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Marriott’s Historic Support Levels Up in our New Home

Olivia Shaffett

The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation and Marriott International are two of our longest-running strategic partners. From donating safe and sustainable food for our meals to hiring our graduates to catalyzing our pandemic relief efforts, Marriott has invested considerable time and resources in supporting our mission for more than three decades. 

Over the past three years, the Marriott Foundation, in connection with Marriott International, has invested over $5 million to our Bringing the Kitchen Home campaign. With their decisive investment, we have been hard at work preparing to dramatically expand our Culinary Job Training program in our new facility, the Michael R. Klein Center for Jobs and Justice.  

Thanks to their historic and continued support in empowering our culinary students, we are honored to recognize Marriott’s contribution with the naming of our newly opened Marriott Culinary Job Training Kitchen within the Klein Center. Since 2008, Marriott International and The Foundation have committed to sponsoring one of our Culinary Job Training classes each year, including our current cohort of rising culinary stars set to graduate on March 17.  

To support our students in the classroom and beyond, Marriott has provided guest chef and professional development expertise throughout the years, participated in class projects, and invited our culinary students for visits to Marriott International headquarters and signature properties throughout the region for meetings with top executives and industry experts. From behind-the-scenes tours of world class event spaces, like the Gaylord National Resort, to sit-down conversations with members of the Marriott family, these exchanges have inspired our students to think about their hospitality careers in new and exciting ways. 

While Marriott has served as an integral and embedded partner in empowering 300 DCCK students over the years, their valued support has extended beyond sponsoring our Culinary Job Training classes.  

Beginning as the first corporate partner to donate recovered food for DC Central Kitchen meals, our relationship with Marriott has evolved from engaging them as one of our initial hiring partners to the chosen location for Marriott’s executive team and Mr. Bill Marriott to celebrate the company’s 80th anniversary with, of all things, a volunteer shift preparing meals in the shelter basement we called home. These partnerships were never simple exchanges of charity and philanthropy, but instead opportunities to share knowledge and platforms to make food recovery safe and legally protected across the country and reduce employment barriers to returning citizens.  

Most recently, Marriott invited DCCK leadership to attend a convening on workforce development in the region. In this meeting, we shared our lessons learned from engaging both job seekers and employers during the pandemic and discussed strategies to facilitate hiring and professional advancement for residents who have faced prior barriers to employment. 

“For Marriott International, a firm that could engage experts from any field anywhere in the world as it considers its talent strategy, to engage DC Central Kitchen speaks to their values and profound commitment to our community,” said DCCK CEO Mike Curtin. “Marriott has always demonstrated a strong commitment to learning, partnership, and turning challenges into opportunities, and this convening on workforce development was no exception. 

Thanks to their steadfast dedication and generous support, Marriott International and The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation continue to advance our mission to use food as a tool to strengthen bodies, empower minds, and build communities. We can’t wait to see how this enduring partnership evolves in our new facility.  

Next up for this partnership: graduation for our current Marriott-sponsored class of Culinary Job Training students on Friday, March 17th at 2 PM at the Naval Heritage Memorial Center in Downtown DC. We hope you will join Marriott and DC Central Kitchen in celebrating this dynamic class of dedicated culinary professionals!