Marriott execs turn pounds to dollars for charity
Marriott International has teamed up with Children’s Miracle Network for the 25th year to help raise money for the worldwide medical charity. Two of the many participating Marriott locations are Park City’s Marriott Mountainside and Marriott Summit Watch.
Over the past 24 years, Marriott has raised over $43 million for Children’s Miracle Network. Through Marriott’s Spirit to Serve Our Communities initiatives, Marriott generates over 300,000 hours in community service and more than $6 million in donations and fund-raising annually.
"I’m new to Marriott Vacation Club International, but I know they have been a strong supporter of the Children’s Miracle Network; it’s even on our stationery," said Executive Assistant Bo Jacobsen of Marriott Mountainside. "One of our big things is the spirit to serve, and this is one way we can do that."
One way in which Marriott Mountainside is raising money is by having a five of the company’s executives compete in a weight-loss contest and having others pledge $1 or more for each pound lost.
"At each property we set a goal as to how much money we want to raise for the Children’s Miracle Network, and it kind of ends up as a competition between each property as to how much we can raise," Jacobsen said. "Because of that we have to come up with some creative ideas on how to raise the money."
Since the competition started Oct. 27, the five contestants have lost a total of 75 pounds. The participants have until Dec. 22 to lose more weight and gain more pledges. Jacobsen said each of the "players" has about 15 to 20 supporters.
"It’s been really fun," she said. "At the end of each week they have weigh-in in the break room at 2 p.m. That’s when all the employees gather and put these guys on the scale. We have a chart that we’ve created that shows what weight they are at each week; it helps gets everyone involved."
A second way in which the Marriott Mountainside is raising money is to sell stuffed animals and donating the proceeds.
"Another thing we’ve done to continue to raise money is selling moose," Jacobsen said. "We have really soft stuffed moose that are 12-14 inches long, kind of like Beanie Babies. We’re selling those and the money we raise all goes to the Children’s Miracle Network as well."
Those wanting to participate can either pledge for a participant in the weight-loss game, buy a moose or just donate by stopping by the Mountainside.
Jim Marks, Mountainside general manager, asked Jacobsen to head-up the program when she was hired earlier in the year. She said one of the most fun parts of the job was coming up with new fundraising ideas.
"Come 2007 we’ll come out with some new ideas and ways to make money for the Network," she said. "We have some ideas, but nothing specific yet."
Jacobsen said while it’s fun to think up new ideas, the rewards come when the money is delivered and used to save the lives of children across the globe. Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake is one of the hallmark hospitals Children’s Miracle Network supports.
"The reason we support the Children’s Miracle Network is it helps ensure children are receiving the care they need and deserve," she said. "It’s a great organization."
According to Marriott’s Web site, the money goes where it is needed to provide part of the $2.5 billion in charity care Children’s Miracle Network gives each year. The charity supports 98 percent of all children needing heart or lung transplants, 88 percent of all children with cancer, 76 percent of all children with cystic fibrosis, 90 percent of children with sickle cell anemia and 72 percent of children with pediatric AIDS.
"They go to medical centers and the money goes to children who need surgery and can’t afford treatment: children with cancer, cystic fibrosis, sickle-cell anemia, pediatric AIDS and more," Jacobsen said. "A lot of the services go to children who are under the age of six. Some of the funds even go to the training of pediatricians and pediatrics so they are bale to give the care to the children."
"It’s great. It’s wonderful, Jacobsen said. "It’s all for the kids. Helping in this sort of thing get you out of thinking about yourself and focus on others. We’re all thinking of different ways we can help raise money for these kids."
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