools established by Yao Foundation.

The two parties have been working together since 2013 to support rural education in China. During this three-year programme, Marriott International through fund-raising activities with its business partners and clients, has donated more than RMB5 million to Yao Foundation, established two Hope Schools in southwestern China and supported two Yao Foundation Hope Primary School Basketball Seasons (in 2014 and 2015).

At the signing ceremony, held in Shanghai Marriott Hotel City Centre, Marriott International and Yao Foundation also introduced their “Let’s Build Hope Together” campaign. This initiative, which rallies support from leading influencers in Chinese society, aims to raise awareness and engagement amongst the public, and ultimately provide children in rural China with more educational opportunities.

Twelve renowned influencers from the sports, media, community service, business, children education and welfare sectors have been invited by Marriott International and Yao Foundation to recommend their favorite children books. They have also created video messages to call for public support for children education. The footage has been posted on all major social media channels and will enhance the social impact of “Let’s Build Hope Together”.

“Our collaboration with Yao Foundation resonates with the core values of Marriott International that have sustained our company for more than eight decades – We open doors to a world of opportunity.  Together with Yao Foundation, we strive to keep on creating opportunities for the children in rural China. Providing education is the key,” said Simon Cooper, president and managing director for Asia Pacific Marriott International.

“Our first program with Yao Foundation had wonderful results and it received enormous support from our associates, owners and business partners, as well as customers. This made it an easy decision when it came to extending our partnership with Yao Foundation, and to give new impetus to our efforts so as to make an impact in Chinese society,” said Mr. Cooper.

“We are most grateful for the trust and support of Marriott International. Supporting education for children is a tremendous mission and Marriott International is a wonderful partner, as it has also encouraged its associates, business partners and customers to get involved in our program. We look forward to doing more on children education in rural China with Marriott International,” said Yao Ming, founder of Yao Foundation.

Marriott International has also encouraged its associates to donate books to establish small libraries in the Marriott – Yao Foundation Hope Schools.

The first two school projects of Marriott International and Yao Foundation have made great strides. The second school project is in Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Sichuan Province, China, located at 4,000 meters above sea level.  All its students are from the families of farmers or herdsmen nearby, mostly Tibetan Minority. Marriott International and Yao Foundation are going to rebuild its teaching buildings, set up a computer lab and a small library to provide its 180 students a better study environment.

The first project, the Lu Zhou Marriott – Yao Foundation Hope Primary School in Sichuan Province, has already been completed and is in use. Funding by Marriott International was also used to build a new earthquake-resistant five-storey teaching building for the school. The school provides education to 678 students and 100 kindergarten children in its local community.

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