Originally Published by Marriott International.
Marriott International announces the creation of Beyond Barriers, the next phase of Marriott’s groundbreaking #LoveTravels program. #LoveTravels Beyond Barriers celebrates and supports those who are actively leading unique strategies to promote inclusion, equality, peace and human rights. A centerpiece of the program will be the #LoveTravels Beyond Barriers Social Innovation Investment, which over the course of a year, will distribute $500,000 in grants to groups and individuals who are actively breaking down barriers that divide.
“As a hospitality company, it is our responsibility and not one that we take lightly to provide safe and welcoming spaces for our guests and associates every day to make a positive impact on diverse communities,” said Cherilyn Williams, Director, Global Portfolio Marketing at Marriott International. “Beyond Barriers is an expansion of the #LoveTravels program, which has been celebrating and supporting inclusion, equality, peace and human rights since it was launched, and will allow us to dive even deeper to tell stories in a more intimate, powerful and personal way.”
#LoveTravels Beyond Barriers kicks off September 25 at the JW Marriott Essex House in New York City with a star-studded launch event featuring Grammy nominee and 5X Latin Grammy award-winning star Luis Fonsi; writer, producer, actor and the first African-American woman to win an Emmy for comedy writing Lena Waithe; and singer-songwriter Betty Who.
Marriott International’s Chief Lodging Services Officer of The Americas Erika Alexander will open the event, which will feature the Beyond Barriers inaugural class of Social Innovators, ConPRmetidos Co-Founder Isabel Rulln, PERIOD Founder Nadya Okamoto, VideoOut Founder Jordan Reeves and Weird Enough Productions Founder Tony Weaver, Jr., who will discuss how their work is advancing the movement toward peace and inclusion.
Each will receive a $50,000 grant for their nonprofit organization and unprecedented opportunities to meet with Marriott leaders and partners tailored to their focus area, in addition to summits, one-on-one mentorship and other Marriott programming over the course of the next year.
The discussion, to be moderated by ABC News’ TJ Holmes, is the first in a series of Beyond Barriers Summits meant to spark conversations with travelers, thought leaders, activists and advocates to discuss how to make a difference through breaking barriers, drive a call to action and highlight how travel can be a catalyst to achieving peace and inclusion.
“To celebrate the fifth anniversary of #LoveTravels, we set out to shine a light on people and organizations who are actively forging new paths and championing initiatives that have a direct impact on diverse communities,” said Apoorva Gandhi, Vice President of Multicultural Affairs, Marriott International. “Tony, Nadya, Jordan and Isabel represent the future, and their work to create solutions and drive change is something that Marriott is proud to be able to support and foster.”
The causes championed by each of the grant recipients span a vast array of communities and needs that are deeply important to Marriott International. From highlighting positive representations of minorities in media, to supporting good hygiene for those in need, to empowering marginalized communities to share their stories, to revitalizing a traumatized islandeach of the recipients’ causes will benefit immensely from Marriott’s support.
The remaining $300,000 will be distributed via a contest that will award 30 individuals with a $10,000 grant to accelerate their vision for how to advance inclusion, equality, peace and human rights through travel.1
The program continues throughout 2018 with additional Beyond Barriers Summits planned for the annual National Black MBA Association Conference in Detroit on September 27, featuring award-winning actress Taraji P. Henson, followed by the True Colors Fund Summit on October 3-4 in Atlanta. The Summits continue into next year with additional programming scheduled through 2019.